jul 152009
 

“I dag blir rekna som minnedag for St. Svithun, som er Stavangers skytshelgen. Svithun er ikkje blant dei mest kjende helgenane, men her i Stavanger-distriktet er namnet hans godt kjent, også i vår tid. Sjølv har eg i barndomen sykla på Svithunsykkel, eg har vore tilsett på St. Svithun vidaregåande skule og eg har hatt mange flotte opplevingar i domkyrkja, som er vigd til St. Svithun. Det bør vel også nemnast at St. Svithun katolske menighet er ein av dei største kyrkjelydane i byen i dag. … “

Slik skriver en norsk, luthersk prest om St Svithun – og på en engelskspråklig blogg kan vi lese:

Today is traditionally the feast of St Swithun, bishop of Winchester. If people know anything about him, it tends to be the legend that associates his feast day with summer weather. Should it rain today, the legend states, it will rain for forty days. If it stays fine today, then it will supposedly stay fine for forty days. When Saint Swithun died in 862, his mortal remains were buried at his own request outside the old minster of Winchester. There his grave could be walked upon and there it lay open to the gentle elements; a bishop must be humble, even in death. In 971, however, after the construction of the new minster in Winchester they moved his body from the original grave and into the new church where a shrine was established until the Reformation (now re-established). …

… he was a glorious individual. He was chaplain to King Egbert and King Aethelwulf, respectively the grandfather and father of King Alfred the Great. He persuaded Aethelwulf to tithe his royal lands in Wessex to the Church, and undertook his own campaign of church building and reconstructions. The 840s and 850s were grim for Wessex as the Danish invader threatened its security. It would not be until 878 and the battle of Ethandun that Alfred would take a significant step in reducing the Danish menace. In these black times, it was undoubtedly Swithun’s words which kept the royal house of Wessex going.

Swithun was also a hero of the poor and enjoyed inviting them to banquets the doors of which were closed to the rich! One story claims that he miraculously restored one lady’s basket of eggs which had been maliciously broken by some workmen. Who can doubt but that he had an immense impact on Alfred who was thirteen when Swithun died and who must have heard him preach many times? Perhaps he even heard the young prince’s confessions. …

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