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St. Aelfheah
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Religious Figure
    (954-April 19, 1012)
    Born in Weston, England, United Kingdom
    Also known as St. Alphege, St. Alfege and Aelfheah of Canterbury
    Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Winchester, promoted to Archbishop of Canterbury in 1006
    Taken prisoner by the Vikings (September 29, 1011)
    Murdered by his captors seven months later (April 19, 1012)
    Canonized to sainthood by Pope Gregory VII in 1078 (with April 19th set as his feast day)
    He became an anchorite (a religious hermit who withdraws from secular society to pray continuously), breaking his widowed mother's heart.
    After succeeding Aelfric as Archbishop of Canterbury, he brought along the head of St. Swithun to the new location as a relic. (WTF?)
    He would not allow a ransom to be paid in exchange for his freedom, so he was killed.
    Because the death blow was delivered by an axe, at times he is represented in art (as an Archbishop) with an axe cleaving his skull.
    While Bishop of Winchester, he helped construct a colossal organ in the cathedral, audible from over a mile away.
    He helped confirm King Olaf (Tryggvason) of Norway to Christianity, which stopped Viking raids for six years (994-1000), until the king's death.
    He was betrayed to the Vikings by Aelfmaer, Bishop of Sherborne, whose life he had once saved (ingrate).
    The leader of the Vikings who captured him, Thorkell the Tall, tried to keep his men from killing him, but they were drunk and not in a 'spare the religious guy' mood.
    He was slowly tortured, so a Christian convert named Thrum hit him in the head with the back of his axe to end his suffering.
    He was not afforded burial for days, until a dead stick with his blood on it sprouted green and began to blossom, convincing them they'd better do right by this guy.
    Buried in a tomb near the high altar of Canterbury Cathedral, Thomas Becket commended his life to St. Aelfheah's care shortly before he was murdered.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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