Celebration event to mark region's early Christian figurehead

St Paul's Church, one of the twin monasteries founded by early Christian figurehead Benedict Biscop

St Paul's Church, one of the twin monasteries founded by early Christian figurehead Benedict Biscop

First published in News
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The Northern Echo: Static HTML image by , Chief Reporter (Durham)

A DAY of celebration for a founding father of the Christian Church in the North-East takes place on Saturday (January 11).

Benedict Biscop was named Patron Saint of Sunderland in 2005, to mark his role developing the twin monasteries of St Peter's, at Monkwearmouth in the city, plus St Paul's, at nearby Jarrow.

A family activity day will mark the eighth anniversary of Biscop's adoption as patron saint at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

Visitors can take part in a range of Anglo-Saxon-themed activities in the Pottery Gallery, between 11am and 12.30pm and from 1.30pm to 3pm.

Both sessions will include object investigation stalls, trails and children’s craft activities.

Benedict Biscop, 628 - 690AD, is considered a major pioneer establishing Christianity in the North-East.

St Peter’s and St Paul’s churches became internationally renowned as centres for learning and creativity, producing acknowledged scholars of the day, including the Venerable Bede.

Sunderland city councillor John Kelly said: “As a founding father of Sunderland, Benedict Biscop occupies a unique position in our history.

“He was hugely influential in the early Christian Church, leaving a legacy not only in the physical buildings of the monastery of St Peter’s and St Paul’s, but, also learning and international collaboration, as well as cultural exchange.".

Inspired by visits to Rome, Biscop introduced a revolutionary style of Roman architecture for the monastery, bringing masons from France to create the first stone church in the Northumbria region.

He also brought glaziers to make windows ensuring St Peter’s became the birthplace of stained-glass making in Britain.

It has remained an important part of Sunderland's history for the past 1,300 years, and was the ethos behind the National Glass Centre being sited not far from St Peter’s Church, in Monkwearmouth.

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