Évêque et martyr en Suède (✝ 1069)
Saint Anschaire de Corbie avait été le premier évangélisateur de la Scandinavie, principalement de la Suède, mais cette évangélisation restreinte surtout aux environs de l'actuelle Stockholm et le Russland, fut recouverte par le paganisme. La nouvelle évangélisation vint de la Grande-Bretagne avec saint Siegfrid qui a pour compagnon saint Eskill. Consacré évêque, il exerce son ministère dans la province du Soedermanland, au sud-ouest de Stockholm. Le prince qui le soutient est tué. Une fois de plus la réaction païenne devient active et saint Eskill est lapidé par la foule.
En Suède, l’an 1038, saint Eskill, évêque et martyr. Anglais d’origine, ordonné évêque par son maître saint Sigfrid, il se livra sans compter à de multiples travaux pour le Christ dans la province au sud du pays auprès des païens, qui le lapidèrent.
Eskil (Eskill) BM (AC)
Died c. 1080; feast day formerly June 13. Eskil is said to have been an Englishman and a relative of Saint Sigfrid, whom he accompanied on the latter's mission to reconvert Sweden, whose people had returned to paganism following the death of Saint Ansgar. Sigfrid consecrated him bishop of Strangnäss. Eskil preached the Gospel with some success in Södermanland, until the heathens reacted after the murder of the friendly king Inge. Then, because he had protested against an idolatrous festival and called down a violent storm that destroyed a pagan altar and its sacrifices, he was stoned to death by the people at Strangnäss. His body was buried on the spot where he died. Within a short time a church was built there in which his sacred remains were exposed to the veneration of the faithful, and were honored with miracles. Prior to the Reformation, Saint Eskil was greatly honored in Sweden, and the place where he was buried, Eskilstuna, was named after him (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
St. Eskill, Bishop and Martyr in Sweden
THIS saint was an Englishman by birth; but so long as the Catholic religion flourished in the northern kingdoms of Europe, was honoured in that part of the universe as one of the most illustrious martyrs of the gospel of Christ. St. Anscharius, archbishop of Bremen, having by his zealous labours laid the foundation of a numerous church in Sweden, was obliged to return into Germany. After his departure the Swedes returned to their paganish superstition, and expelled Simon, whom St. Anscharius had left bishop of that church. The news of this apostacy afflicted extremely the servants of God who inhabited the northern provinces of England, and St. Sigefride, archbishop of York, resolved to undertake a mission in person to rescue so many souls that were running upon the very brink of perdition. Eskill, his kinsman, desirous to have a share in this laborious and dangerous enterprise, accompanied him thither, and behaved in that country with so much zeal and prudence that, at the request of the king and people, St. Sigefride, before his return to England, consecrated him bishop at a place called Nordhan’s Kogh. By his zealous labours, which were supported by the example of his apostolic life, the church was exceedingly propagated, till good King Ingon was slain by the infidels, and the wicked Sweno, surnamed the Bloody, placed on the throne. Upon this revolution they revived their most impious and barbarous superstitions, with which they celebrated a most solemn festival at a place called Strengis. St. Eskill’s zeal was enkindled at such abominations, and attended by several of his clergy and of the faithful, he hastened to the place of the sacrilegious assembly. There he strongly exhorted the idolaters to renounce their impious worship. Finding them deaf to his remonstrances, he addressed his prayers to the Almighty, beseeching Him by some visible sign to give evidence that He alone was the true God. Instantly a violent storm of hail, thunder, and rain fell upon the spot, and destroyed the altar and sacrifices. This prodigy the infidels ascribed to art or magic, with which they charged the saint, and by the king’s orders they stoned him to death. His sacred body was buried in the spot upon which he suffered martyrdom, and soon after a church was there built, in which his sacred remains were exposed to the veneration of the faithful, and were honoured with miracles. He glorified God by martyrdom in the eleventh century. His festival was formerly kept on this day in Sweden, Poland, and other northern countries. See his life published by the Bollandists; Messenius, Seondia Illustrata, p. 31. and Benzelius, Monum. Eccles. Suevogoth. ex MSS. Upsal. 1709, p. 29.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VI: June. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
Missionary, working in Sweden with Saint Ansgar. Bishop. He converted so many pagan Swedes to Christianity that he was condemned to death by King Swerker the Bloody. Martyr.
- in England