Brother of Saint Cedd and Saint Cynibild. Missionary monk to Ireland with Saint Egbert. Ordained in 653. Studied Latin and astronomy. Abbot at Lastingham monastery, Yorkshire, England; abbot to Saint Owen.
Not long after Chad became abbot, Saint Wilfrid of York was chosen Bishop of Lindisfarne, a see which was soon moved to York. Wilfrid went to Gaul for consecration, and stayed so long that King Oswiu declared the see vacant and procured the election of Chad as bishop of York. Chad felt unworthy, but threw himself into the new vocation, travelling his diocese on foot, evangelizing where he could. When Wilfrid returned in 666, Saint Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, decided that Chad’s episcopal consecration was invalid, and that Chad must give up the diocese to Wilfrid. Chad replied that he had never thought himself worthy of the position, that he took it through obedience, and he would surrender it through obedience. Theodore, astonished at this humility, consecrated Chad himself, and appointed him bishop of the Mercians in Lichfield in 669.
He founded monasteries, including those at Lindsey and Barrow-upon-Humber, evangelized, travelled and preached, reformed monastic life in his diocese, and built a cathedral on land that had been the site of the martyrdom of 1,000 Christians by the pagan Mercians. Miraculous cures reported at the wells he caused to be dug for the relief of travellers.
Legend says that on one occasion two of the king‘s sons were hunting, were led by their quarry to the oratory of Saint Chad where they found him praying. They were so impressed by the sight of the frail old man upon his knees, his face glowing with rapture, that they knelt, asked his blessing, and converted. The pagan King Wulfhere was so angry that he slew his sons, and hunted down Saint Chad for some of the same. But as he approached the bishop‘s cell, a great light shone through its single window, and the king was almost blinded by its brightness; he abandoned his plan for revenge.
During storms, Chad would go to chapel and pray continually. He explained, “God thunders forth from heaven to rouse people to fear the Lord, to call them to remember the future judgment…when God will come in the clouds in great power and majesty to judge the living and the dead. And so we ought to respond to God‘s heavenly warning with due fear and love so that as often as God disturbs the sky, yet spares us still, we should implore God‘s mercy, examining the innermost recesses of our hearts and purging out the dregs of our sins, and behave with such caution that we may never deserve to be struck down.”
: I still get email from visitors asking if Chad is the patron of elections, disputes, disputed elections, losers, or some other element related to 2000‘s disputed American presidential election. I have absolutely no evidence that there are patrons of elections, and certainly none that Chad has anything to do with it. It was not until 31 October 2000 that politicians and elected officials received a patron, and that’s Saint Thomas More. Times were rough in 7th century England, but I have no record of Chad hanging, dangling, dimpled or pregnant. As you see above, he was involved in a disputed election, but no patronage tradition resulted. Also note that when a dispute arose, Chad stepped aside for the greater good. Wish our current politicians had such grace; but no one ever accused them of being saints. - Terry
- 2 March 672 at Lichfield, England of natural causes after a brief illness, probably the plague
- some relics preserved in the cathedral of Saint Chad in Birmingham, England
- bishop holding Lichfield Cathedral and a branch, usually a vine
- bishop holding the cathedral in the midst of a battlefield with the dead surrounding him
- man with a hart leading hunters to him by a pool
- converting Saint Wulfhald and Saint Rufinus who converted on finding him in chapel while they were hunting
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Brittania Biographies
- Catholic Online
- Catholic Encyclopedia
- Christian Biographies, by James Keifer
- Early British Kingdoms, by David Nash Ford
- Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, Book IV by the Venerable Bede
- Katherine Rabenstein
- Lives of the Saints, by Father Alban Butler
- Medieval Religion Listserv, by John Dillon
- New Catholic Dictionary
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints, by Matthew Bunson, Margaret Bunson, and Stephen Bunson
- Oxford Dictionary of Saints
- Prayers of the Saints, edited by Cecil Headlam
- R W Morrell, an article about Saint Chad’s Well
King Oswy sent to Kent a holy man of modest character, well versed in the Scriptures, and practicing with diligence what he had learned from them, to be ordained bishop of the church of York…. But when they reached Kent, they found that Archbishop Deusdedit had departed this life and that as yet no other had been appointed in his place.
Thereupon they turned aside to the province of the West Saxons, where Wine was bishop, and by him the above mentioned Chad was consecrated bishop, two bishops of the British nation, who kept Easter in contravention of the canonical custom from the 14th to the 20th of the moon, being associated with him, for at that time there was no other bishop in all Britain canonically ordained besides Wine. Saint Theodore of Canterbury had not yet arrived.
As soon as Chad had been consecrated bishop, he began most strenuously to devote himself to ecclesiastical truth and purity of doctrine and to give attention to the practice of humility, self- denial and study: to travel about, not on horseback, but on foot, after the manner of the apostles, preaching the Gospel in the towns and the open country, in cottages, villages and castles, for he was one of Aidan’s disciples and tried to instruct his hearers by acting and behaving after the example of his master and of his brother Cedd. - Venerable Bede
Almighty God, whose servant Chad, for the peace of the Church, relinquished cheerfully the honors that had been thrust upon him, only to be rewarded with equal responsibility: Keep us, we pray, from thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and ready at all times to step aside for others, (in honor preferring one another,) that the cause of Christ may be advanced; in the name of him who washed his disciples’ feet, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. - prayer on the feast of Saint Chad
The beloved Guest who would visit our brethren has deigned to come to me also this day and to summon me from the world. Turn your steps to the church and bid the brethren to commend in their prayers my going hence to God, and to remember to prepare for their own departure, the hour of which is yet uncertain, by watching and by praying and by good works. - having been warned of approaching death, Saint Chad speaks to his brothers
- “Saint Chad“. Saints.SQPN.com. 28 May 2013. Web. 18 June 2013. <>