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d.651. First bishop of Lindisfarne, England. After his victory at Heavenfield near Hexham in 633, Oswald,* king of Northumbria, requested the monks of Iona* to send someone to teach his people the Christian faith. The first missionary made no impression and on his return to Iona complained of the barbarous nature of the people. In his place was appointed another monk, Aidan, who was consecrated bishop. He chose for his headquarters the small island of Lindisfarne not far from Oswald's capital at Bamburgh. He founded a monastic community and adapted himself fully to the new situation, having close links with Oswald and his successor Oswin, and identifying himself with the common people. He made many missionary journeys on the mainland, largely on foot, sometimes accompanied by Oswald as interpreter. He founded a school for twelve boys, including Eata, Wilfrid, Cedd, and Chad, to continue his work. He displayed notably the Celtic virtues of simplicity, humility, and gentleness, and such was his missionary success that J.B. Lightfoot could say: “Not Augustine, but Aidan, is the true apostle of England.”

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