St Wilfrid is one of the great saints of the seventh century. He was educated at the Irish monastery of Lindisfarne before spending some years at Lyon - where he was consecrated bishop - and in Rome. Some believe he came back an uncompromising supporter of Roman church customs, and attack him for uprooting the Celtic tradition by making the case against the Irish dating of Easter at the 'council' of Whitby. This work argues, however, that Wilfrid embraced early Christian spirituality in all its diversity, and was drawn into conflict only when he saw its fullness, its orthodox catholicity, threatened. An aristocrat, at ease in the exercise of power, he was equally at home in the service of the gospel.
Formerly principal of Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College in central Birmingham, John Nankivell was last year ordained priest by Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain and appointed priest-in-charge of a newly created community in Palfrey, Walsall to serve the Black Country. He is chairman of Orthodox Christian Books Ltd, a distributor of Orthodox literature.