Britannia Biographies: St. Chad, Bishop of Lichfield, Part 2
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Abbacy of Lastingham
Episcopate of York
Episcopate of Lichfield
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Biography of St. Chad (623-672), Bishop of Lichfield

S T.   C H A D
Part 2: Episcopate of York

Born: c.AD 623 in Northumbria
Abbot of Lastingham
Bishop of York
Bishop of Lichfield
Died: 2nd March AD 672 at Lichfield, Staffordshire

The following year (AD 665), while St. Wilfred was still abroad, King Oswiu of Northumbria became impatient for some religious guidance in his kingdom and decided to send Chad to Kent to be ordained Bishop of the Northern Church. He was accompanied by the King's Chaplain, Edhed, who was, some years afterwards, made Abbot of Ripon. However, upon their arrival in Canterbury, the two priests found that Archbishop Deusdedit had died of the Plague. His successor, Wigheard, was journeying to Rome for his consecration and Bishop Ithamar of Rochester was too close to death to be of any help. So they turned aside to Wessex where, at Dorchester-on-Thames, they were greeted by Bishop Wine. He was the only canonically ordained bishop available in England, yet the required ceremony demanded three. Wine therefore called upon two Welsh and/or Cornish Bishops to help him and St. Chad was duly consecrated Bishop of York in Dorchester Cathedral.

Bishop Chad began, at once, to apply himself to the practice of humility, continence and study. He travelled about his new diocese, not on horseback, but after the manner of the apostles, on foot, to preach the gospel in the towns and the open countryside, according to the example of both St. Aidan and his late brother, Cedd. Wilfred returned to England in AD 666 and, finding himself, deposed, quietly retired to his Abbey at Ripon. He remained, however, an opponent of Chad who was constantly criticised for the manner of his consecration. Three years later, Theodore of Tarsus, a new Archbishop arrived in Canterbury from the Continent. Being naturally a staunch supporter of the Roman doctrine, he soon charged Chad with holding an uncanonical office. The northern prelate humbly replied that if this were true, he would willingly resign for he never thought himself worthy of the position and had only consented out of a sense of duty. Theodore was so moved that he completed Chad's ordination himself in the Roman manner. Though the latter still preferred to resign in favour of Wilfred and he thus retired to Lastingham. Though Chad was Bishop of York for so short a time, he left his mark on the affections of the people, for we find that at least one chantry was dedicated in his name at York Minster.

Part 3: Episcopate of Lichfield


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