[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Swithin

IX Century
Probably a native of Wessex, St. Swithin (or Swithun) was born c. 800. A favorite of Egbert of the West Saxons (king from 802-839), Swithin served as the king's chaplain and tutored Æthelwulf, who nominated him for bishop of Winchester in 852. Installed in that year, Swithin established a reputation as a missionary. He was famed also for his knowledge of the the Scriptures. He remained loyal to his pupil, whom the West Saxons ousted in 856. Swithin died in 863, and he is called Weepy St. Swithin because of an association of his feast day (2/15 July) with rain. Some say the roots of this are ancient: constellations that forebode rain rise at that time. Others attribute the connection to the 40 days of rain that prevented the 971 translation of his relics from the Old Minster cemetary into Winchester Cathedral, whose dedication was changed from Sts. Peter and Paul to St. Swithin.

Karen Rae Keck


Return to St Pachomius Library.