[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Wulfstan II

Archbishop of York and philosopher, (X/XI Centuries):

An Anglo-Saxon author and churchman, Wulfstan (d. 1023) is thought to have been born in the Danelaw and is known for promoting the assimilation of Anglo- Saxon and Danish cultures. He was a monk, possibly at Winchester or Ely, and believed that all monks should live by the Rule of St. Benedict. Probably a member of the royal witan (council), he was an advisor to Ethelred II the Unready and to Canute. Many hold Wulfstan responsible for Canute's ruling as a Christian king. Wulfstan wrote about the duties of the classes in Institutes of Polity, Civil and Ecclesial, and he was an advocate of clerical reform. He thought all clergymen should be celibate and should eschew drunkenness to attend to their priestly duties. Wulfstan served as bishop of London from 996-1002/04; as bishop of Worcester from 1002-1016; and as archbishop of York from 1002/03-1023. He was buried at Ely, where he is considered a saint.

Wulfstan was a scholar with great mental tidiness and knew the works of many Church Fathers, especially those with connections to the Franks. Some Latin works survive only in manuscripts that he collected. (Some say he made Winchester's scriptorium a center of learning). His most famous work is the Sermon of the Wolf to the English People, in which this eloquent preacher calls upon people of all classes to repent.

Karen Rae Keck