Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Willibrord of York

Willibrord (c. 658 – 739) was a Northumbrian missionary, known as the "Apostle to the Frisians" in the Netherlands today, who became the first Bishop of Utrecht.

Sent to the abbey at Ripon at a very young age, he later became a Benedictine, studying at the Abbey of Rathmelsigi in Ireland under Saint Egbert, who sent him and twelve companions to evangelize the North Germanic tribes of Frisia at the request of Pepin, king of the Franks and suzerain over that region. He travelled to the region several times, establishing numerous churches, including his cathedral at Utrecht in modern day Holland, and an abbey in Echternach, Luxemburg.

In 716 the pagan Radbod, king of the Frisians, retook possession of Frisia, burning churches and killing many missionaries, until his death in 719. At this point Willibrord returned to continue his work, frequently returning to Echternach, where he was interred following his death.


God, the Saviour of all,
you sent your bishop Willibrord from this land
to proclaim the good news to many peoples
and confirm them in their faith:
help us also to witness to your steadfast love
by word and deed
so that your Church may increase
and grow strong in holiness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


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