Tuesday, May 13, 2014

St. Erconwald

Like I mentioned earlier in the year, I'm still covering saints when they jump out at me, which usually means when I find one with a totally rad name. That means plenty of Anglo-Saxons. Erconwald was born into a noble family in Britain in the seventh century. His father was a pagan king. Erconwald converted to Christianity after meeting St. Mellitus, the first bishop of London.  He then converted and baptized his sister, Ethelburga. 

In 666, he founded a Benedictine monastery on an island in the Thames and convent for his sister in Essex. This was partly to help her escape an arranged marriage to a pagan. In 675, he became bishop of London and began working on St. Paul’s. St. Paul’s was adapted from a Londinium pagan temple. Many miracles were attributed to him, both during his life and after his death.

He was confined to a wheelchair for the later part of his life. Erconwald died peacefully at his sister's convent in 693. He was buried at St. Paul’s. In 1087, a fire destroyed the cathedral, but his coffin and remains survived. He was reburied behind the high altar of the new cathedral. His tomb and relics were plundered during the English Reformation.

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