St Olaf

Olaf Haraldsson was King of Norway from 1015-1028, he was father of St Magnus of Orkney fame and in the cathedral in Kirkwall dedicated to him this carving of his father can be found.  Today is his feast day for all those Lutherans out there.

St Olaf

As the patron saint of carvers it does seem somewhat apt that this is a carving rather than a picture or stained glass.  However how he ever became a saint is somewhat strange, for it would appear there are those who doubt as to whether Olaf was even a Christian.  Others say he was but it was for political reasons and it is also said that his attempts to convert Norway and introduce episcopal sees either involved coercion and violence or didn’t actually happen until some time after his death.  What however appears to certainly is that he was set on uniting the various regions into one Norway.  While he failed to do that during his lifetime after his death the cult of St Olaf quickly sprung up which both untied and strengthened the country and was also instrumental in the country become Christian.

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