This week in Christian history: Tongan chief baptized, monastic reformer dies

Monastic reformer dies – Aug. 1, 984

Ethelwold, also known as Æthelwold of Winchester (circa 904-984), a monastic reformer and bishop in England. |

This week marks the anniversary of when monastic reformer Ethelwold, who served as bishop of Winchester, England, and known by some as the “Father of Monks,” died. 

Also known as Æthelwold of Winchester, Ethelwold enacted reforms to monastic practice and helped to found or repair several abbeys throughout England.

“Æthelwold became the leading propagandist for the monastic reform movement, although he made enemies by his ruthless methods, and he was more extreme in his opposition to secular clergy than his fellow reformers,” noted the website Catholic Online.

“He is nevertheless recognized as a key figure in the reform movement, who also made a major contribution to the revival of learning and the arts. He was an important political figure, backing Æthelred the Unready against Edward the Martyr, and playing a major advisory role during Æthelred's minority.”

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