Eric IX Jedvardsson, King of Sweden, St.
ERIC IX JEDVARDSSON, KING OF SWEDEN, ST.
Patron of sweden, reigned from 1150 to c. 1160. He was killed, according to legend, in the church of Old-Uppsala
when a Danish prince invaded the country and disputed his right to the throne. This same legend attributes to Eric all the qualities of a good Northern king, i.e., he instituted salutary laws, helped the poor, worked miraculous cures, etc. One of the most famous, although not undisputed, events in the legend, is Eric's "crusade" to Finland (see henry of uppsala). He was honored as the ancestor of a line of Swedish kings. As early as the end of the 12th century, a calendar from the Diocese of Uppsala (Vallentuna) mentioned St. Eric. His elevatio took place probably before 1200; he was never formally canonized. Although the surviving legend is of later origin, it seems to be based on records contemporary with the official recognition of his cult. A rhythmical history entitled Assunt Erici regis sollemnia (Analecta Hymnica 25) and the sequence Gratulemur dulci prosa (Analecta Hymnica 42) are extant. Numerous paintings, sculptures, and hymns (Analecta Hymnica 43) commemorate Eric; his image appears on Swedish coins. His cult was observed not only in Sweden but in Finland, Denmark, Norway, and in the sphere of influence of the brigittine sisters. He is pictured with a sword, palm, and crown. The cathedral of Uppsala, which was once adorned with paintings depicting Eric's life, houses supposedly authentic relics of Eric in a 16th-century shrine.
Feast: May 18.
Bibliography: e. carlsson, "Translacio archiepiscoporum," Uppsala Universitets Årsskrift (Uppsala 1944) No. 2. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956–) 2:342–343. b. thordeman, ed., Erik den Helige: Historia, kult, reliker (Stockholm 1954), articles by t. schmid et al. o. hartman, Korsfararen; mirakelspel i tre akter (Stockholm 1962).