Celtic and Old English Saints          25 August

* St. Michan of Dublin
* St. Ebba of Coldingham
* St. Edbert of York
* St. Hilda of Whitby

St. Michan of Dublin
Date unknown. Nothing is known about Saint Michan except that there is
a church dedicated to him in Dublin, which is known for the incorrupted
bodies of Norman knights entombed within it. Some of the bodies are 800
years old. The church itself was confiscated by the Protestants during
the Reformation (Montague).

St. Ebba, Abbess of Coldingham, Northumbria,
Sister of King Oswy (Aebbe, Ebbe, Tabbs)
Died 683; feast of her translation is November 2. Saint Ebba, the
daughter of King Ethelfrith of Northumbria, fled to Scotland with her
brothers Saint Oswald (f.d. August 9) and Oswy, when their father died
in battle in 616 against King Saint Edwin (f.d. October 12). She
received the veil from Saint Finan (f.d. February 17) at Lindisfarne.
With the generous help of her brother, Ebba founded a convent on the
Derwent, named Ebchester after her. She also established the double
monastery at Coldingham in the marshes of Scotland's Berwickshire. This
holy abbess governed Coldingham's nuns until her death, basing their
organisation on that of Whitby.

When Saint Etheldreda (f.d. June 23) separated from King Egfrith in 672,
she went first to her Aunt Ebba, where she lived until she founded Ely
Abbey. In 681, Egfrith visited Coldingham with his second wife
Ermenburga, who suddenly fell ill. Ebba interpreted the illness as
God's punishment for Egfrith's imprisonment of Saint Wilfrid (f.d.
October 12) and Ermenburga's theft of Wilfrid's relics and reliquaries.
Ermenburga recovered after her husband released Wilfrid and she restored
his relics.

Shortly thereafter a priest named Adomnan admonished Ebba for the
relaxed state of her community. The sisters were spending their time
weaving fine cloth to adorn themselves to attract attention. Both the
men and women neglected their prayers and vigils. After the warning,
the community reformed its ways for a short time, but later reverted to
type--Ebba was not suitable as an administrator.

Although her monastery burned down in 686, her name lived on at
Ebchester Abbey, Saint Abb's Head (where the ruins of a fort may
indicate the site of her monastery), and a street and church in Oxford.
Her relics were discovered late in the 11th century and shared between
Durham and Coldingham, which is more than a mile away from Ebba's
Coldingham. Her cultus spread at that time and her feast was widely
celebrated throughout northern Britain (Benedictines, Farmer,

Holy Mother Hilda, pray to God for us!

Service to our Venerable Mother Ebba (+683),
Abbess of Coldingham

There are nine icons of St. Hilda, and a picture of the ruins of Whitby 
Abbey, on the Western Saints Icon Project:


St. Edbert of York, King and Monk of Northumbria

At York, Translation of the Relics of St. Hilda, Abbess of Whitby
Main Feastday is 17 November


Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.

Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Husenbeth, Rev. F. C., DD, VG (ed.). (1928). Butler's
Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints.
London: Virtue & Co.

Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland.
Guildford: Billing & Sons.

For All the Saints:

These Lives are archived at:

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