Sunday, July 17, 2011
July 17 -- Feast of Saint Kenelm
Kenelm was a ninth century Mercian prince who died in battle against the Welsh. There's no reliable record of why he was considered a holy martyr, but the following possibilities exist.
1. He was in tight with the Pope -- tight enough, anyway, that His Holiness had sanctioned Kenelm's ownership of Glastonbury, which is one of the more sacred sites on the island.
2. His dad, the King, was busted up about losing his son and wanted him hailed as much as possible.
3. He was buried in an abbey and over time his reputation among the monks grew.
However it may be that he got regarded as a saint, his reputation inflated a couple of centuries later when he became the child martyr of his sister, the evil witch Princess Quendreda. According to this very fictive account, he was only seven when he took his late father's place on the throne, but his sister enticed the boy's tutor to murder him so she could be king. The location of his body was disclosed by an Anglo-Saxon document delivered by a dove to the high altar of Saint Peter's in Rome. English pilgrims read it and brought the news back so that his relics could be translated to Winchcombe for proper veneration. His evil witch-princess-sister was reading a psalm backwards as is the wont of such people when working their foul magic -- I believe it was the translation and proper veneration of the martyr's body that caused her eyes to fall out.
The real Quendreda by the way was an abbess of Minster (in Kent).
Posted by Tom Major at 4:00 AM