Shrine of St. Frideswide, Christ Church Cathedral Oxford.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 17; St. Hugh of Lincoln

Icon of St. Hugh in Lincoln Cathedral with the swan that was known to follow him around.

St. Hugh was born at Avalon, France around 1140. A son of the Lord of Avalon, Hugh entered a Carthusian abbey at an early age. He made his way up in the order, eventually becoming a priest and the procurator of the Grand Chartreuse, the mother house of the order. In 1179, Hugh traveled to Dorset to fill the post as Prior of the first Carthusian House in England. Upon arriving at the newly chartered abbey in Witham, he found the land given by the king, Henry II unimproved. Hugh worked to get the Henry II to support the establishment. His relationship with Henry caused him to unveil problems with the English church. Henry had been keeping diocese vacant to draw the diosesan income into the royal treasuries. Hugh pushed for reform and Henry agreed to let elections proceed to fill the vacant sees. In 1186 the chapter of Lincoln Cathedral twice elected Hugh to be Bishop. After his consecration in Westminster he quickly established his own power separate from the king. Hugh was know n to be charitable to all in his diocese of which he kept constant supervision. He raised the standard of education at his own cathedral and protected the Jews from persecution. He rebuilt Lincoln Cathedral in the gothic style. He died in 1200 and was buried in the cathedral. he was canonized only 20 years later.

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