Helen of Skövde, St.

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Fl. 12th century, Västergötland, Sweden. Helen (or Elin) became a widow quite young. According to legend she was murdered after a family strife and buried in the church of Skövde, which she had helped build. When later she was venerated as a martyr, the church was named for her. The Office of her feast, written by St. Brynolf Algotsson, bishop of Skara, praises her as the patron saint of Västergötland and all Sweden. She is not to be confused with St. Helen of Tisvilde, Zealand, in Denmark. Her cultus was widespread in medieval Sweden; several paintings and sculptures representing her are extant.

Feast: July 31.

Bibliography: j. a. dunney, Saint of the Snows: A Chronicle of the Holy Elin of Skövde (Albany, N.Y. 1937). t. lundÉn, Credo 25 (1944) 166182, with bibliog. Kulturhistorisk leksikon for nordisk middelalder, ed. a. karker et al., v.6 (Copenhagen 1961) 305308, with bibliog.

[h. bekker-nielsen]

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Helen of Skövde, St.

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