St Tuda of Lindisfarne: a good and religious man

St Tuda, Bishop of Lindisfarne, was in his See for only a year before he was carried off by the plague, reposing in the Lord in 664.

Today was at one time his feast day.


The Northumbrian coast from Longstone lighthouse, among the Farne Islands. © William Stafford, Geograph. Used under licence. Click for original.

The Northumbrian coast from Longstone lighthouse, among the Farne Islands. © William Stafford, Geograph. Used under licence. Click for original.


Originally from southern Scotland, St Tuda was appointed to the See after St Colman resigned it, unable to accept the decisions of the Synod of Whitby which had elected to follow Roman rather than Irish practice in some areas.

WHEN Colman had gone back into his own country, Tuda, the servant of Christ, was made bishop of the Northumbrians in his place, having been instructed and ordained bishop among the Southern Scots, having also the crown of the ecclesiastical tonsure, according to the custom of that province, and observing the Catholic rule with regard to the time of Easter.

He was a good and religious man, but he governed the church a very short time; he had come from Scotland whilst Colman was yet bishop, and, both by word and deed, diligently taught all men those things that appertain to the faith and truth.

St Bede, “Ecclesiastical History”, III.26. Source.


As with most things, it is not a case of A is good and B is bad.

Some Celtic traditions, such as their eccentric date for Easter, really did need to be set aside in favour of Byzantine practice. The Rule of St Benedict also brought a welcome order, relative moderation, and stability into the cenobitic religious life.

On the other hand, Abbots and Abbesses lost their pre-eminent place to Bishops, and (as always) the institutionalism and centralisation meant that something of the wild romance and burning love for God which drove St Aidan and St Colman began to fade. In time, monasteries as the ‘lighthouses’ of the Christian life were gradually dimmed.

Like St Cuthbert, Tuda had experience of both cultures, and might be felt to represent a harmony between Irish and Roman practice which brought out the best in each – a harmony which was, unfortunately, broken all too soon.


LEADING a life like unto that of thy Master, in both word and deed fulfilling thy days in spiritual works, thou, O Father, didst repose and pass over into the heavenly heights.


FREED from the first curse by thy birth-giving, O most blessed God-greeted Maiden, we send up unto thee the greeting of Gabriel: Rejoice thou, the cause of the salvation of all.

From the Slavonic General Menaion. Source.


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