This image of St. Chad is from a digital file copyright 'Randy OHC' of a stained glass installation at Holy Cross Monastery in New York.This image of St. Chad is from a digital file copyright 'Randy OHC' of a stained glass installation at Holy Cross Monastery in New York.

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St. Chad

Chad, or Ceadda, was born in ancient Britain, probably about 620, to Saxon parents. His people had been pagan, but his parents were baptized by St.Aidan. Thus, along with several others he represents Celtic, rather than Roman Christianity.

As a youngster he was given to the bishop of Northumbria to be both pupil and attendant. Later he seems to have gone to the Irish monastery-schools established by St.Patrick, and then to Iona, where he was ordained priest, and, after the death of two of his brothers in a plague, eventually became head of a small abbey near Whitby..

Chad is perhaps best known for NOT being Archbishop of York. In mid-life he returned to Northumbria, being called by its king to be chief bishop there (thus, Archbishop of York). He was elected, and duly installed, but various persons raised objections (on the grounds that his consecrators were bishops who followed the Celtic church calendar and customs rather than the customs then being imported from the continent and from Rome). Not wishing to cause division in the Church, Chad withdrew.

He went to half-pagan Mercia as a missionary bishop, and made his home in Litchfield. He was there for only two and a half years before his death, but he made a deep impression, travelling on foot throughout his territory.

His character

This tendency to walk rather than ride a horse was a deliberate attempt by Chad to operate at the level of the peasants for whom he cared.

He seems to have won his saintship by this, and by the power of his praying. Although, like many of his day, he was terrified by thunderstorms, he would spend the duration of a storm praying constantly for all who were exposed to its fury, and gave the advice that when in great fear we should pray for others, and if possible to help them, and then, forgetting ourselves, our spirits will be calmed.



Almighty God, whose servant Chad, for the peace of the Church, relinquished cheerfully the honours that had been thrust upon him, only to be rewarded with equal responsibility: Keep us, we pray, from thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and ready at all times to step aside for others, (in honour preferring one another,) that the cause of Christ may be advanced; in the name of him who washed his disciples' feet, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.