Ethelwald of Lindisfarne
Also known as
Aethelweald; Aedilauld; Ethilwald; Ethelwold
12 February; 21 April (translation of relics)
Leather worker and bookbinder. Monk. Assistant to Saint Cuthbert. Prior and abbot of Old Melrose monastery in Scotland. Bishop at Lindisfarne in 721. Commissioned the famous Lindisfarne Book of Gospels, now in the British Museum, and made its jewel-encrusted leather cover, now lost. Wrote the Hymnal of Ethelwald.
c.740; buried in the cathedural at Lindisfarne; relics taken to Durham in the hope they would prevent Danish invasion
How Ethelwald, successor to Cuthbert, leading a hermit’s life, calmed a tempest by his prayers when the brethren were in danger at sea. [687-699 A.D.]
The venerable Ethewald succeeded the man of God, Cuthbert, in the exercise of a solitary life, which he spent in the isle of Fame before he became a bishop. After he had received the priesthood, he consecrated his office by deeds worthy of that degree for many years in the monastery which is called Inhrypum. To the end that his merit and manner of life may be the more certainly made known, I will relate one miracle of his, which was told me by one of the brothers for and on whom the same was wrought; to wit, Guthfrid, the venerable servant and priest of Christ, who also, afterwards, as abbot, presided over the brethren of the same church of Lindisfarne, in which he was educated.
"I came," says he, "to the island of Fame, with two others of the brethren, desiring to speak with the most reverend father, Ethelwald. Having been refreshed with his discourse, and asked for his blessing, as we were returning home, behold on a sudden, when we were in the midst of the sea, the fair weather in which we were sailing, was broken, and there arose so great and terrible a tempest, that neither sails nor oars were of any use to us, nor had we anything to expect but death. After long struggling with the wind and waves to no effect, at last we looked back to see whether it was possible by any means at least to return to the island whence we came, but we found that we were on all sides alike cut off by the storm, and that there was no hope of escape by our own efforts. But looking further, we perceived, on the island of Fame, our father Ethelwald, beloved of God, come out of his retreat to watch our course; for, hearing the noise of the tempest and raging sea, he had come forth to see what would become of us. When he beheld us in distress and despair, he bowed his knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in prayer for our life and safety; and as he finished his prayer, he calmed the swelling water, in such sort that the fierceness of the storm ceased on all sides, and fair winds attended us over a smooth sea to the very shore. When we had landed, and had pulled up our small vessel from the waves, the storm, which had ceased a short time for our sake, presently returned, and raged furiously during the whole day; so that it plainly appeared that the brief interval of calm had been granted by Heaven in answer to the prayers of the man of God, to the end that we might escape."
The man of God remained in the isle of Fame twelve years, and died there; but was buried in the church of the blessed Apostle Peter, in the isle of Lindisfarne, beside the bodies of the aforesaid bishops.’ These things happened in the days of King Aldfrid, who, after his brother Egfrid, ruled the nation of the Northumbrians for nineteen years.
-from Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England, by The Venerable Bede