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Saint of the Day

St. Alphege of Canterbury

April 19
English, 954-1012, Martyr

Born to the nobility but gave it up to become a young monk at Deerhurst Abbey in Gloucestershire, England. Monk, anchorite and then abbot at Bath Abbey; known for his personal piety and austerity. Bishop of Winchester, England in 984. Built several churches, installed a cathedral organ so large that it could be heard a mile away, and his charity was so great that there were reported to be no beggars in his diocese. May have helped negotiate a peace treaty in 994 which ended some Viking raids.

Archbishop of Canterbury, England in 1006. Encouraged devotion to St. Dunstan of Canterbury. Translated the relics of St. Swithun to Canterbury. In 1011 Danes began raiding again, laid siege to Canterbury, sacked the town, and captured Alphege along with several other Church officials, all of whom were held for ransom. Reported to have healed many of sick Danes by praying over them and feeding them blessed bread. Alphege refused to approve the payment of ransom for himself, and after several months was murdered by angry drunken Vikings, the first archbishop of Canterbury to die violently. St. Thomas Becket was praying for St. Alphege's intercession just before he was murdered.

O loving God, whose martyr bishop Alphege of Canterbury suffered violent death when he refused to permit a ransom to be extorted from his people: Grant that all pastors of your flock may pattern themselves on the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep; and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Alphege of Canterbury, pray for us!

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