Posted by: anna | August 26, 2009

St Wigbert

image taken from here

No British saints commemorated today, but I had to find out about the arrestingly named (arresting is one of Bill Bryson’s favourite adjectives) St. Wigbert, abbot of Hersfeld, English missionary to Germany (738).

Wikipedia is immediately very helpful about this saint: ‘Saint Wigbert, born in Wessex around 670, was an Anglo-Saxon Benedictine monk from the monastery of Glastonbury and a missionary and disciple of Saint Boniface who traveled with the latter in Frisia and northern and central Germany to convert the local tribes to Christianity. When Boniface had felled Thor’s Oak near Fritzlar in northern Hesse in 723, he built a wooden chapel from the oak’s wood and in 724 established a Benedictine monastery in Fritzlar. Wigbert became the first abbot and led the monastery to eminence as a center of ecclesiastic and worldly learning. From about 737 he was simultaneously abbot of Ohrdruf where he established a school for missionaries operating in Thuringia. In both monasteries he was the teacher of Lullus and Sturmius, two eminent missionaries and future abbots and bishops. Wigbert died in 747, was canonized, and was initially buried in Fritzlar in the stone basilica he had built to replace the original wooden chapel. Lullus later had most of his body (except for a few sacred relics which remained in Fritzlar) interred in Hersfeld Abbey, where he is patron saint of the town of Bad Hersfeld.’

More close encounters of the pagan kind. Imagine cutting down Thor’s Oak! This is no gentle overlaying of a saint’s miracle on a pagan spring – this is classic ‘my God is bigger than yours’ stuff. Serious Muscular Christianity, to misuse a phrase.

And there is a (Lutheran) ecumenical (Benedictine) monastery of St Wigbert in Germany, which aparently includes at least one Orthodox monk. How does this work? I’m intrigued. Anyway they sound like very nice people, devout and hospitable.

Holy Father Wigbert, pray to God for us.


  1. I have that Bill Bryson book on the way to me, I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Holy St. Wigbert, pray to God for us.

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