15 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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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