Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Patron Saint of Contested Elections

What we need is a patron saint for contested elections so that, should 2000 repeat itself, we can ask for his intercession.
Well, it turns out there is one. And you're not going to believe what follows, but it's true: his name is St. Chad.
No, I am NOT making this up.
Chad was born in ancient Britain, probably about 620, to Saxon parents. His people had been pagan, but his parents were baptized by St. Aidan. Thus he represents the Celtic, rather than the Roman stream of Christianity.
As a youngster he was sent to the bishop of Northumbria to be educated. Later, he seems to have gone to the Irish monastery-schools established by St. Patrick, and then to Iona, where he was ordained priest, and, after the death of two of his brothers in a plague, eventually became head of a small abbey near Whitby.
Chad is perhaps best known for NOT being Archbishop of York.
In mid-life he returned to Northumbria, being called by its king to be chief bishop there (and thus, Archbishop of York).
He was elected and duly installed, but various persons raised objections on the grounds that his consecrators were bishops who followed the Celtic church calendar and customs rather than the customs then being imported from the continent and from Rome.
Not wishing to cause division in the Church, Chad withdrew (nota bene!) in favor of another candidate! The Archbishop of Canterbury, who was greatly impressed by Chad's humility, subsequently consecrated him bishop of Litchfield, in Mercia, where he worked for the remainder of his life.


  1. I kept waiting for the punch line but it never came. Like, they killed St. Chad by hanging him.

  2. Somehow, Mike beat me to that comment. I need to read blogs more often.

  3. And like Mike I thought he was going to have a very sad fate. What a lovely surprise!

    Sadly our world no longer seems to have a person who can be impressed by another's humility like the Archbishop of Canterbury was of Chad.
    It feels as though humility and common sense have left us in this century