ST. LIDE OF THE SCILLY ISLES

Celebrated August 8

According to the Epitome of the Sagas of the Kings of Norway, King Olaf Trygvasson was once raiding the Scilly Isles, off the south-western coast of England, where "there lived a great friend of God, a hermit, famed for his excellent learning and various knowledge. Olaf was eager to test this, and dressed one of his retainers like a king, so that under the name of a king he might seek [the hermit's] advice.

Now this was the answer he received: 'You are no king and my counsel to you is that you should be loyal to your king.'

When Olaf heard this answer, he was yet more eager to see him, because he no longer doubted that he was a true prophet, and in the course of his talk [with him] and of the good man's exhortation, [the hermit] addressed him thus with words of holy wisdom and divine foreknowledge:

'You will be,' he said, 'a famous king and do famous deeds. You will bring many people to faith and baptism, thereby profiting yourself and many others. And, so that you may have no doubts concerning this answer of mine, you will have this for a sign. On the way to your ship you will fall into an ambush, and a battle will take place, and you will lose part of your company, and you yourself will receive a wound, and through this wound you will be at the point of death, and be born to the ship on a shield. Yet within seven days you will be whole from this wound, and soon you will receive baptism."

The thirteenth-century Icelandic historian Snorri Sturlason describes the sequel:

"Olaf went down to his ships and there he met foes who tried to slay him and his men. But the meeting ended as the hermit had foretold him, so that Olaf was borne wounded out to his ship, and likewise was he well after seven nights. Then it seemed clear to Olaf that this man had told him the truth and that he was a true prophet. Olaf then went again to find the man, spoke much with him and asked carefully whence he had this wisdom whereby he foretold the future. The hermit said that the God of Christian men let him know all he wished, and then he told Olaf of many great works of God, and after all these words Olaf agreed to be baptized. And so it came about that Olaf and all his followers were baptized. He stayed there very long and learned the right faith, and took with him from there priests and learned men." (Heimskringla 7, 31)."

In fact, Olaf received confirmation (chrismation) from St. Alphege, Bishop of Winchester (+1012), and it was from King Ethelred of England that he received the bishops and priests who evangelized Norway.

As for the hermit who converted the famous king, we do not know his name with certainty. However, in the Middle Ages there was a cult of a bishop called Lide (or Elid or Elidius) who lived on the island of St. Helen's and was buried there as a bishop. Since the earliest pottery found at the remains of his buildings and tomb dates back to the 11th century, it seems probable that St. Lide was the same man as the hermit who converted the Baptizer of Norway. His feast is August 8.

Holy Father Lide , pray to God for us!

By Vladimir Moss. Posted with permission.





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