A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
St Thomas Ken (1637-1711). Church of England Lesser Festival for English cleric born in Hertfordshire of a Somerset family and who was considered the most eminent of the English non-juring bishops and one of the fathers of modern English hymnody. At 15, Ken entered Winchester College and at 19 he went on to Oxford for his MA, becoming a tutor and joining musical gatherings. Ordained in 1662, he successively held the livings of Little Easton in Essex, St Mary’s Church, Brighstone, Isle of Wight and East Woodhay, Hampshire. In 1672, he returned to Winchester as a prebendary of the Cathedral and chaplain to the Bishop, as well as a fellow of Winchester College. Acting as a curate for several years, he prepared his 1674 Manual of Prayers for the use of the Scholars of Winchester College. Also, the hymns: Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Awake, my soul, and with the sun; and Glory to Thee, my God, this night. The latter were Hymns 1 and 10 in the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern. Ken paid a 1674 visit to Rome with his young nephew, Izaak Walton the author of The Compleat Angler. In 1684, a vacancy occurred in the see of Bath and Wells and Ken was appointed Bishop but, in 1688, James II reissued his Declaration of Indulgence, an early step towards establishing freedom of religion in the British Isles. Ken was one of the Seven Bishops who refused to publish it, probably due to his profound aversion to Roman Catholicism and a feeling that the King was compromising the spiritual freedom of the church. Although acquitted of a charge of high misdemeanour, Ken refused to transfer his oath of allegiance to William of Orange, took his place among the non-jurors and in 1691 was superseded in his bishopric by the Dean of Peterborough. He retired for 20 years to the home of the 1st Viscount Weymouth at Longleat, where he died. Bishop Ken’s remains were laid to rest in the Church of St John the Baptist in Frome, the nearest parish in his old Diocese of Bath and Wells. “I am dying,” Ken had written, “in the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith professed by the whole Church before the disunion of East and West; and, more particularly, in the Communion of the Church of England as it stands distinguished from both Papal and Protestant innovation and adheres to the Doctrine of the Cross.” Ken is commemorated with a statue on the West Front of Salisbury Cathedral. Venerated in Anglican Communion. Major shrine Church of St John the Baptist, Frome. Feast Day commemorating burial 20 March Episcopal Church, 21 March Episcopal Church (USA). Image: en.wikipedia.org.
St William of York (William Fitzherbert) (before 1090-1154). Feast Day commemorating death of noble English priest who was born in York and held 1109-14 the prebendary of Weighton in the Diocese of Yorkshire, during which time he was appointed Treasurer of York and then between 1125 and 1133 Archdeacon of the East Riding of Yorkshire, holding both of these offices until his 1141 election as Archbishop of York. This election was opposed by the Cistercian monasteries of Yorkshire and by the Archdeacons of York. As Archbishop, William undertook a number of ecclesiastical reforms and became popular with the people of York. Not having received his pallium, the sign of an Archbishop’s authority from the Pope, William travelled to Rome and the new Cistercian Pope declared in 1146 that William had not been validly consecrated and suspended him from office. William’s supporters in York launched a damaging attack on the Cistercian Fountains Abbey and destroyed many of its buildings but William was formally deposed as Archbishop in 1147 and replaced by the Cistercian Abbot of Fountains Abbey. William had grown up in Winchester and returned there before seeking from a new Pope in Rome reappointment to York, which was confirmed in 1153, making him, unusually, twice Archbishop of York. After less than a month back in York, William died, allegedly due to poison administered in the chalice at Mass, and was buried in York Minster. Within a few months of his death, miracles were attributed to his intervention and a sweet smell came from his tomb when it was damaged during a fire that did not damage his incorrupt body. William’s veneration was largely localised in York and St William’s College next to York Minster was named after him in 1467 as the home for chantry priests. His remains were rediscovered in the 1960s and are now in the crypt at York Minster. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church. Shrine York Minster. Patron of York, St. William’s Church, Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Image: jesusismyredpill.com.
Naomh Bron (St Bron, Bronus) (d511). Feast Day for native of Coolera who was a beloved disciple of St Patrick. Bron accompanied Patrick when he crossed from Tireragh in County Sligo by way of Traigh Eothaile (The Strand at Streamstown) to Irai (Cuil Irra) and the Cottage of Bronus. At the extreme northwestern point of the peninsula, Patrick tripped on rough ground and lost a tooth, which is a gold relic now preserved in the National Museum of Ireland. Patrick marked out and Bronus built a primitive church at Caiseal Irra (Cill-Easpaig-Bron). On the site, the ancient church remains on the seashore at Killaspugbrone date from between 1150 and 1220. In 1585, the newly-established Protestant church seized the Killaspugbrone possessions and the Church fell into disuse c1680. In 1811, the ruins were repaired and a wall was built around the graveyard in 1814. The chancel of the present St Anne’s Church of Ireland church near Killaspugbrone incorporates a few stones from the old structure, in addition to the ancient baptismal font of rough stones. A coastal Sligo Bay walk through the dunes passes Sligo Airport and the church. Venerated in Caiseal-Irra, Tir-Fiachra, County Sligo. Image: catholicsaints.mobi.