Posted by: anna | August 18, 2009

St Oswald

12th century wall painting from Durham Cathedral
St. Oswald, king and martyr (642)

Durham Cathedral provides perhaps the best concise overview: ‘Oswald was king of the Northumbrians. On coming to the throne he sent to Ireland for a bishop to teach his people the Christian faith and Aidan came. Oswald accompanied Aidan on many of his travels, acting as translator when Aidan preached. As the Christian faith spread in Northumbria, churches were built and Oswald endowed several monasteries. He was known for his piety and his generosity in giving to the poor. Despite his work to bring peace to warring provinces, he was killed in battle in 642 and tradition holds that his head is buried in Cuthbert’s tomb. ‘

There is a good summary here on the Catholic Encyclopedia. Michelle of Heavenfield has been working on Oswald for some time and provides some interesting facts about him. Not to be confused with Oswald, Archbishop of York, whose feast is celebrated on 29 February. Wikipedia has a rather good article, which also mentions the moste excellente Olde Englisshe word twistle, ‘boundary stream’, found in the Lancashire place name Oswaldtwistle. Oswald is another saint who has his own commemoration prayers in English, provided by Fr Andrew Phillips of orthodoxengland. The texts make me realise that somewhere there is a lot more detail about many of these saints’ lives, witness and miracles. I am working on tracking it down and finding other Orthodox in this country who are interested in their own saints. Oswald is remembered and honoured at Durham Cathedral – here’s one of several sermons preached there on his feast.

Troparion of St Oswald tone 5
Example to kings, champion of the Faith and missionary of God’s Holy Word, thou didst excel in spiritual virtues O Father Oswald. With Aidan’s help thou didst lift from Northumbria the heavy yoke of heathenism and fearing nothing, thou didst confront the forces of darkness, thereby exchanging thy earthly crown for the crown of martyrdom. We who are blessed to have thy precious relics with us to this day entreat thee for thy prayers that Christ our God will grant us His great mercy.

Holy St Oswald, pray to God for us.

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