Benedictine monk, Abbot of Wearmouth and Jarrow, b. 642, place of birth not known; d. 29 Sept., 716, at Langres on the frontier of Burgundy. His family belonged to the highest rank of the Ango-Saxon nobility. The name Ceolfrid is the Teutonic form of Geoffrey. At the age of eighteen he became a monk in the monastery of Ripon, then ruled over by St. Wilfrid. After ten years of study and preparation he was ordained priest by St. Wilfrid. He soon afterwards visited Canterbury and spent some time with Botulph, founder and Abbot of Icanhoe, now the town of Boston (Botulph's town) in Lincolnshire. On his return to Ripon he fulfilled the duties of novice-master, in which capacity he became noted for his profound humility and love of menial work. His fame reached the ears of St. Benedict Biscop, then in the midst of his great monastic enterprise on the banks of the Wear. He begged him from St. Wilfrid, and soon after reaching Wearmouth Ceolfrid was made prior of the monastery and left in charge during the absence of Benedict on his journeys to Rome. Meeting with difficulties as superior, he went back to Ripon, but was afterwards persuaded to return. From this time he became the constant companion of Benedict and accompanied him to Rome on his fifth journey to the Holy City.
About 681 Benedict began the foundation of a second monastery at Jarrow on
the banks of the Tyne about six miles from Wearmouth. Ceolfrid was appointed the
first abbot to act as the deputy of Benedict, who in reality was abbot of both
houses. He took with him seventeen monks from Wearmouth, and from an inscription
formerly on the wall of the church we learn that the monastery was completed
about 684 or 685. Benedict died 12 January, 690, and directed the brethren to
elect Ceolfrid to be his successor. Ceolfrid proved himself a worthy disciple of
his master, carefully carrying out the ideals of Benedict. His disciple, the
Venerable Bede, has thus described his character and work:
This last [Ceolfrid]
was himself a man of most extraordinary diligence and superior quickness of
apprehension; prompt in carrying into effect but prudent in forming designs and
unrivalled in piety… During his long administration Ceolfrid brought to a
happy conclusion all the admirable plans for promoting piety which his
distinguished predecessor had begun. Time also suggested and enabled him to
carry into execution numerous improvements of his own. Amongst a great variety
of these, we ought particularly to notice that he considerably augmented the
number of private oratories or chapels of ease; added largely to the plate and
sacred vestments of the Church, and with ardour which equalled the past energy
of Benedict in founding, he nearly doubled the libraries of both his monasteries.
Besides innumerable other literary acquisitions he procured three pandects of
the new, added to one of the old translations of the bible which he had brought
from Rome. In his latter days, departing again for that city, he took with him
as a donative one of these three valued volumes, leaving to his monasteries the
other two (Liber de Vitis Abbat. Wirim, Wilcock tr.).
This volume, which Ceolfrid carried with him on his last journey to Rome was
Codex Amiatinus. Until recent years it was thought to have been the
work of Servandus, abbot of a monastery near Alatri in Italy (sixth century).
The name of Cassiodorus has also been connected with this manuscript, owing to
its striking resemblance to his Bible; but Vigouroux concludes that it is
absolutely independent of Cassiodorus, though the prologue it contains on the
divisions of the Bible may possibly be of Cassiodorian origin. The famous
Catholic antiquarian, De Rossi (1888), discovered its true origin. He has
conclusively proved that it was written at Wearmouth or Jarrow between the years
690 and 716; that it was one of the three copies of St. Jerome's Vulgate which
Bede refers to in the passage quoted above; and that Ceolfrid presented the
manuscript to the pope. For many years it was preserved in the Abbey of Monte
Amiato near Siena; it now rests in the Laurentenian Library at Florence, where
it was transferred at the suppression of the abbey in 1786. This Codex gives the
oldest text of St. Jerome's Vulgate and has played a most important role in its
history; in the publication of the Sixtine and Clementine editions of the Bible
it was preferred to all other manuscripts. Samuel Berger says of it:
It is from
Northumberland that the correct texts of the Vulgate were sent out not only
throughout Italy, to which England was thus paying a debt, but also throughout
France. Alcuin was from York and had been chosen by Charlemagne to correct the
text of the Bible. He was instrumental in extinguishing the last remnants of
Celtic particularism in the celebration of Easter.
Ceolfrid obtained from Pope Sergius I letters of immunity for his two
monasteries, and had them presented before a synod of English bishops in the
presence of King Alefrid, thus obtaining both royal and episcopal sanction. With
the advance of years came sickness and infirminty, and he resigned his office
with the intention of journeying to Rome, there to end his days. He also wished
to give his brethren an opportunity of
living under the direction of a younger
abbot, that the example of a more active leader might inspire them with greater
ardour in the pursuit of virtue. He died on his last journey at Langres, and
was buried in the church of the three martyrs, Sts. Speusippus, Eleusippus, and
Meleusippus. His relics were afterwards transferred to Jarrow, and thence, in
the time of the Danish invasions, to Glastonbury.
Ecclesiastical History of England (London, 1840);
229, 317, 318, 342; IDEM,
Liber de vitis Abbat. Wirim.; MONTALEMBERT,
of the West, IV, xiii; BUTLER,
Lives of the Saints, September 25th;
Weremuth-Jarrow und Rom im 7. Jahrhundert
Der Katholik for September,
Introd. Gen. In S. Scripturas, I, 436; BERGER
De l'histoire de
la Vulgate en France, 4; WHITE,
The Codex Amiatinus and its Birthplace in
Studia Biblica et Ecclesiastica, II, 273-308.
Heiligenlexikon als USB-Stick oder als DVD
Unterstützung für das Ökumenische Heiligenlexikon
Artikel kommentieren / Fehler melden
Suchen bei amazon: Bücher über Catholic Encyclopedia - St. Ceolfrid
Wikipedia: Artikel über Catholic Encyclopedia - St. Ceolfrid
Fragen? - unsere FAQs antworten!
Impressum - Datenschutzerklärung
mit 2 Klicks empfehlen!
korrekt zitieren: Artikel
Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek verzeichnet das Ökumenische Heiligenlexikon in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sind im Internet über http://d-nb.info/1175439177 und http://d-nb.info/969828497 abrufbar.