(c. 586—661) prior of Melrose

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(d. c.661), abbot of Melrose. Formed in the Irish monastic tradition by an unknown master and monastery, Boisil, when a monk of Melrose, was so esteemed for his learning, holiness, and prophecies that he attracted Cuthbert, then a young man, to his community in 651. Boisil was also known for the preaching journeys in the neighbouring villages which Cuthbert too used to share. In c.659, when Eata, abbot of Melrose, left to found Ripon, Boisil succeeded him. On Cuthbert's return from Ripon c.661, Boisil was stricken by the plague. Together they read the Gospel of John before Boisil died. Cuthbert also caught the disease, but recovered from it in accordance with Boisil's prophecy.

Boisil gave his name to St Boswells (Roxburghshire), and churches were dedicated to him at Lessuden and Tweedmouth. His relics were translated to Durham in the 11th century. The Stonyhurst College manuscript of the Gospel of John, written in uncial script of the 8th century and at an early date placed in Cuthbert's coffin, probably came from Wearmouth or Jarrow, both of which were founded after Boisil's death; if so, it cannot have been Boisil's copy. A more authentic memorial of Boisil is the large fragment of his 8th-century shrine, which was brought to Jedburgh from Old Melrose. Feast: 7 July; translation, 8 June.

From The Oxford Dictionary of Saints in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Christianity.

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