Alcuin of York (ca. 732–804), Anglo-Saxon churchman and scholar. As Abbot of Tours (from 796) he made a single-volume revision of theVulgate Bible that was to become the norm in much of Europe.
Augustine, Saint (died 604), missionary sent by Gregory the Great to convert the English. He arrived in Kent in 597 and became first archbishop of Canterbury from 601.
Bede, The Venerable (ca. 672–735), Anglo-Saxon priest and scholar. He lived at the monasteries of Wearmouth-Jarrow almost all his life, but became the foremost scholar of his age. His writings include the Ecclesiastical History of the English People and On the Nature of Time.
Boniface, Saint (Wynfrith; ca. 675–755), “Apostle to the Germans.” Born at Crediton in southwest England, he was first a monk and scholar but in 718 left England to preach the gospel to the Germanic tribes. He reformed the Frankish Church and became Archbishop of Mainz. He eventually directed his mission to Holland, and was killed at Dokkum. A number of his letters survive.
Caesaria, Saint (died ca. 530), first abbess of the convent founded in 512 by her brother, Saint Caesarius of Arles. He addressed his Nuns’ Rule to her and related how she taught and supervised the copying of scripture at the convent. Other contemporaries also testified to her gifts.
Ceolfrith (ca. 642–716), first abbot of the twin monasteries of Wearmouth-Jarrow. He travelled to Rome in 679 to collect books for this foundation, greatly enlarged its libraries, and oversaw the production of three complete copies of the Bible. He died on his way to Rome to present one of these copies (now known as the Codex Amiatinus) to the pope.
Charlemagne (742–814), Frankish king (from 768) and emperor (from 800), who sponsored a cultural renaissance that included editorial programs revising biblical texts and the making of luxurious codices.
Church Fathers. A number of early Christian writers and teachers, whose works are considered of special authority. They include Saint Augustine of Hippo, Saint Jerome, and Saint John Chrysostom.
Columba, Saint (ca. 521–597), monastic founder and missionary. Born in Ireland, he became a monk and priest and founded monasteries at Derry and Durrow. In 563 he left his country to preach to the Picts of Scotland. With a few companions he settled on the island of Iona, which became a very influential monastery.
Constantine the Great (died 337), the first Roman emperor to promote Christianity. In 312 he defeated his rival Maxentius after having a vision that he would triumph under the sign of the Cross. In 313 his Edict of Milan allowed freedom of worship throughout the Western Empire. From 324 he ruled the whole Empire and moved its capital to Constantinople. He was baptised at his death.
Damasus, Saint (ca. 304–384), pope. He encouraged Jerome, who was for a time his secretary, in his revision of biblical texts, which led to the production of the Vulgate.
Desert Fathers. The first Christians to live as hermits or monks in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria, from the third century C.E., influencing the development of the Christian monastic way of life. They include Saints Anthony of Egypt, Basil, Pachomius, and Paul the Hermit.
Diocletian (245–316), Roman emperor (284–305) who instigated the “Great Persecution” as part of his efforts to stabilize the Roman Empire. From 303 he expelled Christian soldiers from the army, confiscated Church property, and finally demanded that Christians show their allegiance by worshipping the imperial cult or face death. The persecutions ended in 313 with Constantine’s Edict of Milan.
Eadburh (died 751), Saint, churchwoman and scribe. Of the Kentish royal family, she became abbess of Minster-in-Thanet, Kent. She is known largely from her correspondence with Saint Boniface, whose mission she, or her double monastery (male and female), supplied with copies of scripture, including luxuriously gilded volumes.
Eusebius of Ceasarea (ca. 260–ca. 339), bishop and historian. He wrote the early history of the Church from apostolic times, devised a concordance system with canon tables allowing comparison of episodes across the gospels, and was involved in the early ecumenical councils.
Godescalc (active 781–83), Frankish scribe. He was commissioned by Charlemagne and his wife Hildegard to write the lectionary that now bears his name; it is the earliest known manuscript produced at the Court School at Aachen.
Gregory the Great, Saint (ca. 540–604), pope (from 590) and statesman. He secured the Church’s position in Italy, influenced worship and Church music, and wrote widely on the Christian life. As part of his vision for the conversion of western Europe he dispatched Augustine to preach to the English.
Irenaeus (ca. 130–ca. 202), bishop of Lyon and theologian. His writings aimed at refuting heresy and establishing the canon of scripture, especially the primacy of the four gospels.
Jerome, Saint (ca. 347–419/20), a Father of the Church and biblical scholar. From 382 to 385 he was the secretary of Pope Damasus I in Rome, at whose request he began his revision and translation of the Old Latin Bible. In 386 he retired to Bethlehem to continue the work, which eventually led to the completion of his “Vulgate” Bible.
Maurdramnus (active 772–81), abbot of Corbie. During work on his six–volume revision of the Bible his scriptorium experimented with a new form of script, which could be rapidly copied and easily read—the earliest dateable example of caroline minuscule.
Tatian (active ca. 170), Syrian convert to Christianity and author, regarded by some as heretical. Only two of his works survive, the most important being the Diatessaron, a gospel harmony in which all the events of Christ’s life are recounted in a single narrative.
Theodulf (ca. 760–821), bishop of Orléans and theologian. A distinguished member of the court of Charlemagne, he prepared a revision of the Vulgate and wrote the Libri carolini, making pronouncements against idolatry.
Ulfilas (ca. 311–383), “Apostle to the Goths.” He is credited with inventing the Gothic script and wrote the first translation of the Bible in a Germanic language.