Friday, February 3, 2017

The Feast Of Anskar

Saint Anskar, (September 8, 801 – February 3, 865), was the Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen known as the "Apostle of the North" and is the patron saint of Scandinavia.

A native of France, Anskar devoted himself to a spiritual life while still a boy after seeing a vision of his deceased mother with the Virgin Mary. In his twenties he became a missionary, first to Denmark and then Sweden, where he met with mixed success among the native pagan population. In 831 he was appointed archbishop. Political divisions of the Frankish lands and the sack of Hamburg by the Danes dealt him severe setbacks in the early 840s. Later, he was able to establish amicable relations with certain Scandinavian monarchs and succeeded in establishing a number of churches. He died in Bremen in 865.

Anskar is remembered on the Episcopal Church calendar as his ministry serves as a reverent connection between Anglicanism and Swedish Lutheranism [the latter sharing a belief in the "apostolic succession" of bishops, a theological point not shared in the rest of Lutheranism].

Almighty and everlasting God, you sent your servant Anskar as an apostle to the people of Scandinavia, and enabled him to lay a firm foundation for their conversion, though he did not see the results of his labors: Keep your Church from discouragement in the day of small things, knowing that when you have begun a good work you will bring it to a fruitful conclusion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.