17 Facts About Ansgar


Ansgar, known as Anskar, Saint Ansgar, Saint Anschar or Oscar, was Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen in the northern part of the Kingdom of the East Franks.


Ansgar became known as the "Apostle of the North" because of his travels and the See of Hamburg received the missionary mandate to bring Christianity to Northern Europe.


Ansgar was the son of a noble Frankish family, born near Amiens.


Ansgar acted in the context of the phase of Christianization of Saxony begun by Charlemagne and continued by Charlemagne's son and successor, Louis the Pious.


In 822 Ansgar became one of many missionaries sent to found the abbey of Corvey in Westphalia, where he became a teacher and preacher.


Ansgar preached and made converts, particularly during six months at Birka, on Lake Malaren, where the wealthy widow Mor Frideborg extended hospitality.


Ansgar organized a small congregation with her and the king's steward, Hergeir, as its most prominent members.


In 831 Ansgar returned to Louis' court at Worms and was appointed to the Archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen.


Ansgar received the mission of evangelizing pagan Denmark, Norway and Sweden.


Ansgar recommended the issue to the care of God, and the lot was favorable.


Ansgar now had neither see nor revenue, and many helpers deserted him.


Ansgar did not forget the Swedish mission, and spent two years there in person, averting a threatened pagan reaction.


In 854, Ansgar returned to Sweden when king Olof ruled in Birka.


Ansgar noted that Ansgar wore a rough hair shirt, lived on bread and water, and showed great charity to the poor.


The first actual missionary in Sweden and the Nordic countries, Ansgar was later declared "Patron of Scandinavia".


Statues of Bishop Ansgar stand in Hamburg, Copenhagen and Ribe, as well as a stone cross at Birka.


Ansgar was convinced he was commanded by heaven to undertake this mission and was influenced by a vision he received when he was concerned about the journey, in which he met a man who reassured him of his purpose and informed him of a prophet that he would meet, the abbot Adalhard, who would instruct him in what was to happen.