Saint Days: Alphage, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr
Alphage (954-1012) joined a monetary as a young man. He rose through the ranks quickly, eventually becoming an abbot. He was consecrated Bishop of Winchester in 984 and the age of about 30. As Bishop, he had a massive cathedral organ constructed in his church which could be heard over a mile away. He built many new churches in his diocese and expanded the old ones. He helped bring a Viking leader named Olaf into the Church after they invaded England. Alphage most likely played a role in establishing a peace treaty too.
In 1006, he became Archbishop of Canterbury. After serving for five years, the Danes raided England and placed Canterbury under siege. Alphage as captured when the city was sacked and they held him as a prisoner for seven months. He refused to allow the English people to pay a ransom for his freedom. As a result, the barbarians humiliated him and threw animal bones at him until he was murdered by being hit in the head with the butt of an axe, making him the first Archbishop of Canterbury to be martyred for his faith.
Let us remember Alphage in our prayers today:
Almighty God, who gave to your servant St. Alphage boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.