Liturgical Calendars

« Back to Liturgical Calendars

Saint Edward the Confessor

King, Confessor, and Patron of England

Edward, surnamed the Confessor, was the nephew of Saint King Edward the Martyr, and himself the last Anglo-Saxon King. When he was ten years old the Danes, who were ravaging England, sought him, to put him to death, and he was driven into exile to dwell with his mother's brother, Richard II, Duke of Normandy, at whose Court and that of his successors, (Richard III; Robert, surnamed the Devil; and William the Bastard,) he lived among all the allurements of vice, such a life of uprightness and innocency as made all men to marvel. For he greatly loved God, and was gentle-hearted, and free from any lust for power. Of him the saying is preserved, That he would liefer not be a King than win a kingdom through slaughter and bloodshed.

When the Danish tyrants, who had robbed his brothers Edmund and Alfred of their life and kingdom, were driven away, Edward was called back into his own country and, with the hearty good-will and rejoicing of all, took the kingdom in the year 1042, being then about forty years old. Thereupon he set himself to repair the breaches which wars had made, and began with the things of God, being desirous that religion should rise from the low estate whereinto it had fallen. Because of the abundance of his charity he was styled everywhere The Father of Orphans and Parent of the Poor, and he was never happier than when he had spent upon the needy the whole of his kingly treasures.

He had a wonderful love toward John the Evangelist, so that he was used never to refuse anything for the which he was asked in that Saint's name. Concerning this a marvellous tale is wont to be told. It is said that the Evangelist appeared to him once while in tattered raiment, and in his own name asked him for an alms. It befell that the King had no money, wherefore he took a ring from off his finger and gifted him therewith. Not long afterward the Evangelist sent the same ring back to him by a pilgrim, with a message concerning his death, which was then at hand. The King therefore commanded that prayers should be made for him, and then fell blessedly asleep in the Lord, upon the very day which had been foretold to him by the Evangelist, that is to say, on January 5th in 1066. In 1161 he was canonized, and on October 13th, two years later, his body, which was said to have been found incorrupt, was by Saint Thomas Becket translated to Westminster Abbey, where it is still enshrined behind the high altar. Saint Edward is venerated as the heavenly Patron of England, and the story of his ring is intertwined with the traditions of the Abbey where he is buried.


O GOD, who didst bestow upon thy blessed King Edward the crown of everlasting glory: grant us, we pray thee; so to venerate him on earth, that we may be found worthy to reign with him in heaven. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1493-1494

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website

The Ordo Kalendar is available from the Anglican Parishes Association.