Faith & Life

SAINT PROFILE: OLAF

CIRCA 990 – 1030; Feast – July 29

By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE     8/3/2015

A Norwegian lord’s son, Olaf was a youthful pirate who became a Christian in Normandy. In 1015 he inherited his father’s lands and fought his way to Norway’s kingship the next year. His upstart dynasty brought peace and security after years of warring with Sweden and Denmark. He aimed to make Norway a Christian country, but often used force to achieve this. England and Denmark helped Norwegian rebels unseat him in 1029, and he was killed in battle, trying to reclaim the throne. His archbishop, an Englishman, began his cult by building a chapel over his tomb and declaring him a saint. For medieval Scandinavians, Olaf was a champion of both Christianity and Viking military prowess. He is the patron saint of Norway.

 

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