October 13 is the feast day of Edward the Confessor, the second-to-last Anglo-Saxon king of England ruling from 1042 to 1066. While many historians debate over his success as king, his very nickname suggests a quite fruitful spiritual legacy: Edward was in fact canonized as Saint in 1161, serving as one of England's national saints until Saint George was declared national patron saint in 1350. Edward is also the protagonist of his very own saga, the 14th-century Icelandic Játvarðar Saga: it is here that the king of England was first "transformed" from a simple, pious (but very normal) man into a miracle-working saint. One of these miracles is the one depicted in the illumination above, which involves the healing of a crippled beggar named Gillemichel (or Gilly Michael). According to legend, despite his wounds and severe impairments, the man had traveled from Ireland to Rome in search of a cure. There he had met with the Pope: the Holy Father told him that he would be cured only if King Edward would physically carry him from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey, in London. Having heard the story, Edward complied: he took the man, raised him on his back, and carried him to the altar of the Abbey. As the king lowered him back to the ground, Gillemichel found himself miraculously cured of his disability. "Edward the Confessor and Gillemichel", illumination from the manuscript "Life of Eustace and other saints", ms. Egerton 745, f. 91r, first half of the 14th century, British Library, London.
Post consigliati