Saint of the Day – 26 January – Blessed Eystein Erlandssön (Died 1188) Bishop. Born in the 12th century in Norway and died in 1188 in Nidaros, (modern Trondheim), Norway of natural causes. Also known as – Augustine Erlandsön, Augustinus Nidrosiensi, Øystein Erlendsson.
Eystein Erlendsson was from Trøndelag, probably born just before 1130. On his mother’s side he descended from Erling Skjalgsson and he was related to most of the local nobility.
Eystein was educated at Saint-Victor, in Paris, where we presume he was Ordained too. As a Priest he served as sChaplin to King Inge Krokrygg of Norway. When Archbishop Jon Birgersson died on 24 February 1157, the King Inge appointed Eystein as the new Archbishop.
Eysteinn then travelled to Rome, where his appointment was confirmed by Pope Alexander III in 1161. He returned to Norway and attempted to strengthen the ties between Rome and the Norwegian Church. He established the communities of Augustinian Canons regular and consecrated Saint Thorlak as the Bishop of Iceland.
This was a time of tension between Royal power and the Church. During this conflict Eystein sided with Erling Skakke and his son Magnus. When Sverre Sigurdsson eventually gained control over large regions of the realm Eystein was forced into exile. He stayed in Suffolk in England for around three years before returning to Norway in the summer of 1183.
On the political level the Archbishop was forced to agree to several compromises, which included coming to terms with King Sverre (whom he had excommunicated).
From his final years, history knows Eystein best as the grand strategist during the initial great period of building Nidaros Cathedral. He had brought ideas from England about the new Gothic style and he let this style dominate the further plans for the Cathedral.
Eystein also left a lasting mark in the form of Passio Olavi, a hagiographical work written in Latin relating to the life and works of Saint Olaf, with particular emphasis on his missionary work. The title is an abbreviation for Passio Et Miracula Beati Olaui, meaning Holy Olav’s sufferings and miracles.
Eystein died in 1188. He was proclaimed a saint in 1229 but Papal approbation was not forthcoming. Eystein Erlendsson has ,nevertheless, been accepted as a Norwegian Saint – one of four. 1 Blessed Eystein’s cult was finally approved by the Vatican and he is now entered in the register of saints and the beatified. . Blessed Eystein is commemorated on the date of his death, 26 January.