Saint Canute of Denmark
St. Canute IV of Denmark (1042 – 1086 A.D.), also known as Canute the Holy, was one of thirteen sons born to the king of Denmark. Canute later succeeded his brother to the throne and reigned as king from 1080 to 1086. He was a devout Catholic, a zealous propagator of the faith, and a brave warrior, in addition to being a man of prayer, penance, austerity, and charity towards the poor and weak among his people. The happiness of his people and the interests of the Church were his motivation, often putting him in opposition to the aristocracy. He fought against the barbarian nations and worked to strengthen the power of the monarchy, but some of his laws were unpopular and caused unrest among the people. Canute sought to expand Denmak's territory and believed he had a claim to the English throne. In 1085 he gathered his fleet and planned an invasion of England to overthrow William the Conquerer, a plan which was never realized. Instead, a revolt broke out against Canute, causing him to take refuge inside St. Alban's Priory in Odense. Canute, his brother, and seventeen of his men were pursued and killed by rebels in front of the altar. He was named a martyr for the faith, and many miracles were reported at his tomb. He was canonized in the year 1101, the first Danish saint. St. Canute is the patron saint of Denmark. His feast day is January 19.
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