St. Alphege of Winchester
April 19, Saint


Born to the nobility but gave it up to become a young monk at Deerhurst Abbey in Gloucestershire, England. Monk, anchorite, and then abbot at Bath Abbey; known for his personal piety and austerity. Bishop of Winchester, England in 984. Built several churches, installed a cathedral organ so large that it could be heard a mile away, and his charity was so great that there were reported to be no beggars in his diocese. May have helped negotiate a peace treaty in 994 which ended some Viking raids.

Archbishop of Canterbury, England in 1006. Encouraged devotion to Saint Dunstan of Canterbury. Translated the relics of Saint Swithun to Canterbury. In 1011 Danes began raiding again, laid seige to Canterbury, sacked the town, and captured Alphege along with several other Church officials, all of whom were held for ransom. Reported to have healed many of sick Danes by praying over them and feeding them blessed bread. Alphege refused to approve the payment of ransom for himself, and after several months was murdered by angry drunken Vikings, the first archbishop of Canterbury to die violently. Saint Thomas Becket was praying for Saint Alphege’s intercession just before he was murdered.

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