St Liudger

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Bishop. Frisian by birth, Liudger was one of the eighth century Anglo Saxon missionaries who evangelised parts of northern Europe. He studied under Boniface at Utrecht and Alcuin at York. He then began preaching in remote areas of Frisia where Charlemagne had gone ahead breaking up pagan shrines.

In 777 he was ordained priest and built several churches. When the Saxons invaded the area they drove out the priests and sacked the new churches. Liudger took the opportunity to visit Rome and Monte Cassino during this time, staying there for two years. On his return to his homeland, he built a Benedictine monastery and set about rebuilding the ruined churches.

In contrast to Charlemagne who tried to convert people with the sword, Liudger became known for being gentle and persuasive. In 804 he was consecrated bishop of Munster. He built a monastery there.

When someone denounced him to Charlemagne for giving too much church money to the poor, the Emperor came to see him to ask if this were true. Liudger kept him waiting until he had finished his prayers but managed to remain in the royal favour.

Liudger died at Werden after a long illness. His relics remain there today. He has been venerated as a saint since the 9th century.

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