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HOLY BIRNSTAN (BIRSTAN, BEORNSTAN), BISHOP OF

WINCHESTER

Our holy Father Birnstan followed St. Frithestan as Bishop of Winchester

in 931. His steadfast way was to offer the Holy Mass, then hearken to

the wretched, washing them and giving them food, and then beseech God alone for

a long while. At night he would go about the graveyard bidding God to soothe the souls

of the dead. Once, after bidding: “May they rest in frith,” he heard a voice

as if of an unending army of souls answering: “Amen”. He died while

beseeching God alone in 934, and was more or less forgotten for about forty

years.

One night, St. Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, was working in front of

the holy relics of his bishopric when three ghostly people came to him. The middle

of these then said: “I am Birnstan, once bishop of this town. Here,” he said, of the man on his right, “is Birinus, the first gospel-bearer. And here,” he

said, of the man on his left, “is Swithun, the marked lord of this

church and town. You should know that even as you see me here with

them now, so I have no unmatched brightness with them in Heaven. Why then am I

bereaved of the hailing of men, when I am hailed in the Church of the

heavenly beings?”

St. Birnstan is hailed on November 4.

Holy Father Birnstan, beseech God for us!

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