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Sigfrid

(fl. c. 940—1025) missionary bishop


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(d. c.1045), bishop of Vaxjo, apostle of Sweden. Probably English and sent by King Ethelred to Olaf Tryggvason, king of Norway, Sigfrid, a monk of Glastonbury, took with him two fellow missionary bishops who planned to work in Sweden as well as Norway. Sigfrid baptized the king of Sweden, Olaf, built a church at Vaxjo, consecrated two bishops for East and West Gothland, and left the district to evangelize the more remote areas. During his absence his principal helpers, his nephews, were murdered. On his return Sigfrid induced the king to spare the killers' lives: their punishment was commuted to that of a heavy fine. Sigfrid, however, refused to accept any of this money although, faced with the need to rebuild his cathedral, he was in considerable want. Later he worked also in Denmark. He died at Vaxjo. His cult is strongest in Sweden and Denmark, where metrical offices survive. He is represented in art as a bishop, carrying the heads of his dead nephews. These are sometimes misinterpreted as three loaves. Feast: 15 February.

From The Oxford Dictionary of Saints in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Christianity.


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