Celtic and Old English Saints          20 August

* St. Oswin of Deira
* St. Edbert of York

St. Oswin , King and Martyr of Deira, Northumbria
Died at Gilling, Yorkshire, England, on August 20, 651; feast of his
translation on March 11 is kept at Durham, Saint Albans, and Tynemouth.
When his father, King Osric of Deira (roughly the county of Yorkshire),
was killed by the pagan Welsh King Cadwallon in 633, he was taken to
Wessex for safety, baptized, and educated there by Saint Aidan (f.d.
August 31). When his cousin Saint Oswald (f.d. August 9) was killed in
battle against King Penda of Mercia in 642, Oswin became king of Deira,
which Oswald had united to Bernicia, and his cousin Oswy (Oswiu) became
king of Bernicia.

Saint Bede (f.d. May 25) tells us that Oswin was "handsome in appearance
and of great stature, pleasant in speech and courteous in manner. He
was generous to high and low alike and soon won the affection of all by
his kingly qualities of mind and body so that even men of very high
birth came from nearly every province to his service. . . . and among
his other qualities of virtue and moderation the greatest was humility."

Oswin had reigned successfully for about nine years, when Oswy declared
war on him. Rather than precipitate a bloody battle when he realised
that his army was vastly outnumbered, Oswin went into hiding with one
trusted soldier at the estate of his best friend, Earl Hunwald, at
Gilling near Richmond, York. Hunwald betrayed him and he was murdered
at Gilling, Yorkshire, by Ethelwin on orders from Oswy. Oswin, buried
at Tynemouth, has been venerated as a martyr since his death, because he
died, "if not for the faith of Christ, at least for the justice of
Christ," as a 12th-century preacher explained.

In expiation for his crime, Oswy built a monastery at Gilling, but
Oswin's relics remained at Tynemouth. Later the church was subject to
the Viking raids and Oswin's tomb was forgotten until it was found in
1065. At that time the relics were translated. (Attwater, Benedictines,
Delaney, Encyclopaedia, Farmer).

Troparion of St Oswin tone 1
Courtesy and humility shone from thee,/ O radiant Martyr Oswin./ Trained
by Saint Aidan as a Christian ruler,/ thou didst illumine northern
Britain./ Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has
crowned thee;/ glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Icon of St. Oswin
Homesite for icons

St. Edbert of York, King and Martyr of Northumbria
Died 768. King Saint Edbert succeeded Saint Ceolwulph (f.d. January 15)
in Northumbria. After reigning successfully for 20 years he abdicated
and retired to York abbey, where he spent his last ten years in prayer


Attwater, D. (1983). The penguin dictionary of saints, NY:
Penguin Books.

Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate. (1947). The
book of saints: A dictionary of servants of God canonized
by the Catholic Church extracted from the Roman and other
martyrologies. NY: Macmillan.

Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket dictionary of saints, NY:
Doubleday Image.

Encyclopaedia of Catholic saints, August. (1966).
Philadelphia: Chilton Books.

Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford dictionary of saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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