Posted by: anna | August 11, 2009

St Olaf, Enlightener of Norway

St. Olaf, king, protomartyr and patron saint of Norway (1030)

Olaf II (Óláfr Haraldsson) of Norway is a good example of a famous historical figure whose life is well-documented but much disputed. There are many sources for Olaf’s life, notably the Old Norse saga Heimskringla (The World’s Circle) by Snorri Sturluson. This American Roman Catholic congregation provides a very quick nutshell of Olaf’s Life and Law. There are plenty of scholarly studies and evaluations of the sources, and I don’t propose to give anything like a summary of St Olaf’s life and activities here. Suffice to say that it was his cult (in the sense of devotion) and memory that more than anything else unified Norway as a Christian nation.

One side note that interests me is that Olaf was engaged to my patron saint, Anna of Novgorod (then Ingegerd Olofsdotter, daughter of the Swedish king Olof Skötkonung), but that marriage did not take place owing to some dispute that arose (as they did) between Norway and Sweden.

Another new e-resource: there are TONS of flickr groups dedicated to Orthodox icons and other images – here’s a list created from searching for ‘orthodox icon’ throughout flickr groups. I’m sure there are more. And another pilgrimage idea – the road to Nidaros. The cathedral and the city have different names. Nidaros, ‘mouth of the Nid river’, was the old name for the city now called Trondheim, and is still the name of the cathedral (dedicated Christ Church). Trondheim is still pronounced according to the old spelling, Trondhjem, tronn-yem rather than trond-hyme.

And another one for western saints: orthodoxengland (Fr Andrew Phillips) provides lots of service texts in English (and Russian, and French) for feasts of a good number of English saints – what in the West are called the Propers for the Office of the saint’s feast.

Troparion (Tone V)
Desiring the supernal glory of God, thou didst toil for Him to the end of thine earthly life; and, having laboured well, thou didst increase the talent He entrusted to thy care, being faithful to Him even to the shedding of thy blood. Wherefore, as a martyr thou hast received a crown for thy pangs from the right hand of Christ our God, Whom do thou earnestly entreat, that we be saved who hymn thee, O glorious King Olav.

Holy St Olaf, pray to God for us.

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