St William of Roskilde

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Bishop. This Anglo Saxon priest was chaplain to Canute, king of England and Denmark from 1016-1035. He accompanied him on several trips to Scandinavia and became so concerned about the ignorance and superstition there, he decided to stay behind and preach the Gospel.

A caring and tireless pastor, William lived in Zeeland and eventually became bishop of Roskilde. In the early years he had many struggles with the fierce king Sweyn Estriden.

One day, after the king pursued and killed several alleged criminals in a church, violating sanctuary, William banned him from the sacraments until he repented. Several of Sweyn's courtiers drew their swords, threatening to kill the saint, but, in a great stand-off, William showed he was not afraid to die. The king was so mortified by this incident he confessed his crime and donated land to Roskilde church by way of a peace offering. From that time on the two men became friends and worked together to spread the faith.

King Sweyn died in 1070 and St William died a few days later while waiting outside the church to receive the king's body. They were buried together at Roskilde.

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