An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


(d. Aug. 31, 651). A native of Ireland and a monk at Columba's monastery of Iona, Aidan is credited with restoring Christianity throughout northern England. Oswald, nephew of King Edwin, had been in exile at Iona, where he was converted and baptized. Edwin had been converted by a mission from Canterbury, but his death in 632 caused a pagan uprising. Oswald restored Northumbrian independence in 635 when he defeated Cadwalla, the Welsh tyrant, in battle. He sent to Iona for help in restoring the Christian mission. Aidan was sent after another monk gave up in despair. He was consecrated bishop before his departure. When he arrived in Northumbria he was given the Island of Lindisfarne, close to the royal palace at Bamburgh, as his see. He set up a monastery. Aidan took in twelve English boys to train, and began missionary journeys all over Northumbria. He enjoyed the support of Oswald, who often served as his interpreter. Oswald's successor, King Oswin, also supported Aidan. Aidan died in Bamburgh and was buried at Lindisfarne. He is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Aug. 31.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.