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You are in: Wear > Faith > Sunderland adopts its patron saint

The manuscript is revealed

The Anglo Saxon bible is revealed

Sunderland adopts its patron saint

To celebrate the adoption of St Benedict Biscop as patron saint of Sunderland, a copy of a rare Anglo Saxon bible has been presented to the city.

Following a public vote, Sunderland has officially adopted St Benedict Biscop as its patron saint.

Manuscript in St Peter's church

A richly decorated page from the bible

A special ceremony to mark the adoption was held at St Peter's Church Monkwearmouth, which he founded over 1,300 years ago.

St Benedict Biscop founded both St Peter's at Wearmouth and St Paul's in Jarrow, developing Northumbria's first stone built church and bringing stone masons and glaziers from France.

The monastery became the birthplace of stained glass making in Britain, something which is still celebrated in the nearby National Glass Centre. Now, the twin monasteries are bidding to become recognised as a World Heritage Site.

The reason we know so much about St Benedict today is largely thanks to the writings of his most famous student, the Venerable Bede, who was born near St Peter's and grew up in the monastery.

St Peter's Church

Stained glass window in St Peter's

Decorated manuscript

To celebrate his adoption as patron saint of Sunderland, a replica of an Anglo-Saxon bible, the Codex Amiatinus has been brought to the city for the first time.

This richly decorated manuscript was one of three Saxon bibles produced at the twin monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow in the 8th Century.

The original was carried to Rome as a gift to Pope Gregory II in AD 716 and is now housed in Florence, but this reproduction will go on permanent display at the City Library and Arts Centre.

What is a patron saint?

Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians of an area. The area can be geographical, as in the patron saints of England, Scotland or Wales, or can represent a job, profession or aspect of life.

They are often chosen because of an interest, talent, or event in their lives. For example, Francis of Assisi loved nature and so he is patron saint of ecologists. Francis de Sales was a writer and so he became the patron saint of journalists and writers.

last updated: 12/12/2008 at 14:25
created: 11/03/2005

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