A Valiant Bishop

500 years ago, on 28 November 1522, the Metropolitan Erik Valkendorf died in Rome. He had come to seek the support of the Holy See against the pretensions of King Christian II. This penultimate archbishop of Nidaros, whose destiny strikingly resembles that of Thomas Becket, had commissioned the Missale nidrosiense (1519) for use throughout his province, which embraced, not only all of Norway, but Greenland, Iceland, the Orkneys, and the Isle of Man. He prescribed this prayer for recitation by all his priests before the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries: ‘Grant me, Lord, inward tears with strength to cleanse the stains of my sins and fill my soul with heavenly gladness always. I pray you, Jesus, by your own most kind tears: grant me the grace of tears which, apart from your gift, is beyond me. Grant me a fountain of tears that will not dry up, that my tears may be my bread by day and by night. Prepare this table for your servant in your sight that it may strengthen me. I desire to eat my fill of it daily.’ This evening’s Vespers at the Collegio dell’Anima, of which Valkendorf was a member, can be found here, a brief video-summary here.