Saint Edmund the Martyr

Feast day 20 November. Vespers for the feast of the saint on Friday 19 November at 7.00pm.

Of his life little is known. In the year 869 the Danes, who had been wintering at York, marched through Mercia into East Anglia and took up their quarters at Thetford. Edmund engaged them fiercely in battle, but the Danes under their leaders Ubba and Inguar were victorious and remained in possession of the field of battle. The king himself was slain, whether on the actual field of battle or in later martyrdom is not certain, but the widely current version of the story which makes him fall a martyr to the Danish arrows when he had refused to renounce his faith or hold his kingdom as a vassal from the heathen overlords must have arisen early, for the St. Edmund pennies afford evidence of his veneration by c. 890–910. He was ultimately buried at Beadoricesworth (now Bury St. Edmund’s, West Suffolk), where his shrine became famous.

St. Edmund was one of the most widely venerated native saints in Anglo-Saxon England. More than 60 churches were dedicated to him. He is usually represented with crown and arrows and considered a patron against the plague.

(born 841/842 – died Nov. 20, 869; feast day November 20)

Apolytikion in the Fourth Mode:

In his sufferings the Martyr King Edmund, exchanged an earthly crown for a heavenly one, and making glad in Your strength Christ our God, he overcame his tormentors and laid low the vanities of the demons. Now let all the peoples of this land make glad with him that through his prayers our souls may be saved.

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