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Saint Birinus

Bishop and Confessor.   

In the year of Christ 634, the West Saxons, under their King Cynegils, began to receive the Faith, the Word of God being then preached among them by Birinus the Bishop, who had come into Britain at the persuasion of Pope Honorius. For he made a personal promise to this Pope that he would go into far parts of England, where no teacher had yet reached, and there sow the seed of our holy Faith. The Pope therefore commanded Asterius, Bishop of Genoa, to consecrate him bishop.

However, when Birinus came to Britain, the first place he went to was the country of the West Saxons, which same he found steeped in idolatry. Among them therefore he deemed it better to abide, than to go further. One of the first-fruits of his labours was King Cynegils, at whose Baptism there stood as sponsor that holy man Oswald, King of the Northumbrians, whose daughter he was about to take in marriage, and thus, by a beautiful coincidence, became first his godfather and then his father-in-law.

These two Kings joined in giving to Birinus the City of Dorchester, to be his See, and thence, after building and hallowing churches, and calling many people to God by his holy labours, he passed away to be for ever with the Lord, about the year 650. At Dorchester he was buried, but after many years, Bishop Saint Hedda removed his body to Winchester, where it was honourably laid in the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.


GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that the devout observance of this festival of blessed Birinus, thy Confessor and Bishop: may be profitable unto us for our advancement in all godliness, and for the attainment of everlasting salvation.. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1917-1918; 1659

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website.

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