Saint Eric de Suède
Roi de Suède (✝ 1160)
ou Henri. Martyr d'origine anglaise.
Éric IX, gendre du Roi de Suède Smercher, élu pour lui succéder en 1141. Il montra grand soin pour l'administration de la justice. Il usa de toute son influence pour évangéliser ses sujets par la codification des lois de son royaume qu'il rédigea dans un esprit chrétien, sans vouloir les forcer à la conversion. Il travailla à la conversion des Finlandais et les ayant subjugués, décida de conquérir la Finlande, autant pour l'expansion de son domaine que pour y porter l'Évangile.
Il fut assassiné en haine de la Foi, à sa sortie d'une messe, le 18 mai 1160, à Turku, port situé au sud-ouest de la Finlande.
À Upsala en Suède, l’an 1160, saint Éric IX, roi et martyr. Il s’employa à gouverner le peuple dans son royaume avec sagesse et à protéger les droits des femmes, il envoya saint Henri comme évêque en Finlande pour y propager la foi du Christ et enfin, attaqué par les Danois alors qu’il assistait à la messe, il tomba sous les coups de ses ennemis.
Eric était roi de Suède au milieu du XIIe siècle. Fondateur d'une dynastie suédoise rivale de celle des Sverker, le prince Éric succède à son père le roi Jedward en 1156. Il se montre vaillant défenseur de l'Église, menant une croisade pour la conversion de la Finlande restée païenne. Il veille à améliorer la condition des femmes et des épouses, souvent traitées en esclaves. Cependant, la Suède est attaquée par Magnus Henriksson, roi du Danemark, lequel prétend avoir des droits sur le royaume d'Erik. Le roi assistait à la Messe en la cathédrale d'Upsal. On vient l'avertir que son ennemi approche pour l'attaquer. Il ne bouge pas et continue à suivre l'Office jusqu'au bout. Il tombera sous les coups de son adversaire le 18 mai 1161.
Le jour du sacrifice du roi Erik pour sa foi et sa patrie est devenu fête nationale en Suède. Son étendard aura dans l'histoire de ce pays un rôle semblable à la bannière de saint Denis en France.
Eric est un nom d'étymologie germanique qui signifie honneur (ehre) et roi (rik).
Eric est un nom d'étymologie germanique qui signifie honneur (ehre) et roi (rik).
Rédacteur: Frère Bernard Pineau, OP
Chasse de saint Éric à la cathédrale d'Uppsala
Éric IX, roi de Suède, appartenait à une famille de riches paysans. Il épousa Christine, fille du roi Ingon IV. La dignité royale étant élective, ses vertus le firent choisir pour succéder à son beau-père (1150).
Tous les efforts d’Éric eurent pour but d’assurer le bonheur du peuple. Il veilla à ce que la justice fût équitablement rendue, écoutant lui-même les plaintes de ses sujets, faisant droit à leurs réclamations. Non content de répandre d’abondantes aumônes, il allait en personne visiter les malades.
Quoiqu’il détestât la guerre, il fut néanmoins obligé de marcher contre les Finnois, qui venaient ravager la Suède. Il remporta sur eux une victoire complète, et soumit à ses armes tout leur pays. Ce fut alors qu’il chargea saint Henri, évêque d’Upsala, d’aller évangéliser la Finlande, encore plongée dans l’idolâtrie. Une partie des Suédois, encore païens, fomentaient une révolte contre Éric. Magnus, roi de Danemark, qui avait des vues ambitieuses sur la couronne de Suède, se mit à la tête des mécontents, et la mort du saint roi fut décidée.
Il assistait à la Messe lorsqu’on vint lui annoncer l’approche de Magnus. Après avoir entendu paisiblement l’office jusqu’au bout, il sortit et s’avança seul au devant des rebelles, qui le saisirent et lui tranchèrent la tête. C’était le 18 mai 1162, Alexandre III étant pape, Frédéric Barberousse empereur et Louis VII roi de France. On rapporte qu’une fontaine miraculeuse jaillit de l’endroit où le sang du martyr avait été répandu.
Éléments de la bannière de saint Éric
Le blason de saint Éric IX a trois couronnes d’or qu’on retrouve encore sur les « petites armoiries » de la Suède placées par exemple sur les avions de l’armée de l’air et bien sûr dans les « grandes armoiries » dont elles sont un des éléments constitutifs.
SOURCE : http://www.cassicia.com/FR/Saint-Eric-IX-roi-de-Suede-mort-martyr-apres-avoir-assiste-a-la-Messe-sereinement-jusqu-au-bout-Fete-le-18-mai-No_842.htm
Eric of Sweden, King M (RM?)
(also known as Henry)
Died at Uppsala, Sweden, on May 18, 1160. Eric IX, son of Jedvard of Vastergotland, claimed the throne of Sweden in 1150 through his marriage to Princess Christine and reigned as king for ten years. During that time he did much to consolidate Christianity in his realm and spread the faith into Finland. In an effort to conquer and convert them, he led a victorious expedition against the marauding Finns and persuaded English Bishop Saint Henry of Uppsala to remain in Finland to evangelize the natives.
He was responsible for codifying the laws of his kingdom, which became known as King Eric's Law (also the Code of Uppland). Additionally, he established a monastic chapter in Old Uppsala, which had come from the Danish abbey of Odense.
In reaction to Eric's insistence that tithes be paid to support the Church as they were elsewhere in Europe, some Swedish nobles joined forces with Magnus, son of the king of Denmark. Eric was accosted near Uppsala at Ostra Aros as he was leaving church after hearing Mass on Ascension Day by the rebelling Swedish nobles. He was thrown to the ground from his horse, tortured, ridiculed, then beheaded.
The king was buried in the church of Old Uppsala, which he had rebuilt around the burial mounds of his pagan predecessors. In 1167, his body was enshrined; and his relics and regalia were translated to the present cathedral of Uppsala, built on the site of Eric's martyrdom, in 1273.
In an effort to consolidate his position, Eric's son Knud encouraged the cultus of his father as a martyr. The translation of Eric's relics extended the depth of his cultus. On his feast there were processions from the cathedral to Old Uppsala to petition for a good harvest. Oftentimes politically motivated cults have little merit; however, King Eric was a man of much personal goodness, who sincerely desired to spread the faith in Sweden.
The ancient belief in a special heavenly destiny, Valhalla, for those killed in battle doubtless had a part in the idealization of Eric and other Scandinavian heroes. Though never formally canonized, Eric has long been considered the patron of Sweden (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer).
Saint Eric is portrayed in art as a young king being murdered during Mass with the bishop Henry of Uppsala (Roeder). In Uppsala cathedral there is a series of late medieval paintings depicting Eric and Henry of Uppsala (Farmer).
St. Eric, King of Sweden, Martyr
See Israelis Erlandi liber de vitâ et miraculis S. Erici Regis, ex editione et cum notis Joan. Schefferi, in 8vo. Holmiæ, 1675; and Henschenius, t. 4, Maij, p. 186.
ERIC 1 was descended of a most illustrious Swedish family: in his youth he laid a solid foundation of virtue and learning, and took to wife Christina, daughter of Ingo IV. king of Sweden. Upon the death of King Smercher in 1141, he was, purely for his extraordinary virtues and qualifications, placed on the throne by the election of the states, according to the ancient laws of that kingdom. His first care in that exalted and dangerous station was to watch over his own soul. He treated his body with great severity, fasting and watching much, in order to keep his domestic enemy in due subjection to the spirit, and to fit himself for the holy exercises of heavenly contemplation and prayer, which were his chief delight. He was truly the father and the servant of all his people. With indefatigable application he himself administered to them justice, especially to the poor, to whose complaints his ears were always open, and whose grievances and oppressions he took care himself to redress. He often visited in person the poor who were sick, and relieved them with bountiful alms. Content with his own patrimony, he levied no taxes. He built churches, and by wholesome laws restrained the brutish and savage vices of his subjects. The frequent inroads of the idolatrous Finlanders upon his territories obliged him to take the field against them. He vanquished them in a great battle; but after his victory he wept bitterly at the sight of the dead bodies of his enemies which covered the field, because they had been slain unbaptized. When he had subdued Finland, he sent St. Henry, bishop of Upsal, to preach the faith of Christ to that savage infidel nation, of which he may be styled the apostle. Among the subjects of this good king were certain sons of Belial, who made his piety the subject of their ridicule, being mostly obstinate idolaters. Magnus, son of the king of Denmark, blinded by ambitious views to the crown of Sweden, put himself at the head of these impious malecontents, and engaged them in a conspiracy to take away the life of their sovereign. The holy king was hearing mass on the day after the feast of the ascension, when news was brought him that the rebels were in arms, and on the march against him. He calmly answered: “Let us at least finish the sacrifice; the remainder of the festival I shall keep elsewhere.” After mass he recommended his soul to God, made the sign of the cross, and, to spare the blood of the citizens, who were ready to defend his life at the expense of their own, marched out alone before his guards. The conspirators rushed upon him, beat him down from his horse, and struck off his head with a thousand indignities in derision of his religion. His death happened on the 18th of May, 1151. God honoured his tomb with many miracles. It remains to this day at Upsal undefaced. St. Eric was honoured as chief patron of the kingdom of Sweden till the change of religion in the sixteenth century. He ordered the ancient laws and constitutions of the kingdom to be collected into one volume, which bears the title of King Eric’s Law, or the Code of Uppland, highly respected in Sweden: it was confirmed in the thirteenth century by the learned king Magnus Ladulas, who compiled and published in 1285 another code under the title of Gardsrætte.
All power and authority among men is derived from God, as Christ declared to Pilate, 2 and as the wise man often repeats. Whence St. Paul teaches us, that “he who resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” 3 On no men doth he confer the least degree of jurisdiction but with the most severe injunction and obligation, that they employ it according to his will, and in the first place for the advancement of his divine honour. Hence every father, master of a family, magistrate, or king, is accountable to God for those under his charge, and will be condemned as a traitor on the last day, if he employ not all the means in his power that God may be known, praised, and faithfully served by them. This is the primary obligation of those whom God hath vested with authority. In the faithful discharge of this trust the glorious St. Eric laid down his life.
Note 1. Eric, Erric, and Henry, are in the northern nations the same name, which in the Teutonic language signifies rich lord. St. Eric was the ninth of that name among the kings of Sweden. [back]
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
§ Henry of Sweden
§ Eric The Lawgiver
§ Eric IX
§ Erico IX, King of Sweden
§ 18 May
King of Sweden. Defended his country from Finnish invasions. Codified Swedish law under Gospel principles. Used his throne to spread the Gospel through his kingdom. Built the first large church in Sweden at Old Uppsala. Murdered by conspiratorial, anti–Christian Swedish nobles; martyr. Never formally canonized, his cultus developed almost immediately upon his death. Due to his zeal in the defense of his country and his faith, his banner has been carried by Swedes, including non-Catholics, for centuries.
Erik IX Jedvardsson was ruler of
much of Sweden from 1150 to 1160. He was the head of a Christian kingdom with
nearby pagan kingdoms, all sharing an old tradition of fighting. Around 1155,
he headed an expedition into Finland, then loosely under Swedish rule, to
consolidate Swedish authority there and to establish a protected Christian
mission, headed by Henry of Uppsala, now considered the founder of the Church
in Finland (see 19 Jan). Erik is also known for undertaking to provide Sweden
with fair laws and fair courts, and for measures designed to assist the poor
and the infirm. As he was in church on 18 May 1160, the day after Ascension
Day, he was told that a pagan Danish army was approaching to kill him. He
replied, "Let us at least finish the sacrifice. The rest of the feast I
shall keep elsewhere." As he was leaving the church, the pagans rushed
upon him and killed him.
Erik was honored both as an upholder of the Christian faith and as a national hero, the ancestor of a long line of Swedish kings. Within thirty years after his death his name appeared on the Swedish Calendar, and he is accounted the principal patron of Sweden, as (for example) Patrick is of Irelend. The silver casket with his remains still rests in the cathedral at Uppsala.