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The paper focuses on the correspondence of Anglo-Saxon nuns with St. Winfred Boniface and his disciple St. Lul, preaching in Germany in the fi rst part of the 8th century. Based on the analysis of more than a dozen of epistolary texts, the author reveals the importance of epistolary practice in the daily affairs of Anglo-Saxon noble nuns. Nuns-aristocrats entered into a correspondence with the missionaries, primarily in search of companionship and emotional support. The greater part of the letters recreates the atmosphere of trust and emotional unity of Christians regardless of gender and distance. The correspondents help each other, give advice and share spiritual experience, discussing their problems and feelings. The abbesses complain about the workload of everyday administrative affairs, fi nancial diffi culties, quarrels among the nuns and brethren, as well as the absence of those who could give valuable advice and maintain the monastery’s interests. According to the author, the epistolary texts illustrate an ambiguous position of Anglo-Saxon abbesses of the 8th century. On the one hand, the abbesses of the double monasteries possessed infl uence and authority. On the other hand, the powerful ill-wishers’ intrigues caused many diffi culties which immediately affected the status of the abbess and the life of her community.


Anglo-Saxon England, medieval monasticism, saint Winfred Boniface, Anglo- Saxon abbesses, early medieval Church, epistolary genre

Irina I. Boldyreva

Voronezh State Medical University named after N.N. Burdenko, Voronezh, Russia

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