Feb 4 – Anskar

Feb 4 - Anskar

Bishop + Missionary to Denmark & Sweden
4 February 865

click here for books on Anskar

From the Satucket Lectionary

st. anskarAnskar (in Latin, Ansgarius) was a monk of Saxon family,  born in Corbie, France, in 801 (the year after the crowning of Charlemagne). In 826, when King Harald of Denmark asked Charlemagne’s successors for missionaries, Anskar led a group to Denmark, and a few years later to Sweden.  Because of unsettled political conditions, his work ran into difficulties, and Anskar withdrew into Germany, where he served as first Archbishop of Hamburg. Later, however, he helped to consecrate Gotbert, the first bishop of Sweden. The Church of Sweden honors him as its apostle, and he serves as symbol of the historic friendship and present-day connection between the Anglican Churches and the Church of Sweden.

by James Kiefer

In the north of Germany, in Denmark, and in Sweden, Anskar, who had been a monk at Corbey, on the Weser, laboured for thirty-nine years with earnest devotion and with great success (AD 826-865). In addition to preaching the Gospel of salvation, he did much in such charitable works as the building of hospitals and the redemption of captives; and he persuaded the chief men of  the country north of the Elba to give up their trade in slaves, which had been a source of great profit to them, but which Anskar taught them to regard as contrary to the Christian religion. Anskar was made archbishop of Hamburg and Bremen, and is styled “The Apostle of the North.” But he had to suffer many dangers and reverses in his endeavours to do good. At one time, when Hamburg was burnt by the Northmen, he lost his church, his monastery, his library, and other property; but he only said, with the patriarch Job, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” Then he set to work again, without being discouraged by what had befallen him, and he even made a friend of the heathen king who had led the attack on Hamburg. Anskar died in the year 865. It is told that when some of his friends were talking of miracles which he was supposed to have done, he said, “If I were worthy in my Lord’s sight, I would ask of Him to grant me one miracle–that He would make me a good man.”

from Sketches of Church History, by J. C. Robertson, publ. 1904 by SPCK, London

Also available, “Saint Anschar”, from The Catholic Encyclopedia, and The Life of Anskar, by his successor, Rimbert (also available from the Internet Archive).


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