St. Chad, patron saint of contested elections

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From: Robert Harley (
Date: Wed Nov 29 2000 - 10:10:40 PST

True story seen on soc.history.medieval. Too funny.

     As a young monk Chad had spent some years as a missionary monk in
Ireland with Saint Egbert at Rathmelsigi, but was recalled to England
to replace his brother Cedd as abbot of Lastingham Monastery, when
Cedd was appointed bishop of London. Lastingham was a small community
under the Rule of St. Columba in a remote, beautiful village on the
very edge of the north York Moors near Whitby.

     As described by Bede, within a year of his abbatial appointment
Chad was named bishop of York by King Oswy. Meanwhile, King Oswy's
son King Alcfrid had appointed Wilfrid, bishop of the same see. But
Wilfrid, considering the northern bishops who had refused to accept
the decrees of Whitby as schismatic, went to France to be ordained
(consecrated?). Delayed until 666 in his return, Wilfrid found that
St. Chad had been appointed. Rather than contest the election of
Chad, Wilfrid returned to his monastery at Ripon.

     When Saint Theodore became archbishop of Canterbury in 669, he
removed Chad from the see of York on the grounds that he was
improperly consecrated by Wine, and restored St. Wilfrid. Chad's
humility in accepting this change was evidenced in his reply to
Theodore: "If you consider that I have not been properly consecrated,
I willingly resign this charge of which I never thought myself worthy.
I undertook it, though unworthy, under obedience."

More at:

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