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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Edmund, King of East Anglia, 870M.

In 833 with the strong support of the Christian clergy, Edmund became King of East Anglia, one of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. By that time the Anglo-Saxons had been thoroughly Christianized and Edmund strove to be a model Christian king. He devoted himself to the worship of God, to learning, and to the administration of justice and charity.

However, in 870 his kingdom was overrun by an army of Danes. They captured the king and offered him his life if he would accept Danish law and custom and share authority with a pagan leader. He saw that such a compromise would result in injustice to his people, further imperil the life of the church, and dilute the character of his nation. He declined. The Danish soldiers stripped him and tied him to a tree. They whipped him, and their archers used him for a target, torturing him by firing arrows into his limbs and nonvital parts of his body. The Danish king finally ordered that Edmund's head be severed from his body.

Edmund was buried at a place which came to be called Bury St. Edmunds. It became one of the principal shrines of medieval England and the site of a great Benedictine monastery. His life is a symbol of good Christian leadership in the secular realm and his death is a Christian witness of uncompromising integrity and fidelity.

Keep us safe from evil assaults. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God of ineffable mercy, you gave grace and fortitude to blessed Edmund the king to triumph over the enemy of his people by nobly dying for your Name: Bestow on us your servants the shield of faith with which we can withstand the assaults of our ancient enemy; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

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