(d. 1285)

'Thorfinn' can also refer to...

earl of Orkney Thorfinn (c. 1009—1065) earl of Orkney


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(d. 1285),

bishop of Hamar (Norway). Few details are known of his early life. He was born at Trondheim and may well have been a canon there before being chosen as bishop, as his name appears as a witness to the Agreement of Tonsberg (1277) in which King Magnus VI undertook to respect clerical privileges and allow freedom of elections. Some years later however the king repudiated this agreement: the archbishop of Trondheim and the bishops of Oslo and Hamar were outlawed and exiled.

Thorfinn journeyed to Rome to obtain help and returned to Ter Doest, a Cistercian abbey in Flanders, where he fell ill and died at a comparatively early age. Two documents concerning him survive: one is his will, which shows that he had little to bequeath. He left everything to his family, to churches in Hamar, and to the Cistercian abbey at Tautra, near Trondheim. The other is a verse written by a Cistercian monk of Ter Doest, which praised his patience, penance, and charity. This was hung up over his tomb. When this was opened fifty years after his death, unusual fragrance was noted and the poem publicized. His cult spread in Cistercian monasteries near Bruges and in Norway, where both ancient and modern churches were dedicated to him. Feast: 8 January.

AA.SS. Ian. I (1734), 548; S. Undset, Saga of Saints (1934), 200–79; B. T. A., i. 55–6; Bibl. SS., xii. 460.

Subjects: Christianity.

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