ST. EADBERT, BISHOP OF LINDISFARNE, C.
VENERABLE BEDE assures us, that this holy man
excelled both in the knowledge of the holy scriptures, and in the
observance of the divine precepts. All his lifetime he was remarkable
for his almsdeeds, and it was a law with him to lay aside yearly the
tenth part of his goods for the poor. He was ordained successor to
St. Cuthbert, in the see of Lindisfarne, in 687, and most worthily
governed that church eleven years. It was his custom twice a year, in
Lent, and during forty days before Christmas, to retire into a
solitary place, encompassed by the waters of the sea, where St.
Cuthbert had for some time served God in private before he went to
the isle of Ferne. St. Eadbert spent this time remote from all
company, in abstinence, prayers, and tears. St. Cuthbert had been
buried about eleven years, when the brethren desired, with the
approbation of Eadbert, to take up the bones of that eminent servant
of God, whose life had been signalized by many illustrious miracles.
Instead of dust, to which they expected they were reduced, to their
great surprise they found the body as entire, and the joints all as
pliable as if it had been living: all the vestments and clothes in
which it was laid were also sound, and wonderfully fresh and bright.
The monks made haste to inform the holy bishop, who was then in his
Lent retreat, and they brought him part of the garments which covered
the holy body. These he devoutly kissed, and ordered that the blessed
body should be laid in other garments, put into the new coffin which
was made for the holy relics, and, for greater veneration, placed
above the pavement in the sanctuary. He added, that the grave which
had been sanctified by so great a miracle of heavenly grace, would
not remain long empty. This was accordingly done, and presently after
Eadbert, the bishop beloved of God, fell dangerously sick, and his
distemper daily increasing, on the 6th of May following he departed
to our Lord. His body was laid in St. Cuthbert’s grave, and
over the place was deposited the uncorrupted body of that glorious
servant of God. “Miracles here wrought from time to time, in
curing the sick, bear testimony to the merits of them both,”
says Bede. The same historian informs us, that St. Eadbert covered
with lead the church of Lindisfarne, which was dedicated by the
archbishop Theodorus, under the patronage of St. Peter. It had been
formerly built by bishop Finan, after the Scottish fashion, of oak
boards and thatched with reeds. See Bede, Hist.1. 3, c. 25,1. 4, c.
29, 30, and his life of St. Cuthbert. St. Eadbert is named on this
day in the Roman Martyrology.