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Exploring the Northern Saints

21st March 2016 Print

Celtic pilgrimage specialists Living the Gospel has availability on its new ‘Exploring the Northern Saints’ tour to Durham in the north east of England, departing on 11 July and 8 August 2016.

The group tour will explore the arrival of Christianity to the UK, and follow in the footsteps of the early Saints and visiting the Christian landmarks and other sites associated with them.

Both tours will be led by the Revd John McManners, and will provide a chance to learn about the life and influence of the Saints Aidan, Cuthbert and Bede, and to see how they struggled to bring the message of the Gospel into the pagan world of Northumbria.

Aidan of Lindisfarne was an Irish monk and missionary who was credited with restoring Christianity to Northumbria. He founded a monastic cathedral on the island of Lindisfarne, served as its first bishop, and travelled throughout the countryside, spreading the gospel to both the Anglo-Saxon nobility and to the socially disenfranchised. He is known as the Apostle of Northumbria.

Saint Cuthbert was a saint of the early Northumbrian church in the Celtic tradition. He was a monk, bishop and hermit, associated with the monasteries of Melrose and Lindisfarne, in what might loosely be termed the Kingdom of Northumbria. After his death he became one of the most important medieval saints of Northern England, with a cult centred on his tomb at Durham Cathedral.

Bede was an English monk at the monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth and its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow, County Durham. He is widely recognised as an author and scholar, and his most famous work, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People gained him the title ‘The Father of English History’. A skilled linguist, his work made the Latin and Greek writings of the early Church Fathers much more accessible to his fellow Anglo-Saxons.

The itinerary commences with a visit to Durham Cathedral for a guided tour, followed by Choral Evensong. The following morning the group will head to Whitby Abbey to learn about the life and witness of St Hilda before driving to the village of Lastingham to celebrate the Eucharist in the Crypt.

The first stop on the third morning is Bede’s World – an unusual museum in the grounds of St Paul’s Monastery in Jarrow, before continuing to Monkwearmouth to visit St Peter’s Church, a section of which dates back to the time of Bede.

The final day’s highlight is a pilgrimage to the English Heritage site of Lindisfarne Abbey and St Mary’s Church to celebrate the Eucharist and, weather permitting, there may be a chance to enjoy a cruise from Seahouses to the Farne Islands. Guests depart on day five.

The holiday departs on 11 July and 8 August and costs from £495 pp (two sharing) which includes four-nights’ B&B at the Mercure George Washington Spa Hotel, all lectures and visits. Dinner supplement £79 pp.

For more information, visit

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