SAINT EDWARD THE CONFESSOR
FEAST DAY – 13th OCTOBER
Edward the Confessor, (1003 – 1066) the son of King Ethelred III and his Norman wife, Emma, was born at Islip, England, and sent to Normandy with his mother in the year 1013 when the Danes invaded England. Canute remained in England and the year after Ethelred’s death in 1016, married Emma, who had returned to England, and became King of England. Edward remained in Normandy, and in 1042, on the death of his half-brother, Hardicanute, son of Canute and Emma, and through the support of the powerful Earl Godwin, he was acclaimed king of England.
In 1044, he married Godwin’s daughter Edith. His reign was a peaceful one characterized by his good rule and remission of odious taxes, but also by the struggle, partly caused by his natural inclination to favor the Normans, between Godwin and his Saxon supporters and the Norman barons, including Robert of Jumieges, whom Edward had brought with him when he returned to England and whom he named Archbishop of Canterbury.
In the same year, Edward banished Godwin, who returned with a fleet ready to lead a rebellion. Armed revolt was avoided when the two men settled their differences, which was resolved when Edward replaced Robert with Stigand, and Robert returned to Normandy.
Edward’s difficulties continued after Godwin’s death in 1053 with Godwin’s two sons: Harold who had his eye on the throne since Edward was childless, and Tostig, Earl of Northumbria. Tostig was driven from Northumbria by a revolt in 1065 and banished to Europe by Edward, who named Harold his successor.
After this Edward became more interested in religious affairs and built St. Peter’s Abbey at Westminster, the site of the present Abbey, where he is buried. His piety gained him the surname “the Confessor”. He died in London on January 5, and he was canonized in 1161 by Pope Alexander III. His feast day is October 13.
Lord God, you gave your follower St. Edward the Confessor, the grandson of St. Edward, king and martyr, though king of England, a demeanor of gentleness, humility, detachment and angelic purity. He preserved perfect chastity in his wedded life. So little was his heart set on riches that he freely dispensed his goods at the palace gate to the sick and poor. He was compassionate and kind.
He was always inclined to your Holy Word and to spreading your peace. His reign was one of almost continuous peace. The people were prosperous and ruined churches were rebuilt. All spoke affectionately of his wise measures of unprejudiced reign and he was affectionately called the good King Edward.
Grant that, on this, his feast day, he may be remembered for his exemplary service and devout life and may he enjoy the reward of dwelling in your Kingdom, in the name of Christ the Lord. Amen
St Edward, the Confessor, pray for us.