1350 years after Wilfrid built his church on this site, the influence of this saint can still be felt – far from these shores!
As part of Ripon Cathedral 1350 celebrations, the Dean wrote to every Anglican community around the world to ask to be put in touch with any church dedicated to St Wilfrid; the result was 7 churches in 4 countries plus a request from Bishop Seth Ndayirukiye from the diocese of Matana, in the east-central African country of Burundi that he name a brand-new church in his Diocese after St Wilfrid.
So in August 2021 the church of St Wilfrid in the diocese of Matana was dedicated; now Bishop Seth visits the original inspiration – the cathedral church of St Wilfrid and St Peter – and sees for himself the Crypt built by Wilfrid, the oldest built fabric of any English cathedral.
Bishop Ndayirukiye said: “It is with great joy that we are still worshipping the Lord. I was inspired by his (St Wilfrid’s) humility, prayer and ministry of evangelism and I encouraged all the pastors present to adopt St.Wilfrid’s commitment and character.”
The bishop went on to speak of St Wilfrid’s adherence to the Benedictine Rule which he introduced to Ripon. “The life of this remarkable church leader and his dedication to ministry can inspire us in many different ways today. I appreciate your prayers and we will continue praying for you as your celebrate 1350 years of faith and heritage.”
This landlocked country, bordered by Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to one of the world’s poorest populations with a history of political strife and civil wars. Apart from the country’s St Peter’s Cathedral, churches here have not been given names, until now!
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL said: “I was delighted on hearing of Bishop Seth’s decision to dedicate his new church to St. Wilfrid. I was especially to pleased to hear how Bishop Seth is encouraged and inspired by St. Wilfrid’s zeal for evangelism and commitment to the Church’s mission. Burundi and England are very different contexts but both need to hear of the love of God, as revealed in Christ, in the 21st century. We have much to learn from Wilfrid as we shape and equip the Church in our generation to share that good news for all people.”