Archbishop Eystein Erlendsson of Nidaros (1120-1188)

We know Eystein best as the builder of Nidaros Cathedral. Without him we would not have Nidarosdomen! In 1229 he was declared blessed (beatus) by the Norwegian bishops and enshrined. According to his own wish he was buried in the Chapter House of Nidarosdomen. His memorial day is 26 January.

 

Stained-glass painting in Nidaros Cathedral

Archbishop Eystein Erlendsson of Nidaros is one of the most important characters in the history of Norway. He continued St. Olav’s Christianisation and Norway became a Christian state according to the European standard of that time. He was a learned man, educated in Nidaros and at St. Victor Abbey in Paris, which was an important centre of learning.

He had many contacts, both nationally and internationally. One of his friends was St. Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury from 1162. He met Thomas Becket on his journey via Paris to Rome where Eystein was consecrated as archbishop by the pope in 1160.

Beside his important legislation work both for the church and the royal government, he made efforts to develop the Olav cult. He is the assumed author of “Passio Olavi”, a collection of legends relating to Saint Olav. He also passed a law that protected the pilgrims to Nidaros.

By a decree of 30 September 2002, the Vatican liturgical congregation stated that the optional memorial day on 26 January in celebration of St. Eystein is raised to the status of Feast in Trondheim Diocese.