On Kindly Bishops

Today the church remembers an obscure 11th Century Bishop of the Anglo-Saxon Church who rocked a cool name: Saint Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester and Abolitionist.

Bishop Wulfstan was a Benedictine monk who lived his whole live in Worcester, never venturing further than the last doorpost of the parish he served. He did this because, well, he was so busy. He is the first known Bishop to make it a point to visit all of the parishes in his area systematically and regularly. His goal was to instill a sense of friendship and learning amongst the churches and the people of the area, and he sought to make Worcester a place of learning for the north.

He also fought hard to stop the practice of selling the English as slaves in Ireland, believing that no person could own any other person legitimately.

His fame grew, though he never traveled outside of his little area.

As he traveled from parish to parish, he is said to have recited the Psalter from beginning to end, and if you rode with him he would make you sing the alternating verse. On these trips he also carried a large satchel full of coins which he readily gave out to anyone who asked of it.

He is remembered as a good and kindly Bishop, perhaps the best of his time.

St. Wulfstan is a reminder for me, and should be for the whole church, that you don’t need to be exceedingly well-traveled to be known and make a difference in your own back yard.

-historical bits from Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals & Commemorations

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