Synod of Whitby

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Whitby, Synod of,

called by King Oswy of Northumbria in 663 at Whitby, England. Its purpose was to choose between the usages of the Celtic and Roman churches, primarily in the matter of reckoning the date of Easter (see calendarcalendar
[Lat., from Kalends], system of reckoning time for the practical purpose of recording past events and calculating dates for future plans. The calendar is based on noting ordinary and easily observable natural events, the cycle of the sun through the seasons with equinox
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; Celtic ChurchCeltic Church,
name given to the Christian Church of the British Isles before the mission (597) of St. Augustine of Canterbury from Rome. Founded in the 2d or 3d cent. by missionaries from Rome or Gaul, the church was well established by the 4th cent.
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). Among those involved in the synod were Cædmon, the poet, and St. HildaHilda, Saint,
614–80, English abbess of Whitby, princess of Northumbria. She became a Christian at the age of 13 and a nun at 33. About 647 she set out for a convent in France, but was recalled by St. Aidan to found a convent on the banks of the Wear River. In 657, St.
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, the abbess of Whitby, who favored the Celtic usages. St. WilfridWilfrid, Saint,
634–709?, English churchman, b. Northumbria, of noble parentage. He was educated at Lindisfarne and Canterbury. With Benedict Biscop he traveled to Lyons and Rome in 654; Wilfrid remained to study in each city.
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, Abbot of Ripon was the chief spokesperson for the Roman usages. Oswy decided for the Roman usages and in so doing determined that the English church would be associated with the Roman in the main stream of Western European Christianity. Only a few of the Celtic clergy returned to the monastery of Iona and to their old ways. The traditional date (from Bede) of 664 has recently been interpreted as Sept. or Oct., 663.
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