Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Saint Ansgar — Apostle to the Vikings

St. Ansgar

Saint Ansgar (801-865)
Image Courtesy: St.Martin of Tours

(Franciscan Media) The ‘Apostle of the North’ (Scandinavia) had enough frustrations to become a Saint and he did.

Ansgar became a Benedictine at France Corbie, where he had been educated–Three years later when the King of Denmark became a convert, he went there for 3 years of missionary work without noticeable success.

Sweden asked for Christian missionaries, Ansgar went there, suffering capture by pirates together with other hardships. Fewer than two years later, Ansgar was recalled to become ‘Abbot of New Corbie and Bishop of Hamburg’ — the Pope made him a Legate (personal representative) for the Scandinavia missions–fund for the northern apostle stopped with Emperor Louis’ death.

After 13 yrs work in Hamburg, Ansgar saw it burned to the ground by invading Northmen — Sweden and Denmark returned to paganism.

Ansgar directed new apostolic activities in the north, traveling to Denmark and being instrumental in the conversion of another King–By the strange device of casting lots, the King of Sweden, allowed the Christian missionaries to return.

Biographers of Ansgar remark, that he was an extraordinary theologian, a humble and ascetic priest, devoted to the poor and sick, imitating the Lord by washing their feet and waiting on them at the table. Ansgar passed away peacefully in Germany Breman in 865

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