The Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin on Holy Island is thought to stand on the spot where St Aidan founded the first small church around 634AD. Bede wrote of the old church that it was a thatched affair, built with old oak and unsuitable for Abbot or Bishop. A later stone church was built, and eventually the Priory that now stands in skeletal splendour against the sky.
There has been a place of Christian worship on this spot for some fourteen hundred years. Within the fabric of the chancel parts of the original seventh-century stone building remain, making it the oldest structure on the island to still bear a roof. St Cuthbert would have prayed here.
The little church served the community of monastery and islanders during the height of the golden age of Northumbria, when the Lindisfarne Gospels were created… the fabulously and meticulously illuminated manuscripts that still survive today, the cover in almost pristine condition, each page a masterpiece of art and detail… a work of dedication and faith.
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