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May 25, 2013

By the time I arrived at Lindesfarne, the end of St Cuthberts Way, and the end of my weeks walking, I had begun to discover a much more vibrant, active and undoubtedly Spirit filled monk than I ever though I would. I had begun to identify with this radical church planting, evangelist who preached with `signs following`.

The abbey at Lindisfarne has a little museum alongside it where enthusiastic girls try to sell you membership of English Heritage. The museum is very good – it traces the story of the Irish monks who having felt the promptings to spread the Christian message travelled first to Iona (St Columba), then having converted Oswald a Northumbrian prince travelled with his protection to spread the message from Lindisfarne. They had clearly been very successful.

At the synod of Whitby in 664, the – now Christian – kingdom of Northumbria decided to follow the Roman church and the Irish monks returned to Iona. Cuthbert had experience of both Celtic Christianity at Melrose, and Roman Christianity at Ripon and was appointed as Prior of Lindisfarne. The story is that he was very skilled at bringing unity and patient with the ongoing complaints about change; but it left me with a fundamental question;  what was is about the new Roman system that was so different that it was fundamentally opposed by the Irish monks who returned to Iona and bitterly resented by the monks left in Cuthberts care? The literature lists three things; the date of easter, the tonsure or hairstyle of the monks, and baptism.

I wanted to understand more and tomorrows blog will begin to unpack what I discovered

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