Oct. 26 - Saint Alfred The Great

St. Alfred the Great (849–899 A.D.) was the fifth son of the King of Wessex in England. Legend has it that at the age of four he was sent to Rome to be anointed as king by Pope Leo IV. Alfred rose to the throne in 871 A.D. after the successive deaths of his father and older brothers. As king he fought valiantly against the Danish Viking invaders who threatened the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. Alfred defeated the Vikings and enjoyed fifteen years of peace until the attacks were renewed. While other kingdoms fell to the raiders, he prevailed over them. Alfred then considered himself the defender of all Anglo-Saxon Christians against the pagan Viking threat, and after liberating villages from their control, he worked to restore what they destroyed. Wessex then became a rallying point against the enemy, which in turn consolidated the smaller kingdoms. This led to the unification of England under St. Alfred's sons and grandsons, who conquered the remaining lands seized by the Vikings and joined them to their kingdom. St. Alfred the Great was known as a courageous, just, and pious man, and the ideal Christian king. He brought learned men into his kingdom and excelled in his own academic ventures by translating into the Anglo-Saxon language many important religious and secular works that taught the ideal of Christian kingship, which he in turn endeavored to practice. His feast day is October 26th.

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