26. January: St. Eystein (St. Augustine) of Nidaros, feast in Trondheim bishopric

We know Eystein best as cathedral builder. Without him, Nidaros Cathedral, as we know it, would not have existed. In the summer of 1229, he was beatified by a full gathering of Norway's bishops. He had asked to be buried in Nidaros Cathedral, and today there is a memorial plaque to him in front of the altar in the Chapter House.

Eystein Erlendson as presented on the screen wall of Nidaros Cathedral. Photo Hæge Hestnes

Read more about St. Eystein in Norwegian <link http: www.katolsk.no biografier historisk eystein external-link-new-window external link in new>Den hellige Eystein

A brief summary: Eystein Erlendson ( ca 1120- 26. January 1188) was born in Trøndelag into an aristocratic family. He was educated at Nidaros and abroad (Paris and Licoln), and chose the Latinised form of Eystein as his name: Augustinus.

In 1158/59 he was appointed Archbishop to Nidaros by King Inge.

Eystein was an active and intelligent man, also a man of peace and with a social conscience. Only some of his achievements can be mentioned here.

He was deeply involved with church and secular politics and spent several periods in exile due to differences with King Sverre. He established the church ceremony of crowning and annointing the king, and introduced the oath whereby the new king pronounced that he ruled the kingdom as St. Olav's servant. He penned the manuscript Passio et Miracula Beati Olavi, which describes St.Olav's life and miraculous events. This manuscript exists today in complete form. He  worked to spread the fame of St. Olav and Nidaros as a place of pilgrimage, built homes for the priests and a hospital for the lay people.

In addition, he was The Cathedral Builder, bringing new styles of architecture and skilled stonemasons from abroad, to extend, improve and rebuild the cathedral in Nidaros. Today's Nidaros Cathedral still carries his very strong signature, and it is significant that the only dated inscription in the cathedral commemorates Eystein's inauguration of the chapel in the southern transept, where the following inscription can still be read: This altar is dedicated by Archbishop Eystein (Augustino) in the first year of his episcopat, in praise of our Lord Jesus Christ and to honour St. John the Baptist, St. Vincentius and St. Silvester, in the year 1161, the 26. November.