Today is the feast day of The Venerable Bede. For those of us in Eastbourne St. Bede brings to mind the school which is now simply called Bede's school here in the town and for most people that will be the end of their association with the name, yet there is much to find out about The Venerable Bede.
The Venerable Bede was born in around 673 AD and at the age of seven was sent to Wearmouth monastery and later moved to the new community at Jarrow. Ordained deacon at the young age of 19 and priested at 30, Bede was a home bird and probably never travelled much further than 100 miles from home. He was an academic who wrote in English, in fact he is the first person that we know of who did that. Aside from theological works he was a great historian and wrote 'The Ecclesiastical History of the English People', which is still in print today! Unusually for the time, in his work as a historian, Bede tried to use the most reputable sources that he could find and the library in Jarrow was said to have had about 200 books gathered from across the continent. In an age where literacy was low and books scarce the library at Jarrow was considered a centre of learning and discovery.
It was Bede who popularised the usage of Anno Domini (AD or the Year of our Lord) to date things more accurately for the birth of Jesus. Although he didn't invent the concept he did much to promote it and he is credited with the widespread adoption of the system of dating things, as before that there were lots of conflicting methods. The phrase Anno Domini may have given way to the Common Era (CE) in our more secular times but without Bede's influence we would be dating things very differently indeed.
Today let us remember Bede as we pray:
God our maker,
whose Son Jesus Christ gave to your servant Bede
grace to drink in with joy the word that leads us to know you and to love you:
in your goodness
grant that we also may come at length to you,
the source of all wisdom,
and stand before your face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Collect from Common Worship