Wilfrid, Saint

Wilfrid, Saint, 634–709?, English churchman, b. Northumbria, of noble parentage. He was educated at Lindisfarne and Canterbury. With Benedict Biscop he traveled to Lyons and Rome in 654; Wilfrid remained to study in each city. In 661 he returned to England and became abbot of Ripon. Moved by Wilfrid's eloquence, King Oswy at the Synod of Whitby (663; see Whitby, Synod of) rejected Celtic usages, including the reckoning of Easter, and established instead the Roman custom. That year Wilfrid was consecrated bishop of Ripon; in 669 his diocese was extended to include all of Northumbria with its see of York. There ensued a long controversy with the archbishop of Canterbury over division of dioceses in England. It was compromised with the aid of the pope, and Wilfrid ended as bishop of Ripon and Hexham. He made many converts and was responsible for the vigorous growth of Roman ecclesiastical practices in England. Feast: Oct. 12.

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