King Martyr (c.1043-1086)
St. Canute IV of Denmark, the son of King Sweyn II Estrithson and a grandnephew of King Canute the Great of England and Denmark, was a deeply religious man, frugal and austere in his habits. As Successor to his brother Harold Hen to the throne, he had the welfare of his people and the propagation of the faith equally at heart. In the political field he checked the depredations of pirates, subdued his barbarous neighbours, and even planned an invasion of England to drive out William the Conqueror, plan which was brought to naught through the treachery of his other brother, Olaf.
In temporal matters, Canute attempted just administrative reforms. In matters ecclesiastical, he generously patronized several churches and founded the new Cathedral of Roskilde, which, built of stone, is still the burial place for Danish royalty. In the 6th year of his reign a rebellion broke out in Denmark and the King, with his brother Benedict and 17 retainers, was surrounded and brutally murdered during Mass in the Church of St. Alban at Odense. Canute was cut down while, at the foot of the alter with arms outstretched, he was appealing to God for mercy to and pardon of his enemies.
The numerous miracles occurring at the tomb of good King Canute, the father of Blessed Charles the Good, Count of Flanders, attested to his sanctity, leading to his canonization at the hands of Paschal II in 1101.
The relics of this saint, the patron of Denmark, lie enshrined in a 12th century wooden reliquary in Odense.
Reflection :"And fear you not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Mt. 10:28)