jeudi 19 avril 2012

Saint ELPHÈGE (ALPHEGE) de CANTORBÉRY, archevêque et martyr






Archevêque de Cantorbéry, martyr

(954-1012)

Saint Elphège sortait d'une famille distinguée d'Angleterre. Il reçut une excellente éducation et ne tarda pas, malgré la voix de la chair et du sang, à quitter le monde pour la solitude, puis ensuite pour le cloître, à la demande de bons religieux qui voulurent se mettre sous sa direction. Le saint abbé exigea que la règle fût observée à la lettre, et Dieu vint à son aide par un miracle, pour soumettre à la ferme conduite plusieurs moines d'abord récalcitrants.

Son mérite le fit placer bientôt, malgré les réclamations de son humilité, sur le siège épiscopal de Winchester, et plus tard sur le siège archiépiscopal de Cantorbéry, où il succéda à saint Dunstan.

Sa vie resta celle d'un moine. Il se levait régulièrement à minuit et priait longtemps pieds nus. Ses grandes austérités n'enlevaient rien à la douceur de son caractère; ses aumônes étaient abondantes, sa charité sans bornes.

Elphège, pendant une irruption des Danois en Angleterre, se dévoua pour le salut de son peuple. Il alla trouver les barbares, et, après avoir traité avec eux du rachat des captifs, il leur annonça l'Évangile. Un bon nombre se convertirent à sa parole; mais les autres, plus furieux, s'avancèrent jusqu'à Cantorbéry pour l'assiéger.

Le saint Pontife voulut être à son poste. Durant le siège, il ne cessa d'exhorter ses brebis à s'armer de courage contre tous les événements et à défendre leur foi jusqu'à la mort. Dieu permit que la ville cédât à la force; les assiégés furent passés en masse au fil de l'épée. Elphège courut sur le théâtre du massacre, espérant apaiser les vainqueurs: "Épargnez ces innocents, s'écria-t-il. Quelle gloire y a-t-il à répandre leur sang? Tournez contre moi toute votre indignation; je me la suis méritée en rachetant vos prisonniers."

Les Danois farouches, irrités de cette sainte liberté, se saisissent de lui, l'accablent de mauvais traitements, incendient devant lui sa cathédrale, égorgent ses moines et le jettent en prison. Frappé à coups de hache et lapidé, pendant son supplice, il priait pour ses bourreaux.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950.

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/saint_elphege.html

Saint Elphège

Évêque martyr (✝ 1012)

Confesseur.

Évêque de Winchester, puis archevêque de Cantorbéry succédant à saint Dunstan.

Au moment des invasions des Vikings, il secourut les populations et tenta d'apaiser les envahisseurs.

Selon la tradition, il fut martyrisé à Greenwich.

Sur la côte près de Greenwich en Angleterre, la passion de saint Elphège, évêque de Cantorbéry et martyr. Il s’offrit pour son troupeau aux Danois qui ravageaient la ville par le fer et le feu, et comme il refusait d’être racheté à prix d’argent, il fut frappé, le samedi après Pâques, à coups de pierres et enfin décapité.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/1001/Saint-Elphege.html


Saint Elphège Évêque martyr (+ 1012)

Confesseur. Évêque de Winchester, puis archevêque de Cantorbéry succédant à saint Dunstan.

Au moment des invasions des Vikings, il secourut les populations et tenta d’apaiser les envahisseurs.

Selon la tradition, il fut martyrisé à Greenwich.

Fils d’une illustre famille anglaise, il reçoit une excellente éducation puis décide de se retirer du monde et entre au monastère de Derherst. Il passe là plusieurs années puis part s’installer comme ermite près de Bath, dans le Sommerset, et est bientôt rejoint par de nombreux disciples qui souhaitent se placer sous sa direction. Sa renommée s’étant répandue jusqu’à Saint-Dunstan, l’archevêque de Cantorbéry, ce dernier le choisit comme évêque de Winchester. Un peu plus de quatre ans plus tard, les Danois envahissent la contrée et mettent le siège devant Cantorbéry. Notre Saint résiste courageusement, tentant même d’évangéliser ces guerriers barbares, mais sans succès. Capturé, il subit de mauvais traitements puis est emprisonné. Refusant de payer la rançon fixée pour sa libération, il est traîné devant le commandant de la flotte danoise, qui le menace de mort s’il persiste à refuser. L’évêque refuse encore de céder et est finalement exécuté, frappé mortellement d’un coup de hache (+ 1012)

SOURCE : http://lazarhumeurshistoire.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/ephemeride-du-19-avril/

Elphege
954-1012
 
Elphege (ou Alphege) s’appelait aussi Godwine : né en 954, il suivit l’appel de Dieu et quitta sa mère toute jeune veuve.

Après un séjour au monastère de Deerhurst (comté de Gloucester), il s’orienta vers une vie plus solitaire et se construisit une cabane près de Bath, où le rejoignirent d’autres compagnons. Ainsi naquit un monastère, dont Elphege devint abbé, en 970 : il avait seize ans !

Un de ses avis aux moines était d’éviter le “mensonge d’action”, en prenant l’habit religieux sans en garder le véritable esprit.

En 984, l’archevêque de Cantorbury, saint Dunstan, eut révélation de choisir Elphege pour succéder à Ethelwold comme évêque de Winchester ; ayant fini par céder, il fut consacré le 19 octobre.

Ce fut un évêque très austère pour lui-même, rempli de charité pour les pauvres, au point qu’on ne rencontrait plus de mendiant dans Winchester. Il concentra tous ses efforts pour amener à la conversion les païens du nord de l’Angleterre. Il reçut le roi norvégien Olaf et lui administra la Confirmation.

Elphege fut ensuite choisi pour succéder à saint Dunstan à Cantorbury. Parti à Rome pour recevoir le pallium, il fut dépouillé et renvoyé par les habitants d’une petite localité de l’Italie du nord : comme un incendie se déclara juste après, les habitants coururent chercher Elphege pour lui demander pardon, et sur sa prière l’incendie épargna la ville (mais on ne connaît pas le nom de cette localité).

Dans son diocèse, Elphege réprima les abus et restaura la discipline ; il fit établir le jeûne du vendredi (concile d’Enham en 1009).

Les Danois vinrent ravager le royaume et Elphege s’employa à secourir les populations éprouvées, mais aussi à convertir les envahisseurs. Ce fut le signal de son sacrifice.

Les barbares massacrèrent sans pitié les habitants, assaillirent la cathédrale où s’étaient réfugiés Elphege et ses moines, y mirent le feu, firent périr une partie des moines et capturèrent l’archevêque, espérant en tirer une bonne rançon. Sur ces entrefaites, une grave épidémie ravagea les rangs danois, qui recoururent aux prières du prélat et recouvrèrent la santé, le jeudi saint 1012. 

Mais les chefs danois ne renonçaient pas à la rançon qu’ils avaient exigée ; à quoi le pauvre Elphege fit remarquer qu’après la destruction de la ville, il ne restait rien à leur donner. Aussi les barbares se jetèrent sur lui, le frappèrent avec leurs haches, le lapidèrent avec tout ce qu’ils trouvaient sous la main, tandis qu’Elphege, comme autrefois saint Etienne, priait : “Jésus, bon et incomparable pasteur, aie compassion des enfants de ton Église, que je te recommande en mourant”. Un Danois, d’ailleurs confirmé la veille par le même Elphege, l’acheva en lui fendant la tête avec sa hache.

Le martyre d’Elphege eut donc lieu il y a mille ans, le samedi de Pâques, 19 avril 1012.

Son corps fut plus tard transporté à Londres, puis à Cantorbury. Dès 1078, il fut reconnu comme martyr, et vénéré comme saint. Le Martyrologe le mentionne effectivement au 19 avril.





St. Elphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr

From his genuine life, written by Osbern, a monk of Canterbury, in 1070, but finished by Eadmer, as Mr. Wharton discovered, who has given us a more ample and correct edition of it than either the Bollandists or Mabillon had been able to furnish. See a short history of his martyrdom in a chronicle written in the reign of Henry I. in the Cottonian library. Vitellius, c. v. viii. Leland, Collect. t. 1, p. 22, and the history of the translation of his body from London to Canterbury among the MSS. in the Harleian library, Cod. 624, fol. 136, in the British Museum.

A.D. 1012.

ST. ELPHEGE was born of noble and virtuous parents, who gave him a good education. Fearing the snares of riches he renounced the world whilst he was yet very young; and though most dutiful to his parents in all other things, he in this courageously overcame the tears of his tender mother. He served God first in the monastery of Derherste in Gloucestershire. His desire of greater perfection taught him always to think that he had not yet begun to live to God. After some years he left Derherste, and built himself a cell in a desert place of the abbey of Bath, where he shut himself up, unknown to men, but well known to God, for whose love he made himself a voluntary martyr of penance. His virtue, after some time, shone to men the brighter through the veils of his humility, and many noblemen and others addressed themselves to him for instructions in the paths of perfection, and he was at length obliged to take upon himself the direction of the great abbey of Bath. Perfection is more difficultly maintained in numerous houses. St. Elphege lamented bitterly the irregularities of the tepid among the brethren, especially little junketings, from which he in a short time reclaimed them; and God, by the sudden death of one, opened the eyes of all the rest. The good abbot would not tolerate the least relaxation in his community, being sensible how small a breach may totally destroy the regularity of a house. He used to say, that it would have been much better for a man to have staid in the world, than to be an imperfect monk; and that to wear the habit of a saint, without having the spirit, was a perpetual lie, and an hypocrisy which insults, but can never impose upon Almighty God. St. Ethelwold, bishop of Winchester, dying in 984, St. Dunstan being admonished by St. Andrew, in a vision, obliged our holy abbot to quit his solitude, and accept of episcopal consecration. The virtues of Elphege became more conspicuous in this high station, though he was no more than thirty years of age when he was first placed in it. In winter, how cold soever it was, he always rose at midnight, went out, and prayed a long time barefoot, and without his upper garment. He never ate flesh unless on extraordinary occasions. He was no less remarkable for charity to his neighbour, than severity to himself. He accordingly provided so liberally for the indigences of the poor, that during his time there were no beggars in the whole diocess of Winchester. The holy prelate had governed the see of Winchester twenty-two years with great edification, when, after the death of Archbishop Alfric, in 1006, he was translated to that of Canterbury, being fifty-two years of age. He who trembled under his former burden, was much more terrified at the thought of the latter: but was compelled to acquiesce. Having been at Rome to receive his pall, he held at his return a great national council at Oenham, in 1009, in which thirty-two canons were published for the reformation of errors and abuses, and the establishment of discipline; and, among other things, the then ancient law, commanding the fast on Friday, was confirmed. 1

The Danes at that time made the most dreadful havoc in England. They landed where they pleased, and not only plundered the country, but committed excessive barbarities on the native, with little or no opposition from the weak King Ethelred. Their army being joined by the traitorous Earl Edric, they marched out of the West into Kent, and sat down before Canterbury. But before it was invested, the English nobility, perceiving the danger the place was in, desired the archbishop, then in the city, to provide for his security by flight, which he refused to do, saying, that it was the part only of a hireling to abandon his flock in the time of danger. During the siege, he often sent out to the enemies to desire them to spare his innocent sheep, whom he endeavoured to animate against the worst that could happen. And having prepared them, by his zealous exhortations, rather to suffer the utmost than renounce their faith, he gave them the blessed eucharist, and recommended them to the divine protection. Whilst he was thus employed in assisting and encouraging his people, Canterbury was taken by storm. The infidels on entering the city made a dreadful slaughter of all that came in their way, without distinction of sex or age. The holy prelate was no sooner apprised of the barbarity of the enemy, but breaking from the monks, who would have detained him in the church, where they thought he might be safe, he pressed through the Danish troops, and made his way to the place of slaughter. Then, turning to the enemy, he desired them to forbear the massacre of his people, and rather discharge their fury upon him, crying out to the murderers: “Spare these innocent persons. There is no glory in spilling their blood. Turn your indignation rather against me. I have reproached you for your cruelties: I have fed, clothed, and ransomed these your captives.” The archbishop, talking with this freedom, was immediately seized, and used by the Danes with all manner of barbarity. Not content with making him the spectator of the burning of his cathedral, and the decimation of his monks, and of the citizens, having torn his face, beat and kicked him unmercifully, they laid him in irons, and confined him several months in a filthy dungeon. But being afflicted with an epidemical mortal colic in their army, and attributing this scourge to their cruel usage of the saint, they drew him out of prison. He prayed for them, and gave to their sick bread which he had blessed; by eating this their sick recovered, and the calamity ceased. Their chiefs returned thanks to the servant of God, and deliberated about setting him at liberty, but covetousness prevailed in their council, they exacted for his ransom three thousand marks of gold. He said that the country was all laid waste; moreover, that the patrimony of the poor was not to be squandered away. He therefore was bound again, and on Easter Sunday was brought before the commanders of their fleet, which then lay at Greenwich, and threatened with torments and death unless he payed the ransom demanded. He answered that he had no other gold to offer them than that of true wisdom, which consists in the knowledge and worship of the living God: which if they refused to listen to, they would one day fare worse than Sodom; adding, that their empire would not long subsist in England. The barbarians, enraged at this answer, knocked him down with the backs of their battle-axes, and then stoned him. The saint like St. Stephen, prayed our Lord to forgive them, and to receive his soul. In the end raising himself up a little, he said, “O good Shepherd! O incomparable Shepherd! look with compassion on the children of thy church, which I, dying, recommend to thee.” And here a Dane, that had been lately baptized by the saint, perceiving him agonizing and under torture, grieved to see him suffer in so slow and painful a manner, to put an end to his pain, clove his head with his battle-axe, and gave the finishing stroke to his martyrdom. Thus died St. Elphage, on the 19th of April, 1012, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. He was solemnly interred in the cathedral of St. Paul’s in London. In 1023, his body was found entire, and translated with honour to Canterbury: Knut, the Danish king, and Agelnoth, the archbishop, went with it from St. Paul’s to the river: it was carried by monks down a narrow street to the water side, and put on board a vessel; the king held the stern. Queen Emma also attended with great presents, and an incredible multitude of people followed the procession from London. The church of Canterbury, on the occasion, was most magnificently adorned. This translation was made on the 8th of June, on which it was annually commemorated. His relics lay near the high altar till the dispersion of relics under Henry VIII. Hacon, Turkill, and the other Danish commanders, perished miserably soon after, and their numerous fleet of above two hundred sail was almost all lost in violent storms. St. Elphege is named in the Roman Martyrology.

Our English Martyrology commemorates on the 1st of September another St. Elphege, surnamed the Bald, bishop of Winchester, which see he governed from the death of St. Brynstan, in 935 to 953. He is celebrated for his sanctity, and a singular spirit of prophecy, of which Malmesbury gives some instances.

Note 1. Spelman, Conc. Brit. t. 1, p. 510. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/4/192.html

St. Elphege

(Or ALPHEGE).

Born 954; died 1012; also called Godwine, martyred Archbishop of Canterbury, left his widowed mother and patrimony for the monastery of Deerhurst (Gloucestershire). After some years as an anchorite at Bath, he there became abbot, and (19 Oct., 984) was made Bishop of Winchester. In 994 Elphege administered confirmation to Olaf of Norway at Andover, and it is suggested that his patriotic spirit inspired the decrees of the Council of Enham. In 1006, on becoming Archbishop of Canterbury, he went to Rome for the pallium. At this period England was much harassed by the Danes, who, towards the end of September, 1011, having sacked and burned Canterbury, made Elphege a prisoner. On 19 April, 1012, at Greenwich, his captors, drunk with wine, and enraged at ransom being refused, pelted Elphege with bones of oxen and stones, till one Thurm dispatched him with an axe. Elphege's body, after resting eleven years in St. Paul's (London), was translated by King Canute to Canterbury. His principal feast is kept on the 19th of April; that of his translation on the 8th of June. He is sometimes represented with an axe cleaving his skull

Sources


Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, ed. PLUMMER (Oxford, 1892-99); THIETMAR, Chronicle, in P.L., CXXXIX, 1384; OSBERN, Vita S. Elphegi in WHARTON, Anglia Sacra, II, 122 sqq.; Acta SS., April, II, 630; Bibl. Hag. Lat., 377; CHEVALIER, Répertoire, I, 1313; FREEMAN, Norman Conquest, I, v; BUTLER, Lives of the Saints, 18 April; STANTON, Menology, 19 April; HUNT in Dict. Nat. Biogr., s.v. Ælfheah.

Ryan, Patrick W.F. "St. Elphege." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 18 Apr. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05394a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to St. Elphege.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.


SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05394a.htm

Elphege the Martyr, OSB BM (RM)
(also known as Alphege, Aelfheah)


Born c. 954; died in Greenwich, England, in 1012. In the old Saxon Chronicle is the story of Elphege and of his martyrdom at the hands of the Danes. He came of a noble Saxon family, and against his mother's wish became a monk. He served first at Deerhurst Abbey in Gloucestershire, England, but left as a young man to become a hermit in Bath.


Elphege was made an abbot in Bath, and, over his objections, appointed as bishop of Winchester in 984, in which office he served rendered great public service for 22 years. He eliminated poverty in his diocese through his aid to the poor, and continued to live the life of great austerity.

Olaf, King of Norway, after attacking London without success, harried the southern coast and occupied Southampton, whereupon King Ethelred commissioned Elphege to act as his envoy to Olaf in the interests of peace. The mission of Elphege was successful, and he brought Olaf to the king at Andover, where a satisfactory peace was concluded, and where Olaf, already a Christian, was confirmed. The Norwegian King then withdrew his ships and never again invaded England.

In 1006, Elphege was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, and received the pallium from Pope John XVIII in Rome. Then came a series of Danish raids which lasted no less than five years and which caused widespread suffering and disorder. Canterbury itself was captured in 1011 by the invaders and besieged by Earl Edric; the cathedral was burned, the city plundered, and many of its citizens were taken as slaves, including the archbishop who had refused to leave. "The Danes went to their ships and led the archbishop with them. He was then captive who was erewhile the head of the English and of Christendom."

When an epidemic broke out, Elphege was allowed to minister to the ill; otherwise, for two years he remained their prisoner and was only released by death. The chief Witan, clergy and laity, had been detained in London until the Danes had extracted from them 48,000 gold crowns, an exorbitant sum in the money values of that age. A further sum of 3,000 gold crowns was demanded for the permanent release of the archbishop, but he refused to allow this added imposition; there was already widespread calamity and distress and he would allow no further burden. He was given a week in which to find the money and stubbornly refused.

Then the Danes, incensed with anger and inflamed with drink, led him to the scaffold, pelting him with bones and stones and subjecting him to every indignity, although one of them, Thorkell the Tall, tried to save him. Finally, Elphege sank down in weakness, and, out of pity, a Dane called Thrum, who had been converted and baptized in prison, killed him with an axe to put an end to his sufferings. It cannot be said that Elphege died for the faith; but Saint Anselm vindicated his public veneration as a martyr, and his feast is still observed.

According to tradition, Elphege's murder took place at Greenwich, where a church still stands in his name. The following day his body was received in London with great reverence, and buried in Saint Paul's. Ten years later, Danish King Canute, moved by the entreaties of his pious wife, made reparation by removing the body of Elphege to Canterbury, where over his grave by the high altar he built a costly shrine (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Gill).

In art, Saint Elphege is portrayed as a bishop with an axe, carrying loaves of bread in his chasuble. He might also be shown (1) keeping a wolf from sheep or (2) struck with the axe by the Danes (Roeder). Elphege is venerated at Greenwich and Winchester (Roeder).


SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0419.shtml

Voir aussi : http://orthodoxievco.net/ecrits/vies/synaxair/avril/elphege.pdf