|Feast: November 14
of London, died about 690. He belonged to the princely family of the East
Anglian Offa, and devoted a considerable portion of his patrimony to founding
two monasteries, one for monks at Chertsey, and the other for nuns at Barking in
Essex. Over the latter he placed his sister, St. Ethelburga, as abbess. He
himself discharged the duties of superior at Chertsey. Erconwald continued his
monastic life till the death of Bishop Wini in 675, when he was called to the
See of London, at the instance of King Sebbi and Theodore, Archbishop of
Canterbury. As monk and bishop he was renowned for his holiness of life, and
miracles were wrought in attestation of his sanctity. The sick were cured by
contact with the litter on which he had been carried; this we have on the
testimony of Venerable Bede. He was present in 686 at the reconciliation between
Archbishop Theodore and Wilfrith. King Ini in the preface to his laws calls
Erconwald "my bishop". During his episcopate he enlarged his church,
augmented its revenues, and obtained for it special privileges from the king.
According to an ancient epitaph, Erconwald ruled the Diocese of London for eleven years. He is said to have eventually retired to the convent of his sister in Barking, where he died 30 April. He was buried in St. Paul s, and his tomb became renowned for miracles. The citizens of London had a special devotion to him, and they regarded with pride the magnificence of his shrine. During the burning of the cathedral in 1087 it is related that the shrine and its silken coverings remained intact. A solemn translation of St. Erconwald's body took place 14 Nov., 1148, when it was raised above the high altar. The shrine was robbed of its jewels and ornaments in the sixteenth century; and the bones of the saint are said to have been then buried at the east end of the choir. His feast is observed by English Catholics on 14 November. Prior to the Reformation, the anniversaries of St. Erconwald's death and translation of his relics were observed at St. Paul's as feasts of the first class, according to an ordinance of Bishop Braybroke in 1386.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press,
Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1996 by New Advent, Inc.
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