O passion-bearer and follower of Christ; Young and guileless Kenelm.
Feast day: 17th July
Prince of Mercia
Died c. 812-821. According to a popular legend of the Middle Ages, Kenelm was seven when his father, King Kenulf (Coenwulf) of Mercia, died, and he succeeded to the throne…
His sister Quendreda (Cynefrith or Quoenthryth) bribed his tutor, Ascebert, to murder him in the forest of Clent so that she could claim the throne. Ascebert did, but when the body was discovered and enshrined at Winchcombe in Gloucestershire, all kinds of marvels occurred at his grave. All three are actual figures, but Kenelm did not die at seven and may even have died before his father. It is certain that he lived until his adolescence and may have been killed in battle.
He was highly honoured in England during the Middle Ages as a saint and martyr, and still is venerated at Gloucester and Winchcombe, where his relics are enshrined.
In art, Saint Kenelm is depicted as a young prince with a blossoming rod. The picture may also contain a dove with a letter in its mouth.
O Almighty Lord, Thou has made the memory of those who suffered martyrdom for Thee to shine most brightly. Thou didst strengthen them to emulate Thy sufferings and they bravely conquered the power of the devil, and therefore received the grace of healing.
By their prayers, O Christ God, grant peace to Thy people.
Sessional Hymn for Saturday Matins in Tone 3
Troparion to the Passion-Bearer Prince Kenelm in Tone 2
O passion-bearer and follower of Christ; Young and guileless Kenelm. When thou wast murdered by thine own kin, The secret iniquity could not be hidden. A miracle revealed the truth to all the world, And justice was restored. Pray to Christ our God To save our souls.
Holy Saints and Martyrs, pray to God for us. (more)