Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hugh of Lincoln, Bishop

Hugh of Lincoln was born about 1135 in Avalon to noble parents.  After his mothers death when he was eight, his father took him to  the priory of Villard Benoît at Pontcharra, where Hugh did quite well.  He was made deacon at age 19 and was sent to become prior at another monastery, and then entered the Gran Chartreuse, the mother house for the Carthusians.  There he remained until 1179, when he was sent to England to become prior of the first Carthusian house of England.  Arriving, he found very little, and that the lands had not even been paid for, forcing a meeting with the King who had promised the funds in relation to his penance relating to the death of Archbishop Thomas of Canterbury  Once financing was secured the house grew rapidly and Hugh’s wisdom brought many to the English house. 

Hugh was not afraid to address problems in the Kingdom and criticised the King for leaving Diocesan Sees open in order that the king could receive the revenues.  Lincoln itself had been vacant for some eighteen years. The chapter elected Hugh to be their Bishop and he was consecrated on 21 September 1186.  Hugh was still not afraid of the King, nor those with royal authority, and excommunicated those who needed it regardless of royal prerogative, and protected the downtrodden, especially the Jews.  He traveled constantly through the diocese, was constant in charity and raised the educational level of the cathedral school.  He was often attended by a pet swan which followed him everywhere.  He refused to raise money for King Richard the Lion Heart’s crusades, and was not popular with Prince John, who was not interested in hearing of the Christian duty of Kings.  Through all, he managed to continue through his diplomatic skills. He died November 16, 1200 of an unknown illness, loved by many. 

Collect:  Heavenly Father, as you imbued your Bishop Hugh of Lincoln with true grace and agape for all, help your church to love and serve the poor, oppressed, and outcasts, that they may come to know you through our witness, which we ask in the name of your beloved son, who loved us even unto death on the cross.  Amen.  (white)

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