The Keys of Heaven

Sun in Gemini

Whitby Montage2AAA

The Keys of Heaven – The last journey of St Cedd

It is the year AD 664. The coastal town of Whitby and its Abbey, under the control of the abbess who became St Hilda, are the setting for a Christian Synod – a court of doctrine established, on the face of it, to unify how priests cut their religious tonsure (gap in the hair) and what should be the correct basis of the calculation of Easter.

Trivial things? Perhaps to our distant eyes; but the Synod of 664 had a brutal undertone: its decision would determine a single Christianity for Britain – and would condemn the alternative to a slow but inevitable death.

King Oswiu was the host. His family typified the multiplicity of ‘faiths’ that predominated in those times. The Kingdom of Northumbria was the most powerful of the Saxon lands. Oswiu followed the Celtic Christian faith, whose…

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