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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988.

By the tenth century, England was exhausted from invasion and tribal warfare. Monastic life had degenerated, with few monks and fewer still who took seriously their vows and rules. Then a young monk appeared on the scene at Glastonbury monastery. His name was Dunstan and he was inspired to rejuvenate the lagging monasteries and revive the weary country. At Glastonbury he was instrumental in instituting the rigorous Benedictine Rule, and he got the scriptorium, a center for serious study, reopened. Finally, he was elected abbot.

As the good reputation of Glastonbury spread, the new abbot was inevitably drawn into politics. He served as Royal Treasurer to King Edred and under King Edgar he became, successively, Bishop of Worcester, then of London, and finally Archbishop of Canterbury.

As Archbishop, Dunstan put all his resources to work to strengthen and rebuild the decaying and war-ravaged church in England. Among a people who knew almost nothing save the art of warfare, he preached and taught the skills of peace, industry, and learning. Schools, monasteries, farms, and shops reappeared on the English countryside. Slavery, debauchery, and concubinage waned. The authority of the church was respected and England enjoyed a peace and unity unknown before.

Constantly revive your love in us, O God, that we may preach peace and teach your ways. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God of truth and beauty, you richly endowed your bishop Dunstan with skill in music and the working of metals, and with gifts of administration and reforming zeal: Teach us, we pray, to see in you the source of all our talents, and move us to offer them for the adornment of worship and the advancement of true religion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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