Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hilda, Abbess of Whitby , 614

Hilda was born in 614 and raised in the court of King Edwin of Northumbria. She entered the convent and established many monasteries and centers of learning, advocating for greater reading of scripture and better education for clergy.

This is another one of those fascinating stories of a woman in medival times, who was educated, and had great influence among important men.

What I also find very interesting and timely was her response to the decision at the Synod Of Whitby to follow the Roman traditions of the church, rather than the celtic traditions. If you know anything about history of the Irish church, you know that it was very different than the Roman church. Hilda preferred the Celtic way (I think the Synod made the wrong choice myself) but unlike some chose to leave and establish separate monasteries in Iona and later, Ireland, Hilda chose unity over her own preferences and used her influence to encourage others to stay in the church and go along with the decision made by the Church Council.

Hmmm. That's all I'm going to say about that.


  1. I wonder what she spent the thirty pieces of silver on.


  2. I take it you think she made the wrong choice. And perhaps her 30 pieces was her influence and independence.How much power did she really as a woman in the 7th century have to go against the ruling?

    Nobody's a perfect saint. I personally don't think much of Gandhi because of the way he treated his wife.

  3. As a Celtic Christian she had a lot of power. As a Roman Christian very little.

  4. I have often wondered what would have happened had the church gone the Celtic way.

    It's not the same situation at all, but being in the middle of a controversy in my own church where some who don't like a decision of the church are taking their marbles and going home (and at this point I'm ready to pack them a lunch a say "Buh bye") I was thinking of the merits of choosing unity over your own personal preference.

  5. It's probably just romanticism, but I like to believe that the Celtic Church wouldn't have had marbles to fight over, having given any they did have to the poor.