Saint of the Day ~ January 19

SAINT CANUTUS, KING of DENMARK (c.1042-1086), martyr – Patron saint of Denmark

Today, the Church honors Saint Canutus (also known as Saint Canute), who used his monarchy as king of Denmark to establish peace, justice and the promotion of Christian virtue among his subjects.

Born about the year 1042, little is written of Canutus concerning his youth until he rose to the throne of Denmark in the year 1080. He began his reign by a successful war against the enemies of the state, and by planting the seed of faith in the conquered provinces. Amid the glory of his victories, he humbly prostrated himself at the foot of the crucifix, laying there his crown, and offering himself and his kingdom to the King of kings.

The justice of King Canutus IV as sovereign was well known. He applied himself to the reform of all internal abuses. For this purpose, he enacted severe but necessary laws for the strict administration of justice, the repression of violence and tyranny by the powerful, without respect to one’s personal rank or privilege.

King Canutus favored and honored holy men, and granted many privileges and immunities to the clergy in his kingdom. His charity and tenderness towards his subjects helped him to discern all possible ways in which to make them a joyful and contented people.

In the summer of 1086, during a rebellion within his kingdom, the king was surprised at church by rebels. He confessed his sins and received Holy Communion. While on his knees and stretching out his arms before the altar, he was struck down by the enemies of his Christian reign by a lance which pierced his body. King Canutus died on July 10, 1086.

Miracles were soon reported as taking place at his tomb, and on April 19, 1101, Pope Paschal II confirmed the “cult of Canute” that had arisen, and King Canutus IV was canonized as a saint under the Danish name San Canute, and was the first Dane to be canonized. His remains are laid to rest in San Canute’s Cathedral in Odense, Denmark.

We commemorate his feastday on January 19.

(From,,,, and



(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for One Martyr)

“All-powerful, Ever-living God, You gave Saint Canutus the courage to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even to the point of giving his life for it. By his prayers, help us to endure all suffering for love of You, and to seek You with all our hearts, for You alone are the Source of life.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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