Saint Henry of Uppsala, a 12th-century English native residing in Rome, was appointed as the Bishop of Uppsala, Sweden, in 1152. This appointment came through Nicholas Breakspear, the Papal Legate who later ascended to papacy as Pope Adrian IV.
In 1154, St. Eric, the reigning Swedish monarch, embarked on a military campaign against the Finns, aiming to curb their incursions into Swedish territories. Henry joined this expedition, and following the Swedish victory, he played a pivotal role in the Christianization of the conquered Finnish populace. He performed baptisms at the Spring of Kuppis near Turku. While King Eric returned to Sweden, Henry stayed back, dedicating his efforts to further evangelize the Finns.
During his mission, Henry founded a church at Nousis, which became the epicenter of his evangelical activities. However, his mission met a tragic end when he faced martyrdom. A Finnish convert named Lalli, who had previously murdered a Swedish soldier, was excommunicated by Henry after a meticulous review of the case and devout prayer. Enraged by this excommunication, Lalli retaliated by murdering Henry with an axe. Posthumously, Henry was laid to rest at Nousis, and his grave became a site of reported miracles, further cementing his legacy in the Christian faith.
Photo credit: German Vizulis / Shutterstock.com
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