Posted by: anna | July 2, 2009

enraged pagans

Holy, glorious and right-victorious Juvenaly, Protomartyr of the Americas, pray for us.

I was looking up the saints of the day for today – and how modern is this, I was using the American Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan ‘online chapel‘ Google widget to do so! – and encountered St Juvenaly. Here is another life. I also keep an eye on the online calendar from an American Moscow parish for the Russian feasts, and our parish Google calendar.

Unfortunately there is something inherently funny about the phrasing of goarch’s description of his being ‘martyred by enraged pagans in 1796’. I was reminded of the story of another saint martyred by an enraged pagan, St Henry of Finland (or indeed England, or Uppsala). From, this intelligence:

‘Henry was an Englishman living in Rome. He accompanied the papal legate, Nicholas Cardinal Breakspear to Scandinavia in 1151 and was consecrated bishop of Uppsala, Sweden, the next year by the cardinal. Henry was with King Eric of Sweden in the latter’s invasion of Finland to punish Finnish pirates and remained behind when Eric returned to Sweden. Henry was murdered by a convert named Lalli, on whom he had imposed a penance for a murder he had committed. Henry is considered the patron saint of Finland, though he does not appear to have ever been formally canonized.’

So there we are. And not only martyred by an enraged pagan, but a murderous and treacherous enraged pagan. Why wasn’t he canonised? He doesn’t make it into the Orthodox lists either. I think he should be more widely rehabilitated. What a good story. It would be interesting to know more about the politics of it as well

Retrover (and others) have recorded a hymn to St Henry – in Latin! words from here

Ramus virens olivarum
per columbam panditur.
Binum genus animarum
arca Noë clauditur.

Ergo plebs Finnonica,
gaude de hoc dono,
quod facta es Catholica
verbi Dei sono.

Velut nostro demonstratur
doctore Finlandiae,
fides Christi dum fundatur,
linquenti terram Angliae.

Upsalensem præsulatum
regno rexit Sueciæ,
per Ericum sublimatum,
præ cultu fiduciæ.

Læti petunt Finnonum
terram pervenire,
cultum pellunt Dæmonum,
palmam reperiere.

Versus partes Rex Ericus
tendens domicilii,
Sanctus præsul hic Henricus
comes fit exilii,

Subit pænas patienter
palmam per martyrii.
Adest lictor vehementer
potum dans exitii.

Ergo plebs Finnonica,
gaude de hoc dono,
quod facta es Catholica
verbi Dei sono.

Here is a Swedish translation which I might put into English some time:

Oljekvist av duvan buren
kom grön ifrån flodens mark.
parvis vandrar alla djuren
och inlycks i Noaks ark.

Därför nu, allt Finlands folk,
dig gläd över gåvan:
du kristnats av en helig tolk
för Guds röst från ovan.

Härom fick oss vittne bära
vårt fosterlands lärofar,
lägga grund för Kristi lära.
Från England han kommen var.

Svea rikes biskops ära
i Uppsala stift han bar.
Främst i vakten om vår lära
av Erik han upphöjd var.

Ivrigt glada ses de hasta
att kusten i Finland nå,
djävulstro ur landet kasta
och segrarens palmer få.

Konung Erik skyndar åter
att nå till sitt rikes strand
Sankte Henrik då han låter
bli biskop i främlingsland.

Tåligt bär han plågor, gläds
att vinna martyrens palm.
Grymsint bödel är tillstädes,
ger drycken med dödens kvalm.

Därför nu, allt Finlands folk,
dig gläd över gåvan:
du kristnats av en helig tolk
för Guds röst från ovan.


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