Tomorrow Wednesday, 12th October, the southern parts of our Diocese of Portsmouth – parishes in the pastoral areas of Portsmouth, Solent, Havant and the Isle of Wight – keep the Memorial of St. Wilfrid (634-709), a truly great bishop who contributed so much to the English Church of his day, despite many difficulties and much opposition. He came from Northumbria where he was a member of the royal household. He was educated at Lindisfarne, but later left for Canterbury and Rome. In Rome, he worked for Boniface, the secretary of Pope Martin, and received instruction in canon law and scripture. He returned to Britain via Lyons where he spent three years. He arrived back in England about 66O and became a staunch and persuasive campaigner for the introduction of Roman liturgical practices in preference to the Celtic traditions of the North. He became Abbot of Ripon, where he introduced the Benedictine rule and the Roman method of calculating the date of Easter. Although missionaries from southern England such as Saint Paulinus had attempted to convert the northern Church to these observances, Wilfred like them found himself facing entrenched opposition. However, in 664 at the Synod of Whitby, Wilfrid’s impassioned and articulate presentations swayed the vote of the assembly in favour of the case for Rome. Afterwards he was appointed Bishop of York, although this led to an ongoing dispute that resulted in him making appeal to Rome, the first English bishop ever known to do so. On his return to England, he settled for a while in Sussex where he evangelised the pagans there, almost the last in England. He founded a monastery at Selsey. He died in 709 and was buried at Ripon.