, one of the early propagators. of Christianity, and the first who introduced it into Denmark and Sweden, and hence called the apostle of the north, was born at Picardy, Sept. 8, in the year 801. He was educated in a Benedictine convent at Corbie, from whence he went to Corvey, in Westphalia, where he made such progress in his studies, that, in the year 821, he was appointed rector of the school belonging to the convent. Harold, king of Denmark, who had been expelled from his dominions, and had found an asylum with Lewis, the son and successor of Charlemagne, who had induced him to receive Christian baptism, was about to return to his country, and Lewis enquired for some pious person, who might accompany him, and confirm both him and his attendants in the Christian religion. Vala, the abbot of Corbie, pointed out Anscarius, who readily undertook the perilous task, although against the remonstrances of his | friends. Aubert, a monk of noble birth, offered to be his companion, and Harold accordingly set out with them, but neither he nor his attendants, who were rude and barbarous in their manners, were at all solicitous for the accommodation of the missionaries, who therefore suffered much in the beginning of their journey. When the company arrived at Cologne, Hadebald, the archbishop, commiserating the two strangers, gave them a bark, in which they might convey their effects; but, when they came to the frontiers of Denmark, Harold, finding access to his dominions impossible, because of the power of those who had usurped the sovereignty, remained in Friesland, where Anscarius and Aubert laboured with zeal and success, both among Christians and Pagans, for about two years, when Aubert died. In the year 829, many Swedes having expressed a desire to be instructed in Christianity, Anscarius received a commission from the emperor Lewis to visit Sweden. Another monk of Corbie, Vitmar, was assigned as his companion, and a pastor was left to attend on king Harold, in the room of Anscarius. In the passage, they fell in with pirates, who took the ship, and all its effects, On this occasion, Anscarius lost the emperor’s presents, and forty volumes, which he had collected for the use of the ministry. But his mind was determined, and he and his partner having reached land, they walked on foot a long way; now and then crossing some arms of the sea in boats. At length they arrived at Birca, from the ruins of which Stockholm took its rise, though built at some distance from it. The king of Sweden received them favourably, and his council unanimously agreed that they should remain in the country, and preach the gospel, which they did with very considerable success.

After six months, the two missionaries returned with letters written by the king’s hand, into France, and informed Lewis of their success. The consequence was, that Anscarius was appointed first archbishop of Hamburgh; and this city, being in the neighbourhood of Denmark, was henceforth considered as the metropolis -of all the countries north of the Elbe which should embrace Christianity. The mission into Denmark was at the same time attended to; and Gausbert, a relation of Ebbo, arch-? bishop of Rheims, who, as well as Anscarius, was concerned in these missions, was sent to reside as a bishop in Sweden; where the number of Christians increased. Anscarius, | now, by order of the emperor Lewis, went to Rome, that he might receive confirmation in the new archbishopric of Hamburgh. On his return, he applied himself to the business of conversion, and was succeeding in his efforts, when, in the year 845, Hamburgh was taken and pillaged by the Normans, and he escaped with difficulty, and lost all his effects. About the same time, Gausbert, whom he had sent into Sweden, was banished through a popular insurrection, a circumstance which retarded the progress of religion for some years in that country.

Anscarius, however, although reduced to poverty, and deserted by many of his followers, persisted with uncommon patience in the exercise of his mission in the north of Europe, till the bishopric of Bremen was conferred upon him, and Hamburgh and Bremen were from that time considered as united in one diocese. But it was not without much pains taken to overcome his scruples, that he was induced to accept of this provision for his wants. Having still his eye on Denmark, which had been his first object, and having now gained the friendship of Eric, the king, he was enabled to plant Christianity with some success at Sleswick, a port then called Hadeby, and much frequented by merchants. Many persons who had been baptized at Hamburgh resided there, and a number of Pagans were induced to countenance Christianity in some degree. At length, through the friendship of Eric, he was enabled to visit Sweden once more, where he established the gospel at Birca, from whence it spread to other parts of the kingdom. After his return to Denmark, he died Feb. 3, in the year 864. Without being exempt from the superstitions of his age, Anscarius was one of the most pious, resolute, indefatigable, and disinterested propagators of Christianity in early times. The centuriators only bear hard on his character, but Mosheim more candidly allows that his labours deserve the highest commendation. His ablest defender, however, is the author of the work from which this account is abridged.

Anscarius wrote many books, but none are extant, except some letters, and “Liber de vita et miraculis S. Wilohadi,” printed with the life of Anscarius, Cologne, 1642, 8vo, and often since. Anscarius’s life is also in the “Scriptores rerurn Danicarum,” No. 30, of Langebek. 1


Milner’s Church History, vol. III. p. 258, principally from Fleury, Albs* and the —Gent. Mag. Hist. Cimbrtse Literariae Moileri. -—Moreri,