Friday, April 19, 2013

The Feast Of Alphege, 953-1012

Archbishops of Canterbury used to be absolute fire-eaters, to use an English expression.  About fifty years before William the Conqueror and the Normans invaded Britain, the Danes did so and established their king.  When tribute [bribes] was demanded of the church, Alphege politely, but resolutely, told the Danes that it wasn't going to happen.  A collection of drunks then abused and murdered him for not giving them money.  [Interestingly, something similar happened to a Jamaican priest just a few years ago, although not by Danes.] 

More about him may be found here.  By rough count, about eighteen Archbishops of Canterbury have been martyred or otherwise killed for their faith.  Nowadays, they are simply ridiculed by the BBC and Oxford faculty.

O loving God, your 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.