People began reading silently to themselves

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There was nobody else alive, nobody who could read or preach or sing the service, except the abbot, Ceolfrith, and one bright boy: who was local, well-connected and about sixteen, and whose name was unusual. He was called Bede, and he wasn’t called ‘saint’ or ‘venerable’, not yet.

In 686, the sun went dark behind the moon. When the eclipse ended the plague came suddenly from the sea. It broke into the monasteries like this double house at Jarrow and Wearmouth in Northumbria and all the little ports along the coast. It killed quickly. The old abbot, Eosterwine, was sick and dying and he called all the monks to him. ‘With the compassion that was second nature to him, he gave them each the kiss of peace,’ Bede remembered. Nobody worried then about touching the sick; sickness was known to come in an impersonal miasma, a kind of mist; so the abbot’s kindness killed almost all of them… More at Longreads.

A must read, silently to yourself.

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