Posted by: anna | July 21, 2011

St Sunniva of Bergen

icons of St Sunniva and St Hallvard – in an Orthodox church of St Nicholas , somewhere in Norway! I took the image from here; WSIP doesn’t know where it comes from.
Today (8 July) in the calendar of early western saints we commemorate St Sunniva, patron of Bergen (10th century). From Miss Dunbar:

St. Sunniva, July 8 (SUMMINA, SUMMIVA, SUMNIVA, SUNIFA, SUNIFRA, SUNIVA, SlNEVO, SlNNEY,  SOMMINE SONNEVA, etc.), V. M. end of 10th century. Patron of Bergen. A princess, probably Irish, who to avoid marrying a heathen, fled from her native land with a considerable following. They were driven by a storm to the coast of Norway ; the natives attacked them and they again put to sea and landed on the island of Sello where they converted some of the inhabitants. Earl Hakon persecuted them and Sunniva prayed that the rocks might fall upon them : her prayer was answered. In 995 their remains were discovered and two churches were built on the island. In 1170 Sunniva was translated to Bergen. She has dedications in Orkney and Shetland. Report of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, May, 1878. The Bollandists say that she was taken with seven companions by pirates to  Norway, where the innocence of their lives converted some of the natives to Christianity. The Rev. S. Baring Gould regards the legend as a variant of that of ST. URSULA. AASS. Greven, Auctaria. Metcalfe, Passio B. Olavi.
  • commemoration service composed by Reader Isaac Lambertson, on orthodoxengland. His compositions are beautiful, using acrostics and other poetic forms traditional in liturgical texts, and so often lost in translation.
  • A little about the life of Mother Mary, who now lives as an Orthodox monastic in St Sunniva Skete in the Shetlands
  • and a report on a visit to Norway by +Seraphim, Archbishop of Ottawa and Canada
  • There is a ferry named for her in the Shetlands – what a good idea! Ferries are a lifeline in small island communities, and they have to contend with all kinds of perils, so they could do with a patron saint. I also love that there is a Shetlopedia 🙂
Troparion from the above service:
Most blessed were the chaste royal virgin Sunniva and those who died with her,
for the King of kings, showing them His grace and favour,
in His compassion and loving-kindness delivered them from the hand of the infidel,
and made them to dwell with the saints and angels in paradise.
Glory to Him Who hath saved them!
Glory to Him Who hath crowned them!
Glory to Him Who worketh all-glorious wonders through His faithful martyrs!
Holy Sunniva, pray to God for us.

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