Sunday 5 August 2018

# Saints

Saint Oswald of Northumbria

The 5th of August is the feast day of Saint Oswald of Northumbria (c 604 – 5 August 641/642). From 634 till his death, he was King of Northumbria and a martyr.

Saint Oswald was the second son of a pagan king of Northumbria which is in northern England. His father was killed in battle and the kingdom split. His uncle took the throne and Oswald with his mother and brothers fled to Scotland. His family converted to the Christian faith by the works of the monks of Iona. Educated by the monks, Oswald grew up to brave and pious. His uncle died and so did his older brother, Oswald then tried to reclaim his throne and liberate his people from their enemies. He received a vision of Saint Columba, promising him success during the eve of a decisive battle. Before the battle, Oswald erected a cross and knelt before it praying, with the rest of his army. After the victory of the battle, Saint Oswald was made King, reuniting Northumbria. He was considered an Emperor of most of Britain, as he united the Britons, Picts, Scots and the English. Ushering in Northumbria’s “golden age” he requested a bishop to be sent to assist in converting the people to Christianity, he invited Saint Aidan with a group of monks from Iona to found a monastery in Lindisfarne. Northumbria became known as an important centre for learning and the arts. Saint Oswald was humble and generous to the poor and strangers. He was killed in battle and the place where he was martyred was known for its miracles.

Image: A 12th-century painting of St Oswald in Durham Cathedral