Bede vs. Cuthbert

Sure, almost everything we know about Cuthbert, we learned through the writings of Bede. Had Bede known that he would one day square off against Cuthbert in the saintly smackdown, perhaps he would have written a different tune? Nonetheless, these two face one another in a rare battle of contemporaries. The winner will go up against Molly Brant.

Yesterday we saw one of the greatest routs in Lent Madness history with Kamehameha spanking William Laud 84% to 16%. He’ll go on to face David Oakerhater in the Round of the Saintly Sixteen.

Speaking of routs, our bracketologists did a bit of digging to unearth where Kamehameha’s victory ranked among the annals of Lent Madness blowouts. In 2013 Florence Li-Tim Oi, the first woman ordained in the Anglican Communion, defeated Chad of Lichfield by the same percentage, 84% to 16%. Talk about your hanging Chad…

But the greatest blowout in Lent Madness history, percentage-wise, came in the very first year this devotional started. In 2010, Francis of Assisi defeated Aelred of Riveaulx 87% to 13% in the Elate Eight. For the record, Francis lost to Julian of Norwich in the Faithful Four that year and is now back in the bracket for the first time since.


The Venerable Bede is among Christianity’s greatest scholars, having produced numerous commentaries on scripture, hagiographies of the saints, and studies of chronology and timekeeping. He is best known for his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, the premier source of information about the development of Christianity in England from the time of Augustine’s arrival in 597 until 731 CE.

Very little is known about the details of Bede’s life. He was his own primary biographer, offering the briefest annotations at the beginning and end of his Ecclesiastical History. Preferring to remain a simple “servant of Christ and Priest,” Bede traced the broadest outlines of his life: he entered the monastery at Wearmouth at age seven, and, when a new abbey was founded at Jarrow in 682, he transferred there. He was ordained as a deacon at age nineteen and a priest at age thirty and ultimately remained at Jarrow for the vast majority of his life. Over the course of his life, he joyed in “wholly applying myself to the study of scripture, and amidst the observance of regular discipline, and the daily care of singing in the church, I always took delight in learning, teaching, and writing.”

Bede’s delight in learning, teaching, and writing provides us with much of the history of the Church in England. Bede reported Pope Gregory the Great’s dispatch of Augustine to England in 597, and after the baptism of Ethelbert in 601, Augustine’s appointment as the First Archbishop of Canterbury. Bede’s Ecclesiastical History introduced us to the tale of Alban, the first martyr in England, and his faithful confession that “I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things.” Through Bede we learn much of our history of the various abbots of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, most especially Cuthbert. And Bede introduces us to Hilda and the influence of her abbey at Whitby.

As one of the church’s saints, Bede’s witness shines brightest in his constant dedication in bringing the world to know the light of Christ shining in countless others, so that their witness may shine to the Church throughout all ages.

Collect for Bede

Heavenly Father, you called your servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to your service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of your truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make you known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

David Sibley

LMCuthbertCuthbert of Lindisfarne

In the Venerable Bede’s The Life and Miracles of St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindesfarne, we read, “He was affable and pleasant in his character…he would introduce, in the meekest way, the spiritual benefits which the love of God had conferred upon himself. And this he took care to do in a covert manner, as if it had happened to another person.”

Cuthbert’s life, marked by miracles and adventure, was also a life of profound kindness. He grew up an orphan shepherd and spent days in quiet solitude tending flocks in the pastures of Scotland. He took holy orders at age seventeen after having seen a vision of angels bearing a saintly man toward heaven. This vision coincided with the death of Saint Aidan — ostensibly Cuthbert saw the saintly man being carried to heaven.

Cuthbert became the abbot of Melrose but was always more comfortable in the wild solitude of nature. He often went out to the sea, standing waist-deep in freezing waters to pray. His communing with the natural world was such that it was said that sea otters dried his legs when he finished prayers. He spent eight years as a hermit on the island of Inner Farne and the animals of the island came under his protection.

When the yellow plague hit the land, Cuthbert traveled extensively to minister to victims. Miraculous healings began to be attributed to him, and he was famed as the “Wonder Worker of Britain.” He saw his journeys as a time to not only comfort the afflicted but also to renew their Christian faith.

His adroit handling of church matters and administration were amply displayed in his work at the Synod of Whitby (664), which fixed the date of Easter and aligned the liturgy of the Celtic Church with the liturgy of the Church in Rome. This repair of the breach with Rome demonstrated his gifts for not only healing individuals but also in reconciling groups of people who disagreed vehemently with each other.

His fame for miraculous healings, his competence in ministry, and his kindness in personal relationships caused him to be elevated to the bishopric of Hexham in 684 while still maintaining his see at Lindisfarne. His life was cut short by illness, and he died in 687.

Cuthbert is the most revered saint of the early Anglo-Saxon Church. In honor of his memory, the Gospels of Lindisfarne were commissioned and a church was built to house his relics. Even after his death, he continued to be credited with all manner of healings and miracles such that Bede compiled a collection of the testimonies and penned his famous work on Cuthbert.

Collect for Cuthbert

Almighty God, you called Cuthbert from following the flock to be a shepherd of your people: Mercifully grant that, as he sought in dangerous and remote places those who had erred and strayed from your ways, so we may seek the indifferent and the lost, and lead them back to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Robert Hendrickson


Bede vs. Cuthbert

  • Cuthbert (63%, 4,313 Votes)
  • Bede (37%, 2,511 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,824

Loading ... Loading ...

314 Comments to "Bede vs. Cuthbert"

  1. Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
    February 26, 2015 - 8:03 am | Permalink


    • John Weisenhorn's Gravatar John Weisenhorn
      February 26, 2015 - 8:57 am | Permalink

      Cuthbert was a sweetheart, going where there was sickness, giving comfort. My kinda guy.

      • Lea's Gravatar Lea
        February 26, 2015 - 11:06 am | Permalink

        Couldn’t agree more, John!

      • Georgia White's Gravatar Georgia White
        February 26, 2015 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

        tough choice, but I had to go with the “sweet guy”

        • Gay Jolley's Gravatar Gay Jolley
          February 26, 2015 - 3:16 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but without the Venerable we wouldn’t know about “the sweet guy”

          • Linda Maloney's Gravatar Linda Maloney
            February 26, 2015 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

            Exactly write, Gay! My devotion to study and learning about the Bible and all that of which it speaks makes me a Bede fan through and through. Besides which, I owe to him my first scholarly publication. In 1964 my professor of paleography, Chauncey Finch, assigned me a small ms. by Bede for analysis, and that essay was, by his good graces, published in Manuscripta. So thanks, Bede! Come on, folks! This guy is really important to us all!

    • February 26, 2015 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      Would it have been more exciting if the sea otters were ravenous?

      • Elizabeth Byrd's Gravatar Elizabeth Byrd
        February 26, 2015 - 11:17 am | Permalink


      • Carol Riddick's Gravatar Carol Riddick
        February 26, 2015 - 11:47 am | Permalink

        Good comment!

      • February 26, 2015 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

        Ha!! YES!

    • Christina Thom's Gravatar Christina Thom
      February 26, 2015 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      Come on guys no contest. It would be more of a contest if you put two healers against each other or two academics.

    • GWin Hanahan's Gravatar GWin Hanahan
      February 26, 2015 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Bede’s scholarly work -for that time-“learning teaching, writing” is invaluable. immensely important and interesting. And I like his “new name” which was “servant of Christ and priest.” A new name like that one fits the lectionary readings and my sermon for this 2nd Sunday in Lent

    • Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
      February 26, 2015 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

      When confronted by a problem, complain about the rules. The Supreme Executive Committee is cruel by making us choose between such saints. Being outside the Anglican inner circle, I go with the more well known venerable, while in prayer of praise for Cuthbert.

  2. Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
    February 26, 2015 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    The is an act of cruelty by the SEC. How can one begin to choose? You might as well cut them in half like a Solomonic baby.

    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      February 26, 2015 - 8:09 am | Permalink

      Yes! Exactly what I was thinking!

    • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
      February 26, 2015 - 8:39 am | Permalink

      The hardest one so far, I think. Can we have a tie?

      • wilson reimers's Gravatar wilson reimers
        February 26, 2015 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

        I agree Katherine, I guess his love of the outdoors and his kindness finally got my vote

      • Laura Lowndes's Gravatar Laura Lowndes
        February 26, 2015 - 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Hardest choice yet – but without Bede how much would we know about not only Cuthbert, but so many others?

    • Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
      February 26, 2015 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      I so agree. As an historian, I have to appreciate Bede. As someone who values kindness, Cuthbert is so attractive. I’ll give it time today and vote later.

      • Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
        February 26, 2015 - 9:50 am | Permalink

        My final decision … we would not even know about St. Cuthbert if it were not for the Venerable Bede,.. so Bede gets the nod.

        • Catherine Schiesz's Gravatar Catherine Schiesz
          February 26, 2015 - 10:26 am | Permalink

          that’s exactly where I landed today. Besides, how can you not vote for someone whose name is Venerable?

          • Margaret Bivins's Gravatar Margaret Bivins
            February 26, 2015 - 11:03 am | Permalink

            I don’t think his first name was Venerable. That was just an honorific.

        • Viola D. Mullin's Gravatar Viola D. Mullin
          February 26, 2015 - 11:12 am | Permalink

          I’m with Carolyn, we would not know[as much?] about St. Cuthbert if it were not for the Venerable Bede. I voted for Bede.

        • Sue Masters's Gravatar Sue Masters
          February 26, 2015 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

          I agree. I may be in the voting minority, but without Bede’s biographies of the Saints of his day we would not have known about Cuthbert.

        • Chris's Gravatar Chris
          February 26, 2015 - 12:35 pm | Permalink

          Agreed. Also must vote in loyalty to our local Chapel of the Venerable Bede.

        • daryl storey's Gravatar daryl storey
          February 26, 2015 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

          that was my thought. I also like the fact that Bede did not write of his own accomplishments. For all we know the sea otters not only dried his legs but his arms and body, too! Bede gets it.

    • Julie Kaufman's Gravatar Julie Kaufman
      February 26, 2015 - 10:23 am | Permalink

      I agree.

      • Julie Kaufman's Gravatar Julie Kaufman
        February 26, 2015 - 10:24 am | Permalink

        I hit send too soon — I agree that a tie would be appropriate for this one.

    • Elizabeth Byrd's Gravatar Elizabeth Byrd
      February 26, 2015 - 11:20 am | Permalink

      Cruelty. That is correct!

    • Carol Riddick's Gravatar Carol Riddick
      February 26, 2015 - 11:48 am | Permalink


    • Karen H.'s Gravatar Karen H.
      February 26, 2015 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Not fair!

    • Loretta Russell Hoffmann's Gravatar Loretta Russell Hoffmann
      February 26, 2015 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

      I could not agree with Elaine more. What a shame these two had to be against one another.

  3. Susan Mattingly's Gravatar Susan Mattingly
    February 26, 2015 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Would we know anything much about Cuthbert if not for Bede ? Neither seem very dynamos in the present age. I don’t anticipate either one making it passed this round.

    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      February 26, 2015 - 8:17 am | Permalink

      Sometimes Godliness trumps pizzazz…Sometimes! I find them both to be so simple, sincere and loving and wise, I would vote for either/both of them over some of the more flashy ones.

      • February 26, 2015 - 11:19 am | Permalink

        Totally with you. And I have no idea how I am to decide. Cuthbert makes for more interesting stained glass, but other than that… good grief.

    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      February 26, 2015 - 8:39 am | Permalink

      Um…no…in Lent Madness speak, “elate” is perfectly correct!

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      February 26, 2015 - 10:02 am | Permalink

      I’ll quote from a commenter named Sandi below:

      ‘Bede tells us that during the years Cuthbert was a monk at the monastery in Melrose he would disappear for weeks and even a month at a time. He would be out visiting and preaching in far distant inaccessible places, where “others feared to visit and whose barbarity and squalor daunted other teachers. Cuthbert, however, gladly undertook this pious task…”. ‘

      Sounds pretty dynamic to me!

      • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
        February 26, 2015 - 10:05 am | Permalink

        (And that’s not even to mention his visiting and treating of victims of yellow plague….)

  4. Molly's Gravatar Molly
    February 26, 2015 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    This was a hard one.

  5. Barbara from St. Barnabas's Gravatar Barbara from St. Barnabas
    February 26, 2015 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    I vote for Cuthbert. He spent his life in “profound kindness”m he ministered to the sick, spread the love of God. He felt at peace in nature and cared for the animals. He’s my kind of guy!

    • babzee's Gravatar babzee
      February 26, 2015 - 9:23 am | Permalink

      i second that. The protector of animals swayed me!

  6. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    February 26, 2015 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Seals to sea otters!

    • February 26, 2015 - 10:24 am | Permalink

      Probably not SEA otters, probably British river otters (who also go out in the sea.) But otters DO ‘dry’ their friends: Gavin Maxwell’s Mij always dried–or tried to dry–Gavin when Mij came in from the sea. The description in Ring of Bright Water is delightful. This bit of lore is fully believable–Cuthbert just had to have the raising of a couple otters, which could not have been difficult if he observed and cared for God’s creatures around him so. Hard one today; I shall not hurry my vote.

      • pHil's Gravatar pHil
        February 26, 2015 - 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Just how DO they dry them, though? Leg-licking otters sound a little kinky to me. What would Bede thought of that?

        • February 26, 2015 - 10:06 pm | Permalink

          You must read the book, it is very funny. Maxwell says at the beginning the otter is all wet and the human is dry, and when he is done the otter is nice and dry and the human is soaking wet. If Cuthbert started out wet, I guess he would end up wetter, but less cold. Remember otters’ fur is not waterproof.

  7. Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
    February 26, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    As a historian and Anglophile, I am miffed about this pairing. However, as a historian (my husband once gave me the Ecclesiastical History for a Christmas present and I have actually read it), I have to go with Bede. I really love Cuthbert, too.

  8. Lyn Sims's Gravatar Lyn Sims
    February 26, 2015 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    The description of Cuthbert was quite moving. He was truly a man of God.
    BTW, in the email there was another misspelling. “elate(eight)” should be “elite”. Just keepin’ ya’ll informed…

    from North Carolina where the snow storm we had last night covered the branches of all the trees making a beautiful display of God’s wonder.

    • Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
      February 26, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

      The “elate” is deliberate, Lyn. This is the way to differentiate from March Madness, like the Faithful Four” instead of the “Final Four.” That SEC is tricky!!!!! XOXO

  9. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    February 26, 2015 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Cuthbert. Not to downplay Bede’s amazing contributions, but I have to admire an obvious introvert who succeeded in good leadership, administrative skills and kindness for all. He is an inspiration for all us “quiet people.”

    • Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
      February 26, 2015 - 8:33 am | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly. I opened the page all ready to vote for Bede, and voted for Cuthbert for that very reason.

      • MegN's Gravatar MegN
        February 26, 2015 - 9:38 am | Permalink

        To reconcile the Celtic church with the Church of Rome took some doing! As Scott Elliott said, I opened the page all ready to vote for Bede, and voted for Cuthbert as an obvious introvert who succeeded in good leadership, administrative skills, and kindness – an inspiration for all us “quiet people”…

      • Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
        February 26, 2015 - 10:09 am | Permalink

        I agree! This is a toughie. But Cuthbert got me at, “He was affable and pleasant in his character.” “Cuthbert’s life, marked by miracles and adventure, was also a life of profound kindness.” Such a gentle soul.

    • Vonelle Kostelny-Vogts's Gravatar Vonelle Kostelny-Vogts
      February 26, 2015 - 11:53 am | Permalink


  10. February 26, 2015 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Two of my favorites! But I do love that story of the otters and Cuthbert.

    • babzee's Gravatar babzee
      February 26, 2015 - 9:24 am | Permalink

      As opposed to man eating seals!!!

  11. Becky Robins's Gravatar Becky Robins
    February 26, 2015 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    My vote goes to Cuthbertus. His faithful followers carried his body around for years until they came to the place they were looking for:Durham. They built his shrine/church there and later it rose to be the beautiful Durham Cathedral. A fitting place for a beloved man of God.

    • Bill Petersen's Gravatar Bill Petersen
      February 26, 2015 - 9:10 am | Permalink

      The Venerable Bede is buried in Durham Cathedral, too: he’s in the Gallilee while Cuthbert is in the apse behind the high altar.

  12. relling's Gravatar relling
    February 26, 2015 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    They are both blessings, examples of holiness and constant. One of the advantages of Lent resides in the ability to pause and consider our spirtual life and refuse to be swept away by the sound and light show that consumes life in the 21st century and so many of the attention spans of those who live now.

  13. Shelley Crook's Gravatar Shelley Crook
    February 26, 2015 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    The visuals in this article aren’t helping Bede’s case here – I’m sure it will skew the results! Cuthbert looks refined, mild and extremely holy…while Bede looks like a poison gnome. Just sayin’.

    • Carol Gadsden's Gravatar Carol Gadsden
      February 26, 2015 - 11:54 am | Permalink

      Preach it, sister! Poison gnome, indeed. This is why I am glad I used the Saintly Scorecard to make my determinations: no pictures.

      • Megan's Gravatar Megan
        February 26, 2015 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Hahaha! My thoughts exactly! Although the fez alone may have been enough reason to vote for Bede. Fezzes are cool, right Whovians?

        • Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
          February 26, 2015 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

          Fezzes are way cool, yes! LOL, I didn’t expect a Who comment in Lent Madness, so you’ve totally made my day – Thanks! 🙂

          • Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
            February 26, 2015 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

            And I actually had given my vote to Bede this morning, so maybe it was the subliminal connection 🙂 though I also appreciated how it was his work that brought info about Hilda, in addition to Cuthbert, to the world.

    • Jen's Gravatar Jen
      February 26, 2015 - 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Some say poison gnome, some say easily ridiculed underdog. I vote for the underdog!

  14. James's Gravatar James
    February 26, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I disagree that they have nothing to contribute to this age. Their collective skills speak volumes to me. Bede’s self-effacing and concentration on God’s work in others dovetails nicely with Cuthbert’s kindness and skill at human relations, and, especially his connection to nature. This vote leaves me in a quandary. While inclined toward Bede, I come away with the conclusion that Bede himself, with his humility, would feel most gratified by the election of Cuthbert as it gives meaning to Bede’s own writings.

    • Lynne Taleff's Gravatar Lynne Taleff
      February 26, 2015 - 9:01 am | Permalink

      Thank you James. You gave me the rationale needed to cast a vote. Very well said. I have a
      natural bias toward the teacher/writer, but Cuthbert’s life as a mediator speaks volumes for
      life in 2015. This was a cruel choice.

  15. Susan from St Paul's's Gravatar Susan from St Paul's
    February 26, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Tough choice.. The educator or the shepard. Have to go with Bede. My curate named his cat after him!

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      February 26, 2015 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

      But wouldn’t you rather have a cat named Cuthbert? Wow. Cuthbert of Lindesfarne. Come to think of it, I’m going out right now to the Humane Society to adopt a cat just so I can name it Cuthbert!

  16. Katharine Wiley's Gravatar Katharine Wiley
    February 26, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    These are two wonderful, wonderful people. They’ll be over-looked in the tumult of more exotic choices, but this is a real toughie for me. They both exemplified profound lives of humble serving, the quiet work that does so much for the benefit of so many and is pretty much always undervalued. One of the best experiences of my life was visiting Durham Cathedral, where remains of each reside. I don’t know how I’ll ever choose between them!

    • February 26, 2015 - 8:51 am | Permalink

      I agree, Katharine! These are two of some of my favorite saints in terms of how much they did for the early northern Church, and also for how dedicated they were as people. I hate having to choose!

      I think I’m going to go with Bede, though, if only because I translated a bunch of his work in college for various Latin courses and, every time one professor would assign a piece, he would announce we would be working with the “Venerable Beeeeeeeeeeede!” It makes me chuckle still, and also remember working with his really interesting writings. (Maybe some other year, Cuthbert!)

  17. Thomas van Brunt's Gravatar Thomas van Brunt
    February 26, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the most unhappy pairing. But. Cuthbert all the way. I visited his tiny isle off Lindisfarn where he had a hermitage and his cave inland where he hid from marauding Vikings.

  18. Cynthia's Gravatar Cynthia
    February 26, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Bede, we know of Cuthbert. I vote for the saintly scholar who reported to posterity so that we might be inspired to follow.

    • Scott, a shepherd's Gravatar Scott, a shepherd
      February 26, 2015 - 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I voted for the Scotish shepherd, sorry dear.

  19. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    February 26, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    It was a tough choice. Ministering otters (after ravenous seals) were certainly tempting, but I could have sworn my Scots DNA perked up at the sweet sound of bagpipes as I read about Cuthbert. And Lindisfarne Gospels–well, that’s probably the only thing that trumps an otter.

    • Linda's Gravatar Linda
      February 26, 2015 - 8:29 am | Permalink

      I hope the Moderator will see fit to scratch that comment–too many bagpipes skirling in my snowbound brain….

  20. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    February 26, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Brendan had his dolphins, Thecla had her seals, Cuthbert’s got sea otters, Tim’s got ferrets, Lydia had her snails — they all need to be in the Lentorium next year! Along with enough Saintly Scorecards for beyond the first week of voting.
    I had a kitten who dried my ankles after my shower so it’s CUTHBERT all the way!!

    • February 26, 2015 - 11:22 am | Permalink

      This year, recipes; next year, animals! Suggest they not be live, though a saintly animal cam would certainly be fun.

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      February 26, 2015 - 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for reminding. I was trying to figure out what was going on in Cuthbert’s head to stand out there in the sea. He was looking for the return of Brendan!

  21. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 26, 2015 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    I went with Cuthbert because we need his kindness and reconciliation in today’s world.

  22. Jen's Gravatar Jen
    February 26, 2015 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    I agree with Barbara. He sounds a gentle soul. What sealed it for me, though, was that he was able to reconcile groups of people who disagreed vehemently with each other. We need someone like Cuthbert now! He gets my vote.

    • Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
      February 26, 2015 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Cuthbert’s ability to reconcile got my vote although I had a difficult time choosing between two worthy souls.

  23. Lollybee's Gravatar Lollybee
    February 26, 2015 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Actually, I like this pairing- I think it is more fair to pair up relative contemporaries rather than an obscure ancient Saint with little to recommend them with some of the more recent Saints who have achieved much.

  24. Marcia's Gravatar Marcia
    February 26, 2015 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    This was a difficult choice. Reconciling people who disagree sharply as Cuthbert did, probably tipped the scale for me.

  25. Martha's Gravatar Martha
    February 26, 2015 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Toughest match-up yet for me. I love Celtic Christianity and, thus, am drawn to Cuthbert. But I am an historian by training and inclination. I gave the nod to Bede, but wish I could vote for both.

    As someone noted above, they now rest side by side in Durham Cathedral. That is reason enough to visit there. If they could participate in Lenten madness—who knows, the bracket may be a nice diversion to the saints in glory—each would, I am certain, vote for the other. No loser here, just two remarkable saints.

  26. Jeanie Martinez's Gravatar Jeanie Martinez
    February 26, 2015 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Cuthbert lost me at Whitby. That debacle entrenched the subjugation of women that continues today. It was a supreme example of spineless selling out. The decisions at Whitby threw the doors wide open empowering a few bad tyrants to speak unilaterally for God, to enforce the doctrine of “might is right”, and to strip women of their dignity and any semblance of basic human rights. Thanks SO MUCH, Cuthbert (et al)!

    • Martha Frances's Gravatar Martha Frances
      February 26, 2015 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I agree about Whitby. In addition to what that decision did for women, all of us are the less because the Romans & Augustine of Hippo were so bound & determined that we have committed “manifold sins & wickedness” & are thus deserved of God’s “wrath & indignation” rather than focusing on being made in God’s image & likeness (see Genesis 1). Celtic Christianity lives on the edges of our “common” spiritual lives, thank God, & the fact that the Romans left the Celts alone for a couple of hundred years.

      • February 26, 2015 - 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Please explain the phenomenally significant and Godly life of St. Hilda of Whitby

    • Chief Jim Donovan's Gravatar Chief Jim Donovan
      February 26, 2015 - 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Jeanie. Hilda was a mitered abbess who got railroaded into caving in to Rome. The Celtic church favored full equality for both women and men, including ordination and consecration. The Council of Whitby spelled out doom for any equality in the Church Catholic for centuries.

      • Jonathan's Gravatar Jonathan
        February 26, 2015 - 11:46 pm | Permalink

        “The Celtic church favored full equality for both women and men, including ordination and consecration.”

        I’d love to know which sources tell us this. Do you have them?

  27. Joyce Spangler's Gravatar Joyce Spangler
    February 26, 2015 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Lyn, look at your bracket. It is the Elate Eight. It’s a joke—it comes from the Latin meaning elevated—the ones who make the Elate Eight are elevated to a higher level. I’m sure they are also filled with joy and pride, or elated…Of course, they are also elite.

  28. February 26, 2015 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Sea Otters for the win!

  29. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    February 26, 2015 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    The SEC is sadistic! Why must we wrestle with this decision? Much wailing and gnashing of teeth here in Atlanta!
    *sigh* I love them both… But in the end I’ll cast my vote for dear, dear Bede. My historian’s heart is so very grateful for his incomparable work.

    • Grace's Gravatar Grace
      February 26, 2015 - 9:45 am | Permalink

      Susan, I’m glad to see you used the word “sadistic” here!! My sentiment exactly! This is cruel! I may have to toss a coin!

  30. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    February 26, 2015 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Go Bede!!

  31. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    February 26, 2015 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    A hard choice but in the end I went with Cuthbert…out in the world doing and reconciling.

  32. Dotty's Gravatar Dotty
    February 26, 2015 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Cuthbert must be the one!
    Profound kindness…affable personality sprinkled with solitude and love of nature…mixed with sea otter towels and being the first member of the “Polar Plungers” ,… An interesting spirituality!!!

  33. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    February 26, 2015 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Cuthbert in a landslide for me, primarily because my parish for 33 years was devoted to Aidan of Lindisfarne, with whom and which Cuthbert was closely associated.

    • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
      February 26, 2015 - 8:51 am | Permalink

      Should have said, “Cuthbert hands down.” Idiom slippage.

      By the way, I can’t find a link to the bracket. Can anyone help me there? You know, that decision tree that shows who won over whom at each level.

  34. Carol Newsom's Gravatar Carol Newsom
    February 26, 2015 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    We owe those early medieval historians a lot! I have to go with Bede, although Cuthbert is one of my sentimental favorites. This was a cruel choice….and I can see the SEC plans to have us make more cruel choices in the later stages…wicked, wicked persons!

  35. jack zamboni's Gravatar jack zamboni
    February 26, 2015 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    This was the first hard decision for me. If you are an introvert with a monastic bent who loves to sing the services of the church, has some interest in scholarship (reading, not doing) and a love of solitude (I’ve loved singing Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs), how do you choose? Went with Bede at the end, but could have gone either way.

    Not having read all the comments on other days, I’m wondering if others have noted that four of the first week’s winners have been indigenous people of the Americas (if you include Hawaii, that is). That has to be a Lent Madness first.

    • Grace's Gravatar Grace
      February 26, 2015 - 9:49 am | Permalink

      I noticed that, Jack, and also that Oakerhater will face Kamehameha in the next round!

  36. Mike Fleming's Gravatar Mike Fleming
    February 26, 2015 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    GO BEDE! GO BEDE! GO BEDE! They’re both great, but the Episcopal chapel at the University of Miami is the Venerable Bede. GO BEDE!

  37. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    February 26, 2015 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    This was a hard choice, between the modest but so important Bede and the kind yet passionate Cuthbert. I expect they’re watching all this over cups of tea, chuckling and congratulating each other as each comment is posted. With his intense soul-searching and vigorous, healing ministry, Cuthbert won my vote by a sea otter’s whisker.

  38. February 26, 2015 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Must share two prayer cards from Durham Cathedral:
    A Prayer of the Venerable Bede
    I implore you, good Jesus, that as in your mercy you have given me to drink in with delight the words of your knowledge, so of your loving kindness you will also grant me one day to come to you, the fountain of all wisdom, and to stand for ever before your face.

    And the prayer used in Durham Cathedral on St Cuthbert’s Day, 20 March
    Almighty God who didst call thy servant Cuthbert from keeping sheep to follow thy Son and to be a shepherd of thy people, mercifully grant that we, following his example and caring for those who are lost, may bring them home to thy fold, through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    It is a hard choice.

    • February 26, 2015 - 11:00 am | Permalink

      Thank you for posting these.

    • Mariana Bauman's Gravatar Mariana Bauman
      February 26, 2015 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for posting these. Its a very difficult choice. Bad SEC!

  39. February 26, 2015 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    St. Cuthbert, for the years I lived and worked at St. Cuthbert’s House at Melrose, in Brewster, NY.

  40. Katie's Gravatar Katie
    February 26, 2015 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    This did seem a bit unfair, Bede was a wonderful advocate for Cuthbert, he would be happy even though I didn’t vote for him.

  41. kristy's Gravatar kristy
    February 26, 2015 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    I felt that since Bede thought so highly of Cuthbert, I should too, and voted accordingly. But I agree that it is one of the dullest matchups ever.

  42. Catherine Broatman's Gravatar Catherine Broatman
    February 26, 2015 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    All hail the SEC for bringing their two powerful stories into Lent Madness…. albeit on the same day. Cuthbert and Bede are two of the saints dearest to me, so I face a prayerful dilemma today. These North Eastern British saints are well know in their secular society, even today, by people of all ages. As a British friend evocatively puts it, “There, the saints are in the soil”. As a Friend of Durham Cathedral, where they are both honored, I find it’s very difficult to choose.

  43. Bill's Gravatar Bill
    February 26, 2015 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Given that 40+ years ago I met my wife at the Chapel of St. Bede (in Autry House, supporting Rice University), how could I vote for anyone else???

  44. joan's Gravatar joan
    February 26, 2015 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Although they both represent the spirit of a Deacon in their actions and seemed to have shown true humility, I liked that Bede put other’s before himself, in thought, word and deed. Although Cuthbert was most gracious in writing about Bede, I still felt a draw to Bede’s work with the sick.

  45. Betty M's Gravatar Betty M
    February 26, 2015 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Had to go with Cuthbert. After his death, the monks kept digging him up and carrying him off to wherever they went to escape raiders. I hope he finds a final resting place in the Lent Madness finals and rests as peacefully as he is at Durham.

  46. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    February 26, 2015 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Though Cuthbert is truly worthy, I have to vote for Bede. He is teacher who also adored scholarship and writing. My teacher/professor/Episcopalian heart is, in part, because of Bede. I also choose Bede in honor of one of the contemporary Episcopal Church’s living monks, the Reverend Bede Thomas Mudge, who is a living example of servitude and love, wisdom, and great good humor, especially for young people. If any of you were part of Diocese of Kansas youth ministries in the 1980s, we are who we are in no small measure because of Bede. So while Cuthbert is good, my heart and my vote belong to Bede.

  47. Annie's Gravatar Annie
    February 26, 2015 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Why is the Supreme Executive Committee making this so hard? I wanted to vote for Cuthbert but then thought if it wasn’t for the Venerable Beds we might not know about the former. Ouch!

  48. Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
    February 26, 2015 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Bede it is- he is remembered on my day of birth, and I have always felt a strange affection for him!!

  49. Bill Sier's Gravatar Bill Sier
    February 26, 2015 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid to vote for anyone except Bede!

  50. Annie's Gravatar Annie
    February 26, 2015 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Whoops typo in the previous post. Should be Venerable Bede!

  51. John Colón's Gravatar John Colón
    February 26, 2015 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    A toughie. In younger days when I first served on the Vestry of St. Bartholomew’s in White Plains, NY, we would do our annual retreat at the Community of the Holy Spirit’s St. Cuthbert’s House in Brewster, NY. On the Friday night of my first retreat there, after compline, I went to the library and found a book on the life of St. Cuthbert, parts of which I read so I knew more about the saint after whom the retreat and conference center was named. I have since had an abiding affection for Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, his life and his ministry. It feels like I have been visited by an old friend this morning!

  52. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    February 26, 2015 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Modesty and Kindness are unparalleled virtues in Leadership. Cuthbert deserves the crown, ummm halo…maybe…….probably.

  53. Ralegh's Gravatar Ralegh
    February 26, 2015 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    I haven’t checked the voting yet, but from the sentiments expressed above, I have a feeling Cuthbert is taking it. I am torn as well, both seem humble and kind and loving. I love Cuthbert’s story (and his name), particularly those helpful sea otters. But in the end I pick Bede as emblematic of the quiet many who do their best to serve God behind the scenes while the Cuthberts of the world gain the glory (albeit deservedly).

  54. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 26, 2015 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Bede’s life of Cuthbert also led me to vote for the latter. Cuthbert’s attunement to nature awed his contemporaries, as the miracles attributed to him attest. And the Synod of Whitby has lessons for Anglicans today. We could all benefit from the saintly introverts among us!

  55. Solange De Santis's Gravatar Solange De Santis
    February 26, 2015 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Just because of his nickname – the Venerable Bede.

  56. Phil Matthews's Gravatar Phil Matthews
    February 26, 2015 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Two iconic Anglicans. But Cuthbert is my guy. The epitome of the Celtic Chrustian Church. The Pope attempts to bring Chrustianity to Engkand and the Cekts had a full Chrustian Church in place. Cuthbert should be seen as one of the great leaders in religious history from his work at the Synod at Whitby. Rather than resisting another Church he embraced it since he believed God and Christianity should be universal so joined the Roman Catholics in the belief of the universal Christian Church. So different than the reformation and the splintering of the churches post reformation. An iconic Chrustian leader. Beds on the other hand is the iconic scholar that passed down all the wonderful stories of Christianity in the British Iskes.

    • February 26, 2015 - 8:10 pm | Permalink

      As an Anglican, I admire these two saints tremendously, but it hard to say they were Anglicans, since that church was established by Henry VIII and built by Elisabeth I, a millennium later. St. Patrick was also not really a Catholic, as the Celtic saints had informal organizations that predated both those churches.

  57. Lesley Hildrey's Gravatar Lesley Hildrey
    February 26, 2015 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    I’m expecting Cuthbert to win because Bede doesn’t sound nearly as impressive in your descriptions. Having looked up Bede more, however, he’s pretty impressive.
    Since we know about Cuthbert can be attributed to Bede’s writing, and Bede intended him to be a good example, perhaps Bede should get the credit?
    Consequently I voted for the “under dog” today!

  58. February 26, 2015 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    He’s behind in the voting already, but this is why it’s Bede for me:

    “Over the course of his life, he joyed in ‘wholly applying myself to the study of scripture, and amidst the observance of regular discipline, and the daily care of singing in the church, I always took delight in learning, teaching, and writing.'”

    Plus, as we are about to install an archdeacon in the Diocese of Fond du Lac, I’ll give a shout out to another who was “Venerable.”

    • JAMG's Gravatar JAMG
      February 26, 2015 - 11:15 am | Permalink

      I totally agree anyone who loves learning has my vote!

  59. February 26, 2015 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    An absolute no brainer for me. Though I appreciate Bede’s historical purview of English spirituality, I am an ardent fan [dare I say “groupie”?] of Cuthbert. I’ve had the privilege of rather frequent visits to Lindisfarne and have traversed Cuthbert’s Way from Melrose to Holy Island and stayed in retreat with the Northumbria Community at Nether Springs. Cuthbert just speaks to me in a very deep way. I do hope that he moves ahead, so my little vote goes for him!

  60. Glenn H-S's Gravatar Glenn H-S
    February 26, 2015 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Bede had my vote at “among Christianity’s greatest scholars”. Then I learned more about Cuthbert and realized it is indeed a tough choice. But I still have to go with Bede. There is so much we know only because of the work of biographers, historians, and other scholars. (And, of course, those who preserve those works. Have there been any librarians, archivists, scribes, copyists, or similar preservers of knowledge in contention for the Golden Halo?)

    • Sally Barnett's Gravatar Sally Barnett
      February 26, 2015 - 10:43 am | Permalink

      I’m with you. Without scribes,librarians, and other preservers of history we would not know any of this

  61. Dorothy Wilson's Gravatar Dorothy Wilson
    February 26, 2015 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I found this a hard choice. I voted for Cuthbert , healer of relationship’s .

  62. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    February 26, 2015 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    So difficult! I decided to vote for Cuthbert, on account of repairing a schism in the church.

  63. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    February 26, 2015 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Tough one. Ended up with Cuthbert; at a time when the church is still being torn asunder (Diocese of South Carolina?) we could use someone who demonstrates “gifts for not only healing individuals but also in reconciling groups of people who disagreed vehemently with each other.”

  64. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    February 26, 2015 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    This was the hardest one yet-wanted to vote for both. Cuthbert was so humble he got my vote.

  65. Marcia I's Gravatar Marcia I
    February 26, 2015 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Caedmon’s Hymn? The coming of the Anglo-Saxons? All those months studying Old English to be able to read Ecclesiaatical History? But then . . . Cuthbert. How cruel this contest is. I can’t confess my vote without shame 🙁

  66. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 26, 2015 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    St. Cuthbert for the Golden Halo. (If Bede were up against somebody else, though, I’d definitely vote for him…..)

  67. February 26, 2015 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    My Cuthbert is a biased vote. I’m being cared for post surgery by my
    peaceful, kind, reconciling Enneagram Nine husband. Nines almost never get the recognition they deserve.

  68. Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
    February 26, 2015 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Drat that rule of only one vote!

  69. shawn crawford's Gravatar shawn crawford
    February 26, 2015 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    Although I love to study and pray like Bede I must vote for St. Cuthbert. He seems to emulate Jesus in so many ways. He truly walks the path of Jesus.

  70. February 26, 2015 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    This was the hardest one so far. Bede gets my vote since we would not know about so much without him. Also, as a teacher myself, I know the call to teach is also the call to study and put others first, so Bede gets my vote on that count, too.

  71. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    February 26, 2015 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    My daughter named her dog for Bede. It was tough but I had to go with him.

  72. Claire Nevin-Field's Gravatar Claire Nevin-Field
    February 26, 2015 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    I believe this match up might cause Durham Cathedral, with Bede’s remains housed at one end and Cuthbert’s at another, to implode.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      February 26, 2015 - 11:21 pm | Permalink

      Cracking me up, Claire!

  73. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    February 26, 2015 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Since learning of him [before the Flood] in Brit Lit, I’ve always been inspired by the Venerable Bede. Without his meticulous writings, we would know much less of our Christian ancestry, including Cuthbert and his attendant drying otters. Although, it is possible that Bede didn’t include the otters in his biography.

  74. Don Ashmall's Gravatar Don Ashmall
    February 26, 2015 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    The Venerable Bede is the father of English church history – which of course means that all church historians need to cast their vote in his favor!

  75. NJ's Gravatar NJ
    February 26, 2015 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Both today are worthy of selection, so this is a difficult choice. Bede gets my vote today, though kind Cuthbert certainly followed in the modest and faithful ground that Bede trod before him. Who would ever consider Bede to be an underdog? Not me!

  76. Shirley R's Gravatar Shirley R
    February 26, 2015 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    A diabolical pairing. I will be happy for either to win, but I have to go with Bede. How else would we know so much about Cuthbert?

  77. JessicaD's Gravatar JessicaD
    February 26, 2015 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. Cuthbert is so inspiring, but that’s in large part because of Bede’s own efforts to chronicle a life worth emulating. This reader is very grateful for writers who notice and highlight kindness and humility, not just flashier attributes like courage or intelligence. So it was Bede for me, but it’s a win-win either way!

  78. Evelyn's Gravatar Evelyn
    February 26, 2015 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Most unfair match-up ever. Wish we could have voted for both/and like a good Anglican.

  79. Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
    February 26, 2015 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    JustMeJo: sea otters, cold water, healings, and miracles are not flashy enough? Grins.

  80. February 26, 2015 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    I am going to consider that Bede indicated which person we were to vote for by saying so little about his own life, and so much about Cuthbert’s. Like John the Baptizer, he seems to have pointed beyond himself to others he felt worthy of praise. So: Cuthbert has my vote.

  81. Raymond Groshong's Gravatar Raymond Groshong
    February 26, 2015 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    This was a perverse pairing. Thumbs down to the SEC for this ill-considered decision! 😉 These two North Umbrian Saints are so closely related historically and geographically that choosing one over the other may amount to nothing more than coin toss. Seriously – as previously noted, the remains of both men are even in the same place, Durham Cathedral. At the end of the day, Cuthbert ‘sold out’ the Celtic liturgy in favor of that of Rome, so Bede got my vote.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      February 26, 2015 - 9:44 am | Permalink

      Look at it this way: at least one of them will get through to the next round! 😉

  82. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    February 26, 2015 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    Wow! This is definitely the toughest round. Both seem like worthy winners, serving God in their own ways. I’ve decided to go with Cuthbert, with the deciding factor being that Bede himself “voted” for him. In choosing Cuthbert, I can also honor Bede. I think both would be pleased with this choice.

  83. Melanie Barbarito's Gravatar Melanie Barbarito
    February 26, 2015 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Tough one, as has been stated. I admire them both, but Cuthbert tipped the scales just a little.

  84. Steve Putka's Gravatar Steve Putka
    February 26, 2015 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Cuthbert gets my vote. First of all, that’s the name of my dog and his namesake. Second, I am a sucker for orphans. The clincher was the sea otter story. But inquiring minds want to know! Did they wait to get dry and use their fur? Did they lick his legs clean? Did he provide a towel which they utilized most effectively? I am hoping that we get some clarification as the season continues. Vote Cuthbert!

  85. Mary W. Cox's Gravatar Mary W. Cox
    February 26, 2015 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Going with Bede–I can identify with a calling to tell the stories of other people’s ministries.

    Hard choice–but how would
    we know Cuthbert’s story if
    Bede hadn’t told it?

  86. Adam Naff's Gravatar Adam Naff
    February 26, 2015 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. As a fan of history and especially history of the British Isles, I like and respect Bede, but in the end I had to go with the words of Mike Myers. “If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!” The Scotsman Cuthbert for me.

  87. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    February 26, 2015 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Tough choice! I voted for Bede, as someone with 5 earned degrees — three at the doctoral level — Bede as the teacher and writer resonates with me, but find people with the kindness of Cuthbert also heartening, so it was a touch choice!

  88. Stephen Waller's Gravatar Stephen Waller
    February 26, 2015 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    “The Venerable,” as churchy titles go has always seemed something out of the ordinary and worth noting. I once heard a bishop-elect on accepting his election state that we may have ruined a perfectly good archdeacon by electing him our bishop. He always seemed to embody the spirit of Bede more than that of Cuthbert. Bede the Venerable got my vote.

  89. Martha Fleming's Gravatar Martha Fleming
    February 26, 2015 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Bede’s life as a writer-historian was not glamorous, but without him, we wouldn’t know about Cuthbert at all.
    Also, the decisions at the Council of Whitby can be seen as a defeat of the Celtic aspects of our faith, which Cuthbert represented, and which were highlighted in today’s reading! I’d have to vote for Bede.

  90. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    February 26, 2015 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    I want to vote for both of these saints! What a difficult decision. Each of them so full of grace, such active Christians, so useful to their communities – in such different ways. How to choose?

  91. Dennis Coughlin's Gravatar Dennis Coughlin
    February 26, 2015 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Keeping true to the lessons of Lent Madness, I am learning about our far flung saints and this year am voting for the saints with the longest names.

  92. Sandi's Gravatar Sandi
    February 26, 2015 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Bede tells us that during the years Cuthbert was a monk at the monastery in Melrose he would disappear for weeks and even a month at a time. He would be out visiting and preaching in far distant inaccessible places, where “others feared to visit and whose barbarity and squalor daunted other teachers. Cuthbert, however, gladly undertook this pious task…”. In the museum in Durham there is preserved his traveling mass kit, two pieces of wood, covered with remaining bits of silver, attached by fragile straps, which served as his portable altar. He was a “priest’s priest”. Thank you, Bede, for these stories. Cuthbert, even though it would make you weep, you get my vote.

  93. Beth Goldsmith's Gravatar Beth Goldsmith
    February 26, 2015 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Difficulty choice today. I voted for Cuthbert but am holding Bede “souly” responsible for my decision.

  94. Grace's Gravatar Grace
    February 26, 2015 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Back and forth, back and forth…….cruel choice! Had me at Lindesfarne, but then we wouldn’t even know about Cuthbert were it not for Bede, but then trying to bring Rome and Celtic Christianity together, but then…..the otters did it! Who could reject a man beloved of otters?!

    Darned auto-correct kept changing Bede to Beer. I’ll lift a pint to him, but I’m still voting for Cuthbert!

  95. February 26, 2015 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    I was born in Northumbria and grew up near Monkwearmouth, where Bede wrote. He was a terrific writer, but did not really get the way the gospel was being presented by the Celtic saints to King Oswald and the everyday people of these Northern British lands.

    My vote is with Cuthbert, definitely called by a vision, and a humble man who struggled with a hermit calling, while submitting to the need for leadership at Lindisfarne. For those who have never been there, make sure you go before you die, it must be one of the holiest places on earth…

  96. Susan Boyer's Gravatar Susan Boyer
    February 26, 2015 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    I am baffled by those who find these two uninteresting or boring! For me it is a relief, and a balm to my soul to be reminded of the Celtic Saints and their deep peace. These two, so earthy, humble in the “humus” sense, and so centered in their relationship with God live the Incarnation. They embody Holiness and see Holiness in all other bodies. They cause me difficulty in choosing in the same way that I could not choose one grandson over another. Many others in our beloved brackets cause me angst because, woven in with their faith or adherence to Christian religion, is an alliance with the Powers that Be. Or they have been overpowered and must find a path among the ashes. Give me Bede and Cuthbert any day – they are Christ-like examples of negotiating warring factions with unitive consciousness. Now how in the world am I going to vote???

    • Geoff McLarney's Gravatar Geoff McLarney
      February 26, 2015 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

      I wish I could say I share your bafflement, but the latent anti-intellectual arc through many of the comment threads has already been disconcerting me.

  97. Cynthia Hallas's Gravatar Cynthia Hallas
    February 26, 2015 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    On behalf of St. Bede’s Library, housed at my parish, I cast my vote for the Venerable.

  98. Terry Proctor's Gravatar Terry Proctor
    February 26, 2015 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    I must go with Bede!

  99. Marilyn McGaw's Gravatar Marilyn McGaw
    February 26, 2015 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    tough choice!

  100. Cush's Gravatar Cush
    February 26, 2015 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    I fear today is the day my bracket gets busted, but Bede gets my vote.

  101. AlecClement's Gravatar AlecClement
    February 26, 2015 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    The Bede’s devotion to Jesus, his scholarship and his love of music influenced me..thought he would be a great addition to my Wed morning bible class and our choir as well…maybe no miracles but what a contribution he made. I

  102. Paul Bonnar's Gravatar Paul Bonnar
    February 26, 2015 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    A Scot versus a presumed Englishman. Not a difficult choice.

  103. February 26, 2015 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    Bede made a lasting contribution to our Anglican awareness of our heritage, and is even key in any secular study of English-language historiography. Cuthbert was kind, and liked animals, and is worthy of admiration. But a lot of people, saints included, do. There is no comparison to what Bede has provided to our understanding of the historical evolution of our faith.

  104. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    February 26, 2015 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    If Bede’s claim to fame is writing about Cuthbert, and Cuthbert’s claim to fame is BEING Cuthbert, then Cuthbert wins in my book.

  105. Anthony's Gravatar Anthony
    February 26, 2015 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    i feel like there has been a problem with intellectuals throughout this year. it makes me kind of sad.

  106. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 26, 2015 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    I’m a lifelong lover of history, and a singer, and feel blessed by Celtic spirituality…I’m settling on the Venerable Bede. After Easter, I’ll have to start some serious study in the Drew U. library.

  107. john miller's Gravatar john miller
    February 26, 2015 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    This is a tough choice. As a person who admires scholarship, I have to go with Bede.

  108. Marjorie Jodoin's Gravatar Marjorie Jodoin
    February 26, 2015 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    Terrible choice. I was all poised to vote for the Venerable Bede who was one of my favorite authors as I studied history, but I so appreciate Cuthbert’s relationship to nature and the animals, as well as his kind approach to all matters, I voted for him. And I think Bede would approve.

  109. Jo's Gravatar Jo
    February 26, 2015 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    What a difficult decision! WOW -both deserving, deciding factor for me was level of regard, respect & love Bede had for Cuthbert for many years to come during his time.

  110. Denise's Gravatar Denise
    February 26, 2015 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    I had to go with Cuthbert. Even Bede liked him enough to write about him. And who can’t love a guy who gets up and close and friendly with otters!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      February 26, 2015 - 5:28 pm | Permalink

      We now have a school mouse to add to the dry otters, the ravenous seals, the little purple snails, the lovely ferret — but please no recipes for any of these.

  111. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    February 26, 2015 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    Another tough one, and I predict that the results will be close. All credit to Cuthbert for his devotion to God and others, particularly the sick, and his skills in negotiation. As colorful as they are, the stories about “ravenous seals” and sea otters drying legs elicit the “Oy vey!” response from me. That said, my main reason for choosing Bede is that I’m an inveterate school mouse. May the spirit of Bede wander about and bless the stacks in libraries everywhere.

    • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
      February 26, 2015 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Elaine, you and I are twins by different mothers!

  112. Matthew's Gravatar Matthew
    February 26, 2015 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Cuthbert. Nothing got in his way.

  113. Nancy of Day's Gravatar Nancy of Day
    February 26, 2015 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Dang . . . Bede vs Cuthbert. Just about my two favorite saints. We wouldn’t know about Cuthbert if it hadn’t been for Bede. And after all, Bede does have his own theme park ( So I voted for Bede.

  114. February 26, 2015 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    RE: Cuthbert:

    “His communing with the natural world was such that it was said that sea otters dried his legs when he finished prayers.”

    Ravenous seals would never have stood a chance!

    (Seriously, can there be a loser with this bracket? Thank you, SEC!)

  115. Michael's Gravatar Michael
    February 26, 2015 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    I went for Cuthbert because of his attempts to reconcile the Celtic and Roman churches.

  116. February 26, 2015 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Bede simply because without him we wouldn’t know about Cuthbert.

  117. Marnie Bash's Gravatar Marnie Bash
    February 26, 2015 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Hey! Bede should be the patron saint of Lent Madness! He’s the first “Celebrity Blogger” collecting all that information about previous saints and writing it up for our edification. Go Bede!

  118. Gloria Rousseau's Gravatar Gloria Rousseau
    February 26, 2015 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    From the descriptions both men were gentle, kind, and humble men who devoted their lives to Christianity and the church. In trying to make a choice it came down to a simplistic formula; a man who made history vs a man who recorded history. My next cat shall be named Cuthbert!

  119. Marney's Gravatar Marney
    February 26, 2015 - 10:56 am | Permalink

    Both have been foundational in my faith. Awfully hard to choose, although I think I’d like to see the otters against the ravenous seals.

  120. Julia Annas's Gravatar Julia Annas
    February 26, 2015 - 10:56 am | Permalink

    At Durham Cathedral you can see the line at the entrance to the nave where women were forbidden to go further, so that they were never allowed to get within a hundred yards of Cuthbert’s shrine. Later the cathedral relented on this and rebranded Cuthbert to make him more attractive to women pilgrims. Cuthbert was an extreme ascetic whose warmer qualities probably come from this later softening. I go with Bede.

  121. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    February 26, 2015 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    This was a tough choice. But yesterday’s was certainly an easy one. So it keeps the match-ups interesting. Today is like a baseball game that goes into multiple extra innings – both sides are just so good.

  122. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    February 26, 2015 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    It was an incredibly hard choice! I totally agree that matching these guys up so early was cruel. They are both admirable men.
    Even though I knew someone named Cuthbert, I went with Bede partly because I love books and worked in libraries for years, and mostly because at 7:45 PST he was behind.

  123. Greg's Gravatar Greg
    February 26, 2015 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    I determine the tough decisions by asking which would be more interesting in the kitsch round? Cuthbert gets my vote today.

  124. tony.lubong's Gravatar tony.lubong
    February 26, 2015 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    Although my initial inclination was to vote for Cuthbert, I’ve since been persuaded to think that to know Cuthbert is to know Bede. I now cast my vote for Bede.

  125. Lisa R.'s Gravatar Lisa R.
    February 26, 2015 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Ordinarily, I would instinctively side with the person out in the world, sharing the love of God. I’m not inclined toward monastic living. But I agree with the others who have noted that we wouldn’t even have known about Cuthbert were it not for Bede. And I can relate to taking “delight in learning, teaching, and writing.” Thanks be to God for Bede!! (It was a tough call; my husband will be voting for Cuthbert!)

  126. Roger Foote's Gravatar Roger Foote
    February 26, 2015 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    A tough choice, but I prefer those that do over those that write about those that do.

  127. February 26, 2015 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    While I found both saints saintly, I voted for Cuthbert for 2 reasons:
    1. For his fantastic name;
    2. The icon of him reminds me of one of my mentors and teachers, the Rev. John Hall, who is a saint (sometimes) to me.

  128. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    February 26, 2015 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    Today’s was a tough choice!!

  129. Margaret Irwin's Gravatar Margaret Irwin
    February 26, 2015 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Amen, Jeanie Martinez! We need more Celtic and less Roman in Anglicanism. Sometimes compromise is not such a positive thing.

  130. Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
    February 26, 2015 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    I can’t possibly decide which of these is the “better” saint. They are both inspiring role models for us to each use our unique gifts to serve God and our neighbor, and they both made great contributions to the faith at a time when most people were struggling to just survive. However, I think Cuthbert may stand a better chance against Brant in the next round, so here goes . . . Sorry, Bede!

  131. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    February 26, 2015 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Without Bede the Venerable we would most likely know very little if anything of Cuthbert or of Cædmon, the **first** Anglo-Saxon poet to write in the vernacular. (Hey SEC how about Saint Cædmon appearing in next year’s bracket?)

  132. February 26, 2015 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Bede’s love of scholarly things and the fact that Cuthbert wouldn’t even be in this without him makes this vote easy. The Venerable Bede (I also love anyone with a fun title) it is!

  133. Jane Trambley's Gravatar Jane Trambley
    February 26, 2015 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    You guys at the SEC are killing me with this one. I will have to pray and cast lots.

  134. February 26, 2015 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    As an extrovert I really admire the effort it takes when introverts lead and take decisive action. A hermit leaving his hermitage to aid victims of plague? A quiet, kind person who could heal an ecclesiastical breach? Someone who can make others believe they are brilliant? Com’on folks, this is a no brainer! Go Cuthbert for the next round!

  135. Heather C's Gravatar Heather C
    February 26, 2015 - 11:23 am | Permalink

    This season we celebrate individuals who we primarily know through story – while I admire Cuthbert, and thank him for the Lindisfarne Gospels, it is Bede who gave us his story, and the story of our beginnings. He isn’t flashy, and he isn’t modern, so he likely won’t adorn my mug this year. But I wish he could. This archivist votes for the chronicler!

  136. Charlie's Gravatar Charlie
    February 26, 2015 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    So what we are learning here is that sea otters make one saintly ? Bede oh Bede you are truly a victim of LENT MADNESS !!!!

  137. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    February 26, 2015 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    I am just doing the happy dance that I have found a community that is passionately arguing over Bede and Cuthbert!

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      February 26, 2015 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Ha. I agree, it’s great, though!

    • Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
      February 26, 2015 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Continue to LOVE Lent Madness.

  138. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    February 26, 2015 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    In liht of his “gifts for not only healing individuals, but also in reconciling groups of people who disagreed vehemently with each other”, I have cast my vote for Cuthbert.

  139. Georgette's Gravatar Georgette
    February 26, 2015 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    Cuthbert has my prayers, but Bede gets my vote today … if not for his devotion and passion … we would not have the history and stories to read and study and we would be having this conversation at all.

  140. Jodi French's Gravatar Jodi French
    February 26, 2015 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    This was difficult! But going to the sick and the dying in “barbarity and squalor that daunted other teachers” got me — what even qualified as squalor in the 600’s? The mind boggles. That and reconciliation of deep divisions moved our history-loving household toward Cuthbert… but, as many have said, a painful choice.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      February 26, 2015 - 11:25 pm | Permalink

      Squalor indeed! You pose an excellent question, Jodi!

  141. Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
    February 26, 2015 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    Reading the comments, it seems that I’m not the only one who almost resorted to a coin toss for this one! Cuthbert is a very appealing choice, but we know about him thanks to the writings of Bede. As one who loves history, Bede gets my vote today. Should he lose (and it looks as if he will), I’d have no problem voting for Cuthbert over Molly Brant.

  142. Nancy Ann's Gravatar Nancy Ann
    February 26, 2015 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    Why not Bede? C’mon people vote for Bede…..

  143. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    February 26, 2015 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    I thought what happened at Whitby led to the Roman branch of Christianity (masculine God, emphasis on sin, penance, punishment) rising and the Celtic branch (inclusion of the feminine nature of God, emphasis on the Gospel of John and love and the Spirit). Did we really “win” at Whitby? I agree this is a tough call, but if Cuthbert gets my vote it will not be because of Whitby.

    • February 26, 2015 - 11:56 am | Permalink

      The only real differences between the two churches at the time were the dating of Easter and the shape of tonsures. Both things were aidephoria well worth sacrificing for the sake of full communion with the rest of the Church (both Rome and Constantinople).

      • Jeanie Martinez's Gravatar Jeanie Martinez
        February 26, 2015 - 8:28 pm | Permalink

        I agree that the dating of Easter and the shape of tonsure are good points for concession. Unfortunately, the victor has been writing the history here for too long. Many Celtic communities were conhospitales –where male and female religious, married couples lived in community and raised families in Christian community. After Whitby, these had to be disbanded and spouses were separated, sent to live in sexually segregated communities. Abbess Hilda was the head of one of these communities. A woman with authority over both men and women. Considered heretical in the Roman church. Also, before Whitby, ecclesiastical law did not supercede civil law except within the cofines of a given community. Whereas the Roman church claimed supreme authority–over secular and ecclesial matters. Rome embraced the Penitentials, and sought to impose them universally, not allowing individual commuities to choose–as was the case with the celtic church. These issues are most assuredly not adiaphora. Naming what happened at Whitby “reconciliation” is little more than Roman Propoganda. I love puppies and otters, kindness and caring for the sick. Cuthbert certainly has claim to a Christlike life with all those qualities. I just wish Cuthbert had cared a little more about those families that would be torn apart because he seems to have been conflict averse. I also wonder if he would have been as kindly to the woman at the well or the woman caught in adultery, or to Zaccheus as he was to otters.

        • Jonathan's Gravatar Jonathan
          February 26, 2015 - 11:38 pm | Permalink

          And which historical sources are teaching us these monolithic characteristics about Rome and Celtic Christians again?

    • Jonathan's Gravatar Jonathan
      February 26, 2015 - 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Today’s trend of “Celtic Christianity” (which Celts?) is 2 parts historical, 8 parts the romantic image of their modern purveyors. Heck, the Penitentials first came from the Irish! And they were an act of pastoral care, sought out and requested, not acts of malice and oppression from religious tyrants. Cuthbert may have been a gentle and reconciling man, but many, many of the Celtic saints were terrifyingly ascetic with strict notions of sin and righteousness.

  144. Ruth Lawson Kirk's Gravatar Ruth Lawson Kirk
    February 26, 2015 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    Two saints enshrined in the same Cathedral – but more pilgrims visit Cuthbert for the gift of healing while in Durham. Still, I voted for Bede. A historian over a healer? This was his prayer at Bede’s tomb. “I implore you, good Jesus, that as in your mercy you have given me to drink in with delight the words of your knowledge,so of your living kindness you will also grant me one day to come to you, the fountain of all wisdom, and to stand for ever before your face. Amen”

  145. Maryanne Theyerl's Gravatar Maryanne Theyerl
    February 26, 2015 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    I have to throw my vote in with kindness.

  146. Marilyn D.'s Gravatar Marilyn D.
    February 26, 2015 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    I love that name — Venerable Bede! However, as a person who enjoys cave time to read, study, and be alone, I vote for Cuthbert!

  147. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    February 26, 2015 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    Another tough one. My husband grew up in St. Cuthberts, Wells (how a church dedicated to Cuthbert showed up in Somerset is unclear), and Cuthbert is a charming character. But I’m a historian, and I think we’re inclined to value the active saints above the contemplative. And for demonstrating the holy possibilities of a life of scholarship, study, and prayer, I vote for Bede.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      February 26, 2015 - 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for reminding me about St. Cuthbert’s, Susan. It’s a beautiful place. Wells was my home — in another life. 🙂

  148. Martin's Gravatar Martin
    February 26, 2015 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    (age 7) I voted for Cuthbert because he was funny. I liked the part about being dried by sea otters.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      February 26, 2015 - 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Good thinking, Martin! Keep on posting. I like the way you think!

  149. Hilda's Gravatar Hilda
    February 26, 2015 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    It was a tough choice (especially since Bede introduced us to my namesake) but as a member of the Order of St. Luke, I must go with the healer St. Cuthbert.

  150. Deborah's Gravatar Deborah
    February 26, 2015 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The world needs more kindness! Going with St. Cuthbert and his example.

  151. W. Richard Hamlin's Gravatar W. Richard Hamlin
    February 26, 2015 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    This was a difficult one! Each has much to commend him and I wish they had been placed so that this vote would not have come before the final four at the earliest. Having visited Lindisfarne, Jarrow, and Durham Cathedral only makes the choice more difficult.

  152. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    February 26, 2015 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    One of the daily meditations that I read today, from Henri Nouwen, spoke of the virtue of gentleness in leadership! Despite my sense, as another said, that Cuthbert might have “sold out” at Whitby (one of the downsides of having a gentle spirit being that one might be too consiliatory), I vote for this gentle saint! He’s one I wish I could go back in time to meet.

  153. John Miller's Gravatar John Miller
    February 26, 2015 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

    This mornings vote for the Venerable Bede is in honor of all those who participated in a late night game of charads at the CDSP entering class retreat in 2002.

  154. Diane Norton's Gravatar Diane Norton
    February 26, 2015 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    My prediction was right. Perhaps it is my calling to hang with the losers. On a brighter note, a present yesterday in my snail mail: Stars in a Dark World. Such a joy. Astonished how huge it is – seven hundred and ninety-one 8 x 11 pages. High quality scholarship.
    Back to the battle . . . Go, team. Go, Ven. Never give up.

  155. Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
    February 26, 2015 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Without Bede’s writings, we may not have known much about Cuthbert, however, my vote goes to Cuthbert as his ministry of healing and reconciliation is and always will be what we are to do in this world. (Reminds me of an early male version of Mother Teresa)

  156. Joe Stroud's Gravatar Joe Stroud
    February 26, 2015 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    A healer and reconciler gets my vote, even if we wouldn’t have known about him except for his opponent!

  157. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 26, 2015 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    It is interesting what speaks to us about any given Saint on any particular day. I miss the Clairvoyatron! John and Thomas always had helpful things to tell us!! Oh Maple Anglican, Where Art Thou???
    ps, I’m the other Barbara

  158. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    February 26, 2015 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I cry foul! Comparing the Venerable Bede,drily lableled “a scholar” (yawn) and pictured with an image not unlike an Appalachian dried-apple doll! Put up against the lovely, glowing icon of Cuthbert, dubbled “pleasant and affable …” Really, SEC, I understand that it’s hard to ensure that the write-ups are equally matched, but the images are much easier to make equivalent, and “a picture speaks a thousand words!”

    The VB’s got his own gorgeous,kindly looking, becoming icons, an example of which is hanging in our sanctuary at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church, LA! Here is it on the painter’s website:

    You will see another image of him, working amiably with one of the “no fewer than six hundred scholars, whom his piety, learning, and sweet disposition had gathered around him.” ( This biography gives a much fuller portrait of the contributions of this gentle, 7th Century “Renaissance man” a homebody who yet did so much to make the church-in-action known to the wider world.

    Vote Bede, Vote Bede, Vote Bede! There is a place in heaven for benevolent teachers whose main work is to cast a light on others’ gifts, just as there is for community activists who prefer solitude.

    • Anne Clayton's Gravatar Anne Clayton
      February 26, 2015 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Wonderful. Thanks for the link. I voted for Bede, because there obviously was a whole lot more to him than he wrote about, due no doubt to his saintly modesty.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      February 26, 2015 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Elizabeth! Love the pix ~

  159. Brian Perkins's Gravatar Brian Perkins
    February 26, 2015 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Gotta love a choice when there are no wrong answers! Cake or pie? Lobster or crab? Two fine Chrstians who continue to serve beyond their lives as inspirations to those who come after. Lord, help me be a little more like either of these. And affable. Who doesn’t like affable?

  160. Robert Corey's Gravatar Robert Corey
    February 26, 2015 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Through the influence of a spiritual advisor, I have taken to praying “Restore me from my wanderings, as I seek to restore others who have wandered.” Fits right into Cuthbert’s collect. Though I venerate such as Bede, the wholly Venerable scholar, a ministry of reconciliation is the definition of Christ-like. Cuthbert for the Halo.

  161. DeAnna's Gravatar DeAnna
    February 26, 2015 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice but I’ve just got to vote for the one that writes hagiographies. Now, how can I use that in a sentence today?

  162. Rodney Dudley's Gravatar Rodney Dudley
    February 26, 2015 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Keeping in mind that it is an honor just to be considered in this match-up, The Venerable Bede gave a unique and invaluable contribution in his writings, but I gave my vote to Cuthbert because, while he could have stayed comfortably at home doing his own writings, he chose to be proactive and go out into the world to spread kindness and love. I suspect that Bede was comfortable and happy doing his writings. Cuthbert had to overcome his introverted nature and propel himself unwillingly into the world. Thanks goodness he had the otters for support!

  163. lysbeth Andrews's Gravatar lysbeth Andrews
    February 26, 2015 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Without Cuthbert, Bede would not had anything to write about. A vote for the Scot.

  164. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    February 26, 2015 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Despite the fact I am a former educator and I love history I could not bring myself to vote for Bede. Cuthbert may of been a hermit for a while protecting the animals but he also did come out and help people with the plague. While administering to the sick he renewed their faith. For me helping people with their faith goes farther than helping people with the history of the church. And yes as a former educator I believe both are important.

  165. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    February 26, 2015 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Being a scholar, I was set to vote for Bede, but when I read that the Lindisfarne Gospel was commissioned in Cuthbert’ s memory that sealed the deal.

  166. February 26, 2015 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    This was the toughest choice, but I voted for Bede because he left us a record, without which we would not know about Cuthbert. I highly value education and writing.

  167. Margaret Sammons's Gravatar Margaret Sammons
    February 26, 2015 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    What an unfair matchup, SEC! In the end, I voted for Bede, in honor of my brother in law, a college librarian who, like Bede, points others to the saints of the past.

  168. February 26, 2015 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Bede – for his historic contributions in preserving the faith for future generations…and because he’s taking a beating.

  169. Katherine Schroeder's Gravatar Katherine Schroeder
    February 26, 2015 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    As a recovering history major, I had to go with Bede. Although the argument that Cuthbert humbly took on the task that all introverts dread — leadership — is mighty powerful.

  170. stinuksuk's Gravatar stinuksuk
    February 26, 2015 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Since you had the Wesley boys a couple years ago, how about Zwingli and Calvin?
    You’ve had Luther, let’s get the rest of the Reformation gang in there!!!!

    • Robert Corey's Gravatar Robert Corey
      February 27, 2015 - 4:40 am | Permalink

      And why not John Knox, George Fox, and Thomas Helwys? At least they’re English. Some American separatists too. Roger Williams? Mary Dyer? John Clarke? Maybe Joseph Priestley.

  171. February 26, 2015 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Jen about the need for someone like Cuthbert to bring the disagreed together. The U.S. government officials could certainly use them now. Like Donna, I have cat who dries my ankles, actually she is putting her smell on me with her musk glands. And as Ann said, an introvert going into the area and healing is a tough duty.

  172. Mark Willems's Gravatar Mark Willems
    February 26, 2015 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Normally, I vote for the one I think will have the best kitsch. (don’t judge me) However, today, I am going with the historian. Although I fear that either one will fall to Molly Brant (who has already shown her knack for taking down old dead white guys) in the next round.

  173. Cindy Curry's Gravatar Cindy Curry
    February 26, 2015 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    This pairing gives one pause to honor & celebrate the fruits of being faithful to one’s gifts TODAY — like 2 pieces in an eternal jigsaw puzzle: Cuthbert – ever the humble, gentle shepherd – in ministering healing of body, soul, & spirit & thereby embodying the Good News (which was likely spread in the highways & byways)… Bede ministering inspiration to centuries to come in recording it….
    Perhaps a Lenten reflection on how my piece fits into the Puzzle so far…..?

  174. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    February 26, 2015 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I agree. Not boring at all! They are both wonderful examples of Christlike living – and Celts! Saints I feel I can truly relate to! I love what you have said about their earthiness. Isn’t it fantastic that their way of faith is being embraced more fully in our age than it was for so many centuries?

  175. Kay Richardson's Gravatar Kay Richardson
    February 26, 2015 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

    No mention of Cuddy Ducks? Cuthbert was responsible for legislation that protected their breeding grounds in the Fairnes islands. That was one of the first conservation laws in British history.

    Pitting Cuthbert against Bede was indeed unfair. I chose Cuthbert for his great compassion to all God’s creatures.

  176. February 26, 2015 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I admit that I am biased in this match-up; I have been the Rector of a parish whose patron saint is St. Bede for almost 25 years. In that time, one preaches on the propers for and life of the saint a number of times. I have also had the opportunity to visit Jarro and see Bede’s church and to visit “Bedesworld”, a historical park and museum remembering the life and times of this great scholar. Bede was more than a theologian, he wrote about a multitude of subjects. As a historian he changed the custom of how time was conceived (eg., “in the 10th year of King Harald” to Bede’s new usage “in the year 675”). I suppose in that sense he took the first step in preparing us to be wary of the huge “Y2K” non-issue from 15 years ago. The drawing of Bede that was used was indeed unfortunate. I might refer you to the icon found on the Bede’sworld site: or the icon we commissioned several years ago: It is indeed a difficult match up, but I think that Bede is deserving of your vote. If for no other reason, try the ginger cookie recipe in this year’s Lent Madness scorecard book!

    • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
      February 26, 2015 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Father Jim, our gorgeous icon of St. Bede is not back up on our nearly renovated parish website at the moment. All in good time. However, here is a link to where one can view it, and many other superb icons by a contemporary painter:

  177. Celeste's Gravatar Celeste
    February 26, 2015 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    In 1966, for over a month, I stepped over Bede’s remains almost daily in the Durham Cathedral, so I was pretty sure he would get my vote. Cuthbert however grabbed my heart with his kindness. With the sea otters, his companions and friends – which by the way I thoroughly understand – on my mind, I surprised myself and voted for Cuthbert.

  178. Linda m's Gravatar Linda m
    February 26, 2015 - 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Without Bede we would not know about Cuthbert whose picture does not show up on my iPhone but surprisingly the venerable Bedes pic shows up. If that’s not a sign from Heaven I don’t know whAt is !

  179. Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
    February 26, 2015 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

    “For if history records good things of good men, the thoughtful hearer is encouraged to imitate what is good; or if it records evil of wicked men, the good, religious reader or listener is encouraged to avoid all that is sinful and perverse, and to follow what he knows to be good and pleasing to God.” Bede

  180. Melissa Ridlon's Gravatar Melissa Ridlon
    February 26, 2015 - 2:11 pm | Permalink

    So hard. I’ve long had a love for Cuthbert and even named a beloved cat for him. But, I firmly believe Bede would have voted for Cuthbert and that humility makes me choose to
    vote for him. Next kitty will be “Bede.”

  181. Betty's Gravatar Betty
    February 26, 2015 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Did you know that the Bishop of Lindisfarne allowed the elevation of Cuthbert’s relics to take place on the 11th anniversary of his death, in 698? When the body was raised, it was found to be incorrupt!!! Certain proof of sainthood!

  182. Natalie Doyle-Hennin's Gravatar Natalie Doyle-Hennin
    February 26, 2015 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    With a record so far of 0 for X (have stopped counting) any vote I cast is likely to doom the votee to hit a low cloud ceiling on the way to the next round.

    Don’t agree that this match-up is worthy of a “Meh!;” his is a diabolical choice the SEC has stuck us with (and aren’t most of them?). I’d vote for both Cuthbert and Bede today if I could. But, as a former j’prof, scholar and editor who has toted Bede’s work around for the past decade without reading it, I’m going to dig in for more insight into Cuthbert and his times. So Bede it is, hoping I’ve not condemned him to the Lent Madness Recycling Bin (given my nullrecord thus far).

  183. Brixham Beth's Gravatar Brixham Beth
    February 26, 2015 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I always seem to go for the underdog, it’s Bede for me. He told us about loads of special Christians, and anyone that humble and keen to put forward the gifts of others deserves a bit of limelight for themselves especially when the don’t much like it.
    Go Bede

  184. Mike Essig's Gravatar Mike Essig
    February 26, 2015 - 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that Kamehameha’s win received the most total votes.

  185. February 26, 2015 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    There’d be no lent madness without BEDE!

  186. February 26, 2015 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I did a project in seminary on Bede, and was all set to vote for him. But after reading about Cuthbert, I had to go with him. I appreciated his gift for healing, from the yellow plague to the breach between the Celtic church and Rome. I also appreciated his communing with nature. Kind of fell in love with him from one blog post. May Bede forgive me!

  187. Rodney's Gravatar Rodney
    February 26, 2015 - 4:23 pm | Permalink

    love the nature boy!!! easy pick – just look at the pic of our friend The Venerable Bede – scary!!! one tough lookin dude!

  188. February 26, 2015 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

    In the answering of the question, “Which Saint is more mad?”, Cuthbert had me at “miracles and adventure.”

  189. Jude's Gravatar Jude
    February 26, 2015 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    As much as I appreciate Cuthbert’s dedication to the physical and spiritual well-being of his flock and his ability to lead others to reconciliation with God and each other, I had to vote for the Venerable Bede. How could I not? He collected, organized, and beautifully presented so much wonderful and invaluable information, and was so very humble throughout his life: a perfect saint for a librarian.

    • Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
      February 26, 2015 - 6:47 pm | Permalink

      And a major figure in English literature.

  190. Cindy Lufkin's Gravatar Cindy Lufkin
    February 26, 2015 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Our rector’s son’s name is Cuthbert, so even though I like both guys; I remember reading “Ecclesiastical History” on my walk to seminary class so Bede’s got a soft spot in my heart, but I’ve got to not only vote for Cuthbert but encourage it on the church FB page.

  191. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    February 26, 2015 - 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Hardest choice yet. I love John Heath-Stubbs poem about Cuthbert and the otter.
    Lord, the North Sea reaches my Adam’s apple.
    I gargle prayer. It bubbles up
    To the unanswering stars. It is Your love
    Keeps them in orbit. …’ …
    ‘Master, I do not know
    What you are doing in the sea. It was not for fishing….’
    His is a remarkable story and example… but Whitby… and Hilda….
    Otters notwithstanding I had to vote for the scholarly Bede.

  192. Gay Greenleaf's Gravatar Gay Greenleaf
    February 26, 2015 - 5:33 pm | Permalink

    My great grandmother Emma Thirsk came across from Yorkshire in the 1850s so these two worthies are in my DNA.
    As a historian and cradle Episcopalian I love them both, but have to go with Cuthbert. The hIstory of the English church would be very different without his leadership at the Council of Whitby.

  193. Robin's Gravatar Robin
    February 26, 2015 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I gotta go with the nature loving, kindhearted fellow!

  194. Simon's Gravatar Simon
    February 26, 2015 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    The biographical sketch of Cuthbert paints a distressingly rosy picture of his “work at the Synod of Whitby.” There is another perspective: that this so-called “repair of the breach with Rome” was in fact a capitulation of the native Ionan church to the growing power of the papacy, a concession that would not be reversed for another nine centuries, and resulted in the marginalization of the Columban tradition and the waning of Celtic influence in the English church. Godly man though he undoubtedly was, I cannot bring myself to vote for him.

  195. Martie Collins's Gravatar Martie Collins
    February 26, 2015 - 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Cuthbert had me at the otters.

  196. February 26, 2015 - 6:17 pm | Permalink

    So a vote for the doer or the person who wrote about the doer? Culthbert tips the scales by ‘fixing’ the date for Easter.

  197. Robert's Gravatar Robert
    February 26, 2015 - 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the previous posts who said this is a very tough one, love them both. Having spent a month at the Nether Springs house of the Northumbria Community, I learned much about St. Aidan, St. Cuthbert, and Celtic Christianity, We went to Lindisfarne several times and to the beautiful Durham Cathedral, where Bede and Cuthbert lie. Gotta go with St. Cuthbert, though, since I felt close to him during my time there, and since. Plus, he’s Scottish!

  198. Michelle Crull's Gravatar Michelle Crull
    February 26, 2015 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all the posts that said this was a really tough one. I have to love a scholar and teacher but someone who went out to minister to the “sick, the friendless, and the needy” is hard to ignore (the otters helped as well). So I ended up going with Cuthbert. I love reading the comments almost more than the blogs about the saints. 🙂

  199. Heather's Gravatar Heather
    February 26, 2015 - 7:11 pm | Permalink

    O cruel contest! The SEC is probably reveling in our pain. I ask, however, did Cuthbert sell out the Celtic Church rather than “reconcile” it with Rome? This is a wrenching decision: my Scottish blood vs. my profession and passion as a historian of Christianity.

  200. John Lawyer's Gravatar John Lawyer
    February 26, 2015 - 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Cuthbert vs. Bede– Which do you like better, books (Bede) or animals (Cuthbert)? I think most Episcopalians would find it hard to choose between them. So why not a good Anglican response, “both/and” rather than “either/or”?

    • Jen's Gravatar Jen
      February 26, 2015 - 9:55 pm | Permalink

      nicely stated Mr. Lawyer! books vs. animals … I say both/and!

  201. A Different Jennifer's Gravatar A Different Jennifer
    February 26, 2015 - 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Love Bede but am voting Cuthbert today for entirely personal reasons – for Jack and the otters and the Ring of Bright Water.

  202. Paul Rider's Gravatar Paul Rider
    February 26, 2015 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Just an observation: I find it quite interesting that so many comments retroject our 21st c. ideals and sensibilities and biases onto people who lived more than a millennium ago and then vote in accordance with those retrojections, with the effect of rejecting the one who, back in the 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th c. didn’t fit in with our 21st c. enlightened thinking!

    • Jonathan's Gravatar Jonathan
      February 26, 2015 - 11:34 pm | Permalink

      It always seems a touch disorienting when 6th century saints are made to sound, act, and think just like 20th century liberal protestants…

  203. Mshenna's Gravatar Mshenna
    February 26, 2015 - 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a link to Gavin Maxwell’s explanation of St. Cuthbert being “dried” by otters (scroll up to p. 87 to get the whole thing):

    And eider ducks too! (But I still voted Venerable Bede.)

  204. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    February 26, 2015 - 9:31 pm | Permalink

    This is perhaps not the best set of reasons for voting, but here goes: Cuthbert’s remains are in Durham Cathedral, and I have been there. And my grand-kitten is named Cuthbert. Bede is wonderful, and he is why we know about Cuthbert, but personal sentiment dictates today’s vote. Cuthbert all the way!

  205. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    February 26, 2015 - 9:34 pm | Permalink

    What in the tarnation is the YELLOW plague? Worse than the Black one?

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      February 26, 2015 - 10:16 pm | Permalink

      The yellow plague is, I believe, yellow fever, which is a hemorrhagic fever for which there is still no antiviral treatment, although there is an effective vaccine. The vaccine + mosquito control are fairly effective in preventing major outbreaks.

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        February 26, 2015 - 10:31 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Linda. That makes sense! I just don’t associate malaria with the British Isles…

  206. Jen's Gravatar Jen
    February 26, 2015 - 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I think I identify most with Bede. I want to work behind the scenes: I want to bring the world to know the light of Christ which is shining in others: “[he] shines brightest in his constant dedication in bringing the world to know the light of Christ shining in countless others.

  207. Anne Lemay's Gravatar Anne Lemay
    February 26, 2015 - 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Aligning Celtic Christianity with Rome may not have been the wisest choice, in my opinion … the Celts had far more grace and understanding of the interconnection between the mystic spirituality and the ordinary daily life than Rome ever has, and so, because I’m not so sure that Cuthbert was truly adroit in his handling of the matters at the Synod of Whitby, my vote goes to Bede. There it is!

    • j's Gravatar j
      February 27, 2015 - 3:20 pm | Permalink

      I would be inclined to agree – Celtic Christianity is much cooler than Roman. More mystical. Much cooler crosses. But for the fact that the Celts and the Franks insisted on killing each other over the date of Easter.

  208. Sally's Gravatar Sally
    February 26, 2015 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Fezzes ARE cool but it was still Cuthbert for me. His story just spoke to me more!!:)

  209. John Williamson's Gravatar John Williamson
    February 26, 2015 - 10:39 pm | Permalink

    The tombs of both are claimed to be buried in Durham Cathedral.

    And who put these two opposite each other in the first round? Either one could easily be in the final four!

    • February 27, 2015 - 12:24 am | Permalink

      For those who found the pairing unfair for one reason or another, in that you could not easily make a decision as to who moves on: Several alternatives: (1) vote for both of them. That would most probably mean that you are done for this year (SEC rule). But you would make your point, if felt strongly enough. (2) Don’t vote at all. Why should you be forced to make a decision that you, in good conscience, would not make. They both deserve your vote (see #1), but that would ground you and end the fun, etc. It is a “safer” way out for you, and preserves you from a sort of Sophie’s Choice. (3) Research what criteria are listed for someone elevated to Sainthood–if such a list exists (if not, formulate your own such list). Compare each of the paired Saints to the criteria. The Saint who wins is the Saint who meets more of the criteria in each such match-up, and relieving you of much irrelevant input. If tied in criteria, formulate a tie-breaker that will produce the “winner.” If the tie-breaker doesn’t work, Return to #1, #2, or, (4) toss a coin. If it’s that close fate has a role here, as it does in life at large. Good luck. New player.

  210. James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
    February 27, 2015 - 12:21 am | Permalink

    Both nice enough, although I am inclined to go for the guy who was able to help heal disagreements.

    And besides, ten thousand sea otters can’t be wrong.

  211. Christine CO's Gravatar Christine CO
    February 27, 2015 - 12:29 am | Permalink

    I’m disappointed that the icon of Cuthbert doesn’t include any animals–especially, not an otters. I have bought several icons by this artists, and would probably have bought the one of Cuthbert if it had included otters.
    My mother once had a cat who dried my mother’s ankles when my mother came out of the swimming pool. He would twine round her ankles. I’m sure he would have dried more of her legs if he could have reached them.

  212. Carmen's Gravatar Carmen
    February 27, 2015 - 1:51 am | Permalink

    I met a 14-year-old Australian boy named Bede while he was walking the Camino de Santiago with his siblings and parents in September 2013. A good name for a Saint.

  213. Louise's Gravatar Louise
    February 27, 2015 - 3:08 am | Permalink

    Such a tough choice. But as many of my ancestors were “hatched, matched and dispatched” from St Cuthbert’s, Darlington, Co Durham I have to go with their patron. Both are equally admired in my book!

  214. Adrienne's Gravatar Adrienne
    February 27, 2015 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    i think Bede would have wanted us to vote for Cuthbert … so i did!

Comments are closed.