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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Willibrord, Archbishop of Utrecht, Missionary to Frisia, 739.

Willibrord is one of the most celebrated of the Anglo-Saxon saints of the early Middle Ages. He was highly praised by both the Venerable Bede and Alcuin of York, the major historians of that period. He was a native of Northumbria, England, and a student of Wilfred, famous Bishop of Northumbria. He was ordained a priest in Ireland where he studied under some of the best Christian teachers of Britain.

After an arduous but successful pilgrimage to Rome, Willibrord set out, with the blessing of the Bishop of Rome, to convert the fierce and pagan Frisians of what is today called the Netherlands. The details of that venture are not accurately recorded. We only know that it was highly successful. Willibrord established a strong and dedicated Christian presence at Utrecht, where he eventually became archbishop.

Willibrord typifies a long-standing relationship between English and Dutch Christians. Today the historic Diocese of Utrecht is in full communion with the Church of England.

O almighty God, who in your providence did choose your servant Willibrord to be an apostle to the Frisian people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O Lord our God, you call whom you will and send them where you choose: We thank you for sending your servant Willibrord to be an apostle to the Low Countries, to turn them from the worship of idols to serve you, the living God; and we entreat you to preserve us from the temptation to exchange the perfect freedom of your service for servitude to false gods and to idols of our own devising; 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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