Odo (Oda) of Canterbury, St.

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Archbishop of canterbury; d. June 2, 958. Odo, called "the Good," was born of pagan Danish parents but brought up by a thane of King alfred. King Athelstan made him bishop of Ramsbury in 927 and employed him as ambassador to Hugh Capet, duke of the Franks. In 942 King Edmund offered him the See of Canterbury, which he accepted only after receiving the Benedictine habit from Fleury. As archbishop he restored Elmham as a separate bishopric for East Anglia, ordered his bishops to make annual visitations of their dioceses, and made the building of parish churches part of his church reform. He ordered ten chapters dealing with morals and ecclesiastical discipline to be drawn up. Although not enacted by a synod, "Odo's Chapters are the only 10th-century ordinances of the same category as synodal acts and related sources." The Chapters are drawn largely from the Legatine Councils of 786. Odo also encouraged Frithegode to write a metrical Life of St. Wilfrid of York. Odo's cult was observed at Canterbury, where his name appears in calendars of Christ Church (Henry Bradshaw Society 72: 175; 77:73).

Feast: July 4 (formerly June 2).

Bibliography: Sources. g. schoebe, "The Chapters of Archbishop Oda (942/6) and the Canons of the Legatine Councils of 786," Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 35 (1962) 7583. eadmer of canterbury, Vita sancti Odonis, Patrologia Latina 133:933944 (erroneously ascribed to Osbern of Canterbury). "Vita sancti Oswaldi" in The Historians of the Church of York and Its Archbishops, ed. j. raine (Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores ) 71.1:399475. william of malmesbury, Gesta pontificum anglorum, ed. n. e. s. a. hamilton (Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores ) 52:2024, 30, 248. Literature. w. hunt, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 14:866868. r. r. darlington, "Ecclesiastical Reform in the Late Old English Period," English Historical Review 51 (1936) 385428. f. m. stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (2d ed. Oxford 1947) 342, 352353, 360362, 431, 442. m. deanesly, The Pre-Conquest Church in England (New York 1961). r. w. southern, Saint Anselm and His Biographer (New York 1963).

[b. w. scholz]