Today we celebrate the feast of St Alphege as this Sunday is the nearest to his feast day of 19th April. He was born in Weston, Bath around the year 953 and became a monk first at Deerhurst near Tewksbury, then at Glastonbury and following that at Bath Abbey. He became Bishop of Winchester and then Archbishop of Canterbury.
The big threat in those days came from the Danes who were mostly located in the east of the country and when Alphege moved to Canterbury he was firmly in Danish territory. In 1011 they laid siege to Canterbury and captured Alphege intending to ransom him. Alphege instructed the Christians not to pay any ransom and he was killed during a drunken bacchanal. He was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to be martyred.
We admire him because of his scholarship, his organisational skills, his leadership of the Church and for his courage in defending the faith.
Father Alex McAllister SDS