Life of Sunderland’s patron saint celebrated

ALL DRESSED UP: Kyle Storey, 10 and Sophia Pariaros, nine, from Monkwearmouth, looked the part as they added their work to a book of illuminated script.
ALL DRESSED UP: Kyle Storey, 10 and Sophia Pariaros, nine, from Monkwearmouth, looked the part as they added their work to a book of illuminated script.
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THE life of Sunderland’s patron saint was celebrated over the weekend.

To honour the 10th anniversary of Benedict Biscop becoming the patron saint of the city, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens held a family day of celebration on Saturday, with Anglo Saxon-themed events in the Pottery Gallery in the morning and afternoon.

Activities included object investigation stalls, information trails and children’s craft activities.

“We had about 50 people, adults and children, spread out through the day,” said Jennie Lambert, from the museum’s education team.

“Visitors were dressed up as monks and we had illuminated letter-making and other activities. We also made proggy mats with symbols and letters.”

“And we had a story-telling session with local artist Sophie Beresford about Benedict Biscop, his life and his involvement in the setting-up of the monasteries of St Peter’s and St Paul’s.”

Benedict Biscop (628-690) made a huge contribution to both Sunderland and the Christian Church by establishing the twin Anglo-Saxon monasteries of St Peter’s at Wearmouth and a few years later St Paul’s at Jarrow.

He is the patron saint of the city and the monasteries he established became an internationally renowned centre for learning and creativity producing remarkable scholars including the Venerable Bede.

Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, Coun John Kelly said: “Benedict Biscop occupies a unique position in the history of, not only Sunderland, but also in the history of learning, international collaboration and cultural exchange.

“These are themes that are important to the city and continue to influence decisions as we look to the future.

“The investment in the landscape around St Peter’s, the ever-developing university and the recent announcement that we are to be a host port for the 2018 Tall Ships Races show that we are gaining a well-earned reputation for being an attractive, diverse, well informed and welcoming city.”