Statue of St. Oswald


St. Oswald won control of Northumbria at battle against a pagan army in 634. The night before the conflict he had constructed a huge wooden cross on the field and had his largely pagan army pray to God for victory. Then Oswald, a Christian who was converted by monks at Iona, undertook the conversion of the people of his kingdom. He engaged St. Aidan, a monk of Iona, as bishop of Northumbria. And Aidan established Christianity in the kingdom, founding many monasteries and building many churches. In 642 a pagan army attacked Oswald’s forces. And he was killed Aug. 5. His final words were, “O God, have mercy on their souls.”

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