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Chad Our Patron Saint

Chad was born in Northumbria, the youngest of four brothers, all of whom were priests.  He was a pupil of Aidan at Lindisfarne and at a young age came as a monk to his brother Cedd's monastery at Lastingham in Yorkshire.  On his brother's death in 664, Chad became abbot of Lastingham and was happy in the peace and quietness he found.

The church in Britain was in considerable confusion in the mid-seventh century.  Some order was brought by the Synod of Whitby (664), when the church in the north opted for the developing Roman tradition, and proper organisation was eventually established by Theodore on his arrival in 669.  Immediately after Whitby, Wilfrid, a firm proponent of Roman order, was made bishop of York, but sought valid consecration in France rather than from dubious British bishops.  He was away so long that King Oswy appointed Chad as bishop instead.  Chad unwisely accepted consecration from the simoniacal Bishop Wini and two other bishops whose valid consecration was in doubt.  On his eventual return, Wilfrid did not challenge Chad's position.  Theodore, however, on his arrival, pointed out the irregularity of Chad's consecration and asked him to step down in favour of Wilfrid.  This Chad graciously did and retired to the abbey at Lastingham.

In 669 King Wulfhere of Mercia asked Theodore to appoint a bishop for the region.  Theodore, having rectified Chad's consecration, sent him to be bishop of Mercia, a very large diocese which stretched from the River Severn to the eastern coast of England.  In order to have a more central base in the diocese, Chad moved the official residence of the bishop from Tepton to Lichfield.  He travelled extensively round his diocese, mostly on foot, until Archbishop Theodore insisted that he ride a horse.  Chad was much loved for his gentleness and humility and for the great holiness of his life, patterned on the example of the ancient fathers.  He tirelessly worked at spreading the gospel and is said to have founded the monastery of Barrow.  Chad was bishop of Mercia for only three years and died in 672 of the plague.  He was venerated as a saint.  A magnificent shrine to house his relics in Lichfield Cathedral was erected in the fourteenth century.