St. Edward the Confessor

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St. Edward the Confessor

Feast dayJuly 16

St. Edward the Confessor was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England before the Norman Conquest. He ruled from 1042 until his death in 1066. Edward was known for his piety and his reputation for being just and peaceful, earning him the epithet “the Confessor.”

He was born around 1003 to King Æthelred the Unready and his second wife, Emma of Normandy. Edward spent much of his early life in exile in Normandy due to political turmoil in England. He returned to England in 1041, and upon the death of his half-brother, Harthacnut, he became king.

Edward was deeply religious and devoted much of his reign to the Church. He commissioned the building of Westminster Abbey, which was consecrated shortly before his death. Edward was known for his personal piety, his acts of charity, and his dedication to prayer.

Despite his piety, Edward was not a particularly strong ruler. His reign was marked by conflict with powerful noble families, and he struggled to maintain control over his kingdom. He also faced challenges from rival claimants to the throne, including the powerful Earl Godwin and his sons.

Edward died on January 5, 1066, without leaving an heir. His death led to a succession crisis that ultimately resulted in the Norman Conquest of England later that year, when William the Conqueror defeated Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings. Edward was canonized as a saint in 1161 by Pope Alexander III, and his feast day is celebrated on October 13th.

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