> Commemoration: Alcuin
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Annually on May 20
Deacon and Abbot of Tours,
PRAYER (traditional language):
Almighty God, who in a rude and barbarous age didst raise up Thy deacon Alcuin to rekindle the light of learning: Illumine our minds, we pray thee, that amid the uncertainties and confusions of our own time we may show forth thine eternal truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
From Holy Women, Holy Men:
Alcuin was born about 730 near York into a noble family related to
Willibrord, the first missionary to the Netherlands. He was educated
at the cathedral school in York under Archbishop Egbert, a pupil of
Bede. He thus inherited the best traditions of learning and zeal of the
early English Church. After ordination as a deacon in 770, he became
head of the York school. Following a meeting in 781 with the Emperor
Charlemagne in Pavia (Italy), he was persuaded to become the
Emperor’s “prime minister,” with special responsibility for the revival
of education and learning in the Frankish dominions.
Alcuin was named Abbot of Tours in 796, where he died on May 19,
804, and was buried in the church of St. Martin.
Alcuin was a man of vast learning, personal charm, and integrity of
character. In his direction of Charlemagne’s Palace School at Aachen,
he was chiefly responsible for the preservation of the classical heritage
of western civilization. Schools were revived in cathedrals and
monasteries, and manuscripts of both pagan and Christian writings of
antiquity were collated and copied.
Under the authority of Charlemagne, the liturgy was reformed, and
service books gathered from Rome were edited and adapted. To this
work we owe the preservation of many of the Collects that have come
down to us, including the Collect for Purity at the beginning of the
Click the link below to learn about Alcuin: