Shrine of St. Frideswide, Christ Church Cathedral Oxford.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Feast, July 29; Olaf of Norway

Saint Olaf was the King of Norway in the eleventh century. Originally he was the son of a  Norwegian lord, but after fighting for King Ethelred Unread against the Danes, and becoming a christian he returned to Norway and usurped the throne. However, after doing so, he reigned kindly and justly, and succeeded in expanding the church in Norway, which included the founding of the Archdiocese of Nidaros in what is now Trondheim. Olaf was later exiled in 1029 after a rebellion against his Christian enthusiasm. In 1030 he tried to return by fighting at the battle of Stiklestad on July 29. He was buried but water springing from his grave was quickly reported along with other miracles. His body was later translated to a shrine in the Nidaros Cathedral ( where it remains behind the high alter) by Grimkell, the Archbishop. His cult was one of the most popular in the Scandinavian kingdoms, and was also popular in the British Isles, and the pilgrimage route (known as St. Olaf's way) to Trondheim is still traveled. His attributes are a crown and an ax, with which he was killed. At top is the Nidaros Cathedral and below that is a crosier depicting St. Olaf with the ax.

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