St. Ansgar- A Historical Account
The History of St. Ansgar
[ also Anskar, Anschar, & Anscharius and Scharies ]
- Ansgar was born in Corbey, France in 801 A.D.
- His mother’s early death caused him to be educated in a monastery.
- Ansgar had a passion to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the “Berserkers.”
- Brought education and the Gospel to what is now Denmark and Sweden.
- Consecrated Bishop of Hamburg  by Pope Gregory IV.
- Elevated to Archbishop of Bremen  by Pope Nicholas I.
- Called “Apostle to the North.”
Ansgar was born in 801 to a noble family near Corbey, France [about 75 miles north of Paris]. His father worked in the service of Louis the Pious, (son of Charlemagne). When he was only five years old his mother, a godly woman, died and his father placed him in the monastery school run by the Dominican Monks.
When Ansgar turned 12 years old he decided to wear his hair like a monk and told his friends he wanted to become a monk and then a pastor. Three years later he began to teach the younger children in the school and eventually fulfilled a part of his dream, he became a monk.
At the age of 21 Ansgar left France to teach in the town of New Corbey in central Germany. He soon became the principal of the school and then the pastor of the town Church. New Corbey was on the frontier, where the “Berserkers” and other Norsemen came to harass the inhabitants of the area.
It so happened that King Harold Klak of Denmark had lost his kingdom and requested help from Emperor Louis the Pious. Seeking someone to go with King Harold to help regain his kingdom, Pastor Ansgar volunteered. His heart’s desire was to preach the Gospel to the Berserkers. He accompanied King Harold to Denmark when the exiled King returned to his native land and engaged in missionary work there.
Ansgar's success in Denmark caused King Bjorn of Sweden to invite him to that country, and there he built the first Christian Church in Sweden. Pastor Ansgar became Abbot of New Corbie and first Archbishop of Hamburg about 831, and Pope Gregory IV appointed him Legate to the Scandinavian countries. He labored at his missionary works for the next fourteen years but saw all he had accomplished destroyed when invading pagan Norsemen in 845 destroyed Hamburg and overran the Scandinavian countries, which lapsed into paganism.
Archbishop Ansgar was then appointed first Archbishop of Bremen about 848, and the See was united with that of Hamburg by Pope Nicholas I. Ansgar again returned to Denmark and Sweden in 854 and resumed his missionary activities, converting Erik, King of Jutland.
St. Ansgar's success was due to his great preaching ability, the austerity and holiness of his life, and the miracles he is reputed to have performed. Though called "the Apostle of the North" and the first Christian missionary in Scandinavia, the whole area lapsed into paganism again after his death at Bremen on February 3rd.
Because of his work to bring the Gospel to Denmark and Sweden, the Christians of those nations have especially appreciated him and honored his memory by naming churches, schools and even towns after him.
|St. Ansgar- A History of the Man||