Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/278

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A.D.999. bones of that great teacher, Bede. It is useless to search beyond the walls of this hospitable house for one single fragment of his relics."




§ 24. After Edmund's death, whilst the church of Durham was ruled by Egilric, a marvellous event happened as they were ministering at the altar, portending without doubt the wrath of God to such as presume unchastely to approach that holy mystery. There was a certain priest, Fleoccher by name, who lived an unchaste life with a wife. On a certain day many nobles and private individuals had assembled under him for the purpose of consultation, and asked him to celebrate the mass for them before their sitting. Now Fleoccher, who had but recently parted from his wife, refused, until at last, on their repeatedly asking him, the fear of men prevailed over the fear of God, and he consented. But at the moment of his being about to take the holy mystery, he saw the portion of our Lord's body, which had been put into the cup, mingled with blood, and changed into so black a colour, that it seemed more like pitch than bread and wine. He immediately perceived his offence, and turned pale, as if he was about to be at once consigned to the avenging flames. Moreover, he was in great doubt what to do with the cup, for he feared to drink it as if it were his own death; and yet, as it had been consecrated, he feared to throw it on the ground; wherefore he at last drank it, with much fear and trembling, but it was so bitter that nothing could exceed its bitterness. When the mass was over, he hastened to the bishop, and falling at his knees, related the circumstance in order, performed the penance which was enjoined on him, and lived chastely and