Today we Commemorate Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Apostle of Scandinavia, who died on this day in 865. Anskar, a Saxon monk from Corbie, France, began his missionary work in 826 when the emperor of the Franks asked him to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to southern Denmark. The school he established was attacked by the local heathen population and he was forced to flee to Sweden where in 832 he opened the first Christian Church which lasted only a short time due to his inability to recruit and retain staff. Then in 845 he was called to serve as Archbishop of Hamburg in Germany. However, he continued to organize missions to the land of the Vikings and to work at bringing the Baltic slave-trade to an end. These endeavours of his did not meet with success.

Although Anskar faced one set-back after another he did not give up. He kept looking for other ways in which to share the Gospel with those in Sweden who had not heard it. Long after his death, when Sweden became a Christian country, he was remembered as the missionary who sowed the seeds which gave birth to Sweden’s conversion.

Anskar, the Apostle of Scandinavia, is especially honoured by Swedish and English Christians.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:9-13; Mark 4:26-32.