Christian missionary, Bishop of Lindisfarne. ? - 651
He neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men of the world. He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever on his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, he sought to strengthen them in their faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works. - Bede
Little is known of his early life, including his birth date, prior to his arrival in England at the invitation of Oswald of Northumbria. Born in Ireland, he studied under St. Senan, at Iniscathay. He later became Bishop of Clogher, but quit to become a monk at Iona about 630. He came to England in 635 to carry out missionary activity in the North of England. When given the island of Lindisfarne, he proceeded to build a monastery there, and proceeded to train others to proclaim the Gospel throughout Britain.
He founded many churches in the North of England and demonstrated great patience and consideration for others, including freeing and educating many Anglo-Saxon slaves. His religious convictions were shown in his pious practices, including fasting and meditation. This extended into his running of the monastery - he himself took the lead in practicing vows of poverty, chastity and detachment from the world. His charity was legendary - when given a horse by King Oswin, he gave it away to a poor family. Bede thought very highly of Aidan, praising him for his love of prayer, study, peace, purity, and humility as well as for his care of the sick and the poor.
He founded the monastery to train missionaries, and was responsible to encouraging the production of many works of Celtic art, including many illuminated manuscripts.
Aidan died in 651 at Bamburgh and was intially buried in the cemetery at Lindisfarne, before his remains were disinterred, some of his bones being removed to Ireland. His feast day is 31st August, the anniversary of his death.