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Canute IV, Saint

Martyr and King of Denmark, date of birth uncertain; d. July 10, 1086

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Canute IV (CNUT), Saint, martyr and King of Denmark, date of birth uncertain; d. July 10, 1086, the third of the thirteen natural sons of Sweyn II, surnamed Estridsen. Elected king on the death of his brother Harold about 1080, he waged war on his barbarous enemies and brought Courland and Livonia to the faith. Having married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Count of Flanders, he had a son Charles, surnamed the Good. He was a strong ruler, as is proved by his stern dealing with the pirate Eigill of Bornholm. The happiness of his people and the interests of the Church were the objects he had most at heart. To the cathedral of Roskilde, still the royal burying-place, he gave his own diadem. His austerity was equalled by his assiduity in prayer. An expedition to England, in favor of the Saxons against William the Conqueror, planned by him in 1085, failed through the treachery of his brother Olaf. His people having revolted on account of the cruelties of certain tax-collectors, Canute retired to the island of Fanen. There, in the church of St. Alban, after due preparation for death, the king, his brother Benedict, and seventeen others were surrounded and slain July 10, 1086. His feast is January 19, translation, July 10; his emblems, a lance or arrows, in memory of the manner of his death.


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