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Situated off the coast of County Durham, the island of Farne became a centre for spiritual meditation following the decision of St. Cuthbert to move there in AD 676 in order to lead the life of a hermit. Nearly 800 years later, monks were still living on the island, and it was one such monk who anonymously penned the series of intensely spiritual meditations on the Crucified Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Angels, Abraham and David, St. John the Evangelist and St. Cuthbert himself.

These seven meditations form a coherent whole, which reveals the author as one whose outlook was completely centred on the Person of Christ, and who, while being a strong traditionalist, was also sensitive to the more affective piety of his own day.

For the contemporary reader, the timeless elements of the Farne meditations offer both an outstanding chance to become familiar with a lesser known devotional tradition, and an opportunity to develop one's own spirituality along tried and tested lines. For the degrees of the love of God do not change from one age to another, and the strongly scriptural outlook of the Monk of Farne will appeal to the present age of revived interest in Biblical learning, while demonstrating convincingly how that learning can become personal, and definitive of the self of the believer.

David Hugh Farmer is the author of the bestselling Oxford Book of Saints, as well as of a short biography of St. Hugh of Lincoln. In 1980 he commemorated the fifteenth century of the birth of St. Benedict by editing Benedict's Disciples, which charts the development of Benedictine monasticism in Western Europe.

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