Friday, 4 July 2014

July 12th - Pilgrimage to Croyland

The year 870 is especially memorable for the cruel outrages of the pagan Danes, who in
different parts of the country slaughtered innumerable victims, in their thirst for
conquest and hatred of our holy religion. Lincolnshire and East Anglia were among the
provinces which suffered most, and there, shortly before the glorious martyrdom of St
Edmund, the chief monasteries were utterly destroyed. Bardney in Lincolnshire, where
the relics of St Oswald had long reposed, was entirely demolished, and all the monks
murdered, without leaving so much as a record of their names. The same took place at
Ely, where the two communities of men and women founded by St Etheldreda were put
to the sword. At Peterborough, then called Medehampstead, the Abbot Hedda and all
his monks, in number 
eighty-four, were also 
exterminated, the shrines 
of the Saints profaned, and 
the library burned. It was 
on the 26th or 30th of 
August that the barbarians 
reached Croyland, the 
celebrated retreat of St 
Guthlac. The solemn Mass 
was just ended but the 
clergy had not left the 
sanctuary, when the 
pagans broke into the 
church. The celebrant, 
who was the Abbot 
Theodore, the Deacon Elfgetus, and the Sub-deacon Savinus, were murdered in the 
sacred vestments before the altar, and shortly 
afterwards the Acolyths Egdred and Ulrick.
Some of the community escaped, and hid
themselves in a neighbouring forest; but those 
who sought to conceal themselves within their 
own walls seem all to have been discovered 
and cruelly butchered. Amongst these were 
Askegar, the Prior, and Sethwin, the Sub-prior, 
as well as two venerable monks, Grimkeld and 
Agamund, who had attained their hundredth 
year. The shrine of St Guthlac was profaned, 
and the holy place left in a state of complete 
desolation. It was about the same time that the 
Monastery of Bennet Hulme in Norfolk was 
destroyed in the like manner, and the holy man 
Suniman, for whom it had been built about half 
a century before, put to death with all his 

Troparion to All the Saints of Lincolnshire (Tone 8) 
As the bountiful harvest of your sowing of salvation, 
the shire of Lincoln offers to you, Lord, 
all the saints who have shone in these lands. 
By their prayers, keep the church and our land in abiding peace, 
through the Theotokos, O most merciful One.