20 March 2018

Cuthbert

Let's all cheer and raise a glass. It's March 20th - St Cuthbert's Day!

In my humble opinion, St Cuthbert should be the patron saint of England and not the foreigner - St George who had as much to do with England as I have to do with Timbuktu. 

St Cuthbert was a holy man who helped the poor and lived a blameless life. He was probably born in 634 AD and died on March 20th 687 AD. His tomb is the centrepiece of Durham Cathedral though at first his remains rested on the holy  island of Lindisfarne off the Northumberland coast where he was the prior of the abbey in the last three years of his life.

When Danes and Vikings attacked the east coast of England in the ninth century, the monks of Lindisfarne exhumed Cuthbert's remains and carried him to safety. He seemed to represent the very heart of northern England and his coffin went on a long journey - resting in a variety of locations around the old kingdom of Northumbria of which Yorkshire is the major part. I have been to just a handful of the churches where St Cuthbert rested and all of those churches are named after him.

There are many stories surrounding Cuthbert including tales of miracles. When the Scandinavian threat diminished his remains were brought to Durham and for centuries his tomb became a place of pilgrimage.

I am not a religious person but most countries seem to have patron saints who come to act as symbols of a nation's character. Somewhere along the line, for reasons that are lost in the mists of history, England picked the wrong patron saint in my judgement. It should have been our own homegrown saint, a man who lived amongst us, a man of peace and hope. Happy St Cuthbert's Day Everybody! Happy St Cuthbert's Day!

50 comments:

  1. St Cuthbert should have been the patron saint of England I think but he has name like ‘Cuthbert’ and we can’t have that.it sounds too homosexual. Maybe I i’m wrong. It sounds more like a ‘carry on’ sort of name if you think about it. ‘Clint’ is more manly. St Clint. If the Magnums were only around in those days. The gun and not the ice cream!

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    1. St Terry would be even better. It is such a butch, manly name - rather like Arnold (Arnold Schwarzenegger).

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  2. I must admit the idea of a patron saint is as alien to me as the idea of patriotism. Therefore, I don't mind one way or another - any excuse to raise a glass or three and cheer is good!
    Don't forget that it is Librarian Day on Thursday, celebrating 50 years of Meike. If that does not call for a glass of sparkly, I don't know!

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    1. March 22 shall be St. Meike's day, patroness of librarians, women with secrets, and German bloggers!

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    2. St Meike - Patron Saint of Pleasantness, Thoughtfulness and Good Manners.
      St Jennifer - Patron Saint of Mischievous Parrots.

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    3. St Jennifer's day is March 23, the day after St. Meike!

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  3. I am not religious either, but I'm fascinated by the lives of the saints. Yesterday was St. Joseph's day, which always makes me think of my grandfather. His name was Joseph, and he was a Catholic (a rarity in this part of the country!) and a good man.

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    1. I am drinking a mug of coffee which I raise to your Juseph.

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    2. I'm drinking coffee right now too! I'll raise my mug to you, Neil!

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    3. Jennifer, my father-in-law's name was Giuseppe (Joseph). It was St Joseph and father's day here in Italy yesterday and we always think of him especially on this day.
      x

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    4. I also raise my coffee to Giuseppe.

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  4. Do you pronounce the "TH" in Cuthbert, or is it a hard "T"? I have to ask because there are so many silent letters in English English.

    I wonder if Cuthbert had been chosen as the patron saint, that his name would be as mundane as George is now, and "George", with it's mushy "Gs" at both ends and a weak shwa in the middle, would sound strange and foreign, not to mention the awful puckering of the lips that you have to make in order to say it.

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    1. Ha-ha! I had never considered the name George in that way before. Cuthbert is certainly pronounced with a "th" in the middle. I am wishing we had named our own son Cuthbert but I don't think he would have thanked us for this. I have never met anyone called Cuthbert.

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  5. I have to admit that I know more about St Cuthbert than I do about St George and I agree with you. Slaying a mythical dragon doesn't seem a particularly saintly thing to do but then perhaps he had other virtues. I should look him up but, to be honest, I really can't be bothered.

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    1. Can't be bothered learning about saints? Okay - stick to "Emmerdale" Graham.

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    2. I thought that comment was unjustifiably offensive and beneath you YP.

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    3. Sorry for any offence caused Graham. It was not meant that way. Sometimes written comments without the helpfulness of facial expression and intonation can lead to misinterpretation. This was just meant to be a bit of silliness. After all, I very much doubt that you are a fan of "Emmerdale"! It wouldn't surprise me in the least if you have never watched a single episode of that soap opera. Once again - sorry.

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    4. Apology accepted YP. You're correct in that I've never seen an episode of "Emmerdale". In fact I'm not a follower of soaps but I have other television weaknesses! You're absolutely right though about nuances. Had you said it to may face I probably wouldn't have been upset.

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  6. I am happy to share my birthday with St. Cuthbert, but I'm sorry you're celebrating the day of his death, not his birth. This is also the birthday with St. Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

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    1. ...and also the birthday of Ken Bennett, who follows this blog. Happy BD Ken!

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    2. Happy birthday Saint Jan and Saint Ken! Saint Cuthbert will be happy to have you on his team.
      P.S. I hope you have enough lung power to blow out all your candles!

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  7. What does one drink on St. Cuthbert's Day?

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    1. One drinks "Oddball Observations" which is a kind of homemade hooch.

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  8. I thought that Saints was only a Roman Catholic belief.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Before King Henry VIII (1509 to 1547), England was a Roman Catholic country. All of our saints were created before his reign. Thanks for calling by again Maria.

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  9. Happy St. Cuthbert's Day to you! And thank you for the history lesson. This seems to be a popular birthday as it is also my son's birthday. My youngest, Sean, is 41 today - now that makes me feel old!

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    1. I hope you have given Sean a copy of "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran for his birthday! As we say over here in England - you are only as old as you feel Bonnie.

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    2. I gave both my sons a copy of "The Prophet" many years ago, and my eldest grandchild as well. Enjoy your day!

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  10. Happy Nowruz to you, Mr and Mrs Pudding. You can celebrate this holiday today, the first day of spring, since you are not too comfortable with your own.

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    1. I had to look up the word "Nowruz" - The Iranian New Year. Now I am about to dance a Raghs-e-Pari in sirwal.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. I'd never heard of St. Cuthbert, but I am very familiar with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert of the Anne of Green Gables books. I don't imagine you've read those as they seem to appeal to young girls, mostly (but you've likely heard of them).

    It amazes me that the monks would take St. Cuthbert's remains with them when they were under siege, and then to other places as needed. It is an interesting story. Happy St. Cuthbert's Day to you, too :)

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    1. Well I have heard of Anne of Green Gables but you are right I have never read any of her stories. Is she a superhero - like Catwoman?

      I think the monks feared that the Danes would appropriate or desecrate Cuthbert's remains.

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    2. In case that was a genuine question, Anne is better than Catwoman, in my opinion, because she - although fictional - has realistic struggles and is someone young girls can identify with. The Cuthberts were the elderly brother and sister who took in the orphaned Anne and raised her, not without some conflict, but eventually they became a close family.

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  12. Now you've given me some homework. Does Canada have a patron saint. I'm going to have to do a search and find out.

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    1. Canada has THREE patron saints! Very greedy. I am sorry to inform you that St Keith is not one of them.

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    2. Ten! I know how to Google, too! They are: Anne, Joseph, and Jean de Brebeuf plus seven other Jesuit missionaries (all eight together known as the American Martyrs).

      The things I learn here or arising from things here ... I never knew of these before.

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    3. What or who is this "Google" to whom you refer? Is it a patron saint or perhaps a folk dance? Intriguing and mysterious reference.

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  13. Who knew St Cuthbert would be such a big hit amongst your followers...
    I've seen his first resting place at beautiful Lindisfarne and although I've been to Durham Cathedral I don't recall seeing his other resting place.
    I am now waiting for April 23 to learn why St George is not regarded by YP as a suitable patron saint for England.

    Alphie

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    1. You don't need to wait that long Alphie. St George was a Roman soldier of Greek origin and he never visited England or had anything to do with our country. These fact alone should preclude him from bring our patron saint. Besides, various other countries have claimed him as their saint.

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  14. So we have Jan, Cuthie AND my daughter Natalie's Birthdays all on the 20th. Wonderful!

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    1. That was a slightly purple comment. I hope I don't get short shrift.

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    2. I have no objections to you wearing a short shrift Kate. The shorter the better.

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    3. Oooh, YP, you are naughty. It’s getting a bit autumnal here for short shrifts.
      Actually coming back I see spellcheck changed my ‘purile’ to ‘purple’, which does add a note of novelty to my comment.

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    4. Ha-ha! Forgive me for my own purple comment.

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  15. I never liked the word exhumed it conjures up nasty pictures in my fertile mind. lol
    Briony
    x

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    1. I wonder what might be exhumed from your fertile mind Briony? I am guessing something quite naughty!

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  16. Cuthbert is a very good Surname!

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    1. Co-incidentally I believe I saw some photographs of a woman called Sue Cuthbert in a gentlemen's magazine a few years back. She was wearing a leopard print thong.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.