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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095.

Most students of history are aware of the cruel treatment the native English (Anglo-Saxons) received from their Norman conquerors after 1066. Few know that their only effective defender was the English bishop, Wulfstan of Worcester.

Wulfstan was reared by devoted Christian parents and was educated in the church. He entered the priesthood and was soon elected Bishop of Worcester, a position which he declined, preferring to enter a monastery. Some twenty-five years later, in the troubled years just prior to the Norman Conquest, he was again elected to the same bishopric and then accepted the call.

Wulfstan continued to live in virtual poverty. He encouraged laymen to exercise their rights and responsibilities in governing the church. After the Conquest, he did not hesitate to confront the Norman king and the Norman archbishop, appealing to their consciences as Christians and speaking at great personal risk. He secured some rights for the English serfs against their Norman landlords and for English laymen against their Norman bishops. With the help of Archbishop Lanfranc, he succeeded in ending the loathsome practice of selling Englishmen as slaves in Ireland. Wulfstan spent most of his ministry taking the gospel and the sacraments to the poor and the oppressed, the English people whom he loved so much.

Help us, O God, to use our voices to protect the voiceless and our power to strengthen the powerless. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty God, your only-begotten Son led captivity captive and gave gifts to your people: Multiply among us faithful pastors, who, like your holy bishop Wulfstan, will give courage to those who are oppressed and held in bondage; and bring us all, we pray, into the true freedom of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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