A FAMOUS Jarrow lad has inspired the new Pope, it was revealed today.
Pope Francis has chosen the words of the Venerable Bede as his personal motto and papal coat of arms.
The link between the Pope and Bede (672-735 AD), known as the Father of English History, was made plain this week at the pontiff’s inaugural mass in Rome.
Speaking in Latin, the new worldwide leader of the Catholic Church chose words from one of Bede’s homilies – “because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him” – as his motto.
HRH The Duke of Gloucester, the patron of Bede’s World, in Church Bank, Jarrow, was representing the Queen at the mass and quickly recognised the scriptural link with the Venerable Bede, who lived, studied and died on the banks of the River Don in Jarrow, 1,300 years ago.
The Pope originally chose the phrase from Bede’s homily, which is a reflection on a passage from the Gospel of St Matthew, while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
The Duke of Gloucester later met Pope Francis and congratulated him on adopting the phrase from Bede’s writings, while also expressing the wish that His Holiness would visit Bede’s World one day.
Although Pope Francis apparently did not respond to the Duke’s invitation to South Tyneside, Bede’s World officials are “delighted” with the papal link between the Pope and the Jarrow museum.
Mike Benson, director of Bede’s World, said: “We are delighted that Bede’s continuing relevance has received such a ringing endorsement.
“It is a remarkable thought that a local man, who came to school here as a child, has an influence that endures so many centuries later.
“And our programme of community activities today show that his inspiration will last long into the future too.”