Eskil of Strängnäs (d. 1080)

St. Eskil was an Anglo-Saxon saint who is remembered for founding the first diocese in the region around Lake Mälaren in Swedenm today the Diocese of Strängnäs, outside Stockholm. It is not known how Eskil first came to Sweden from England; given the age in which he lived, it is not improbable that he journeyed to Scandinavia in the years following the conquest of England by William, perhaps in order to escape the disorders introduced into his homeland by the Conqueror.

At any rate, we find him laboring in the province of Södermanland under obedience to Bishop Sigfrid, who sent him to work among the missions in the Lake Mälaren district. Eskil set up his mission at the small town of Tuna (modern Eskilstuna), where he founded a monastery and worked to spread the faith among the Norse in the district.

Sometime around 1080, he made a journey east to the pagan Norse sanctuary at
Strängnäs, presumably in order to oppose the pagan rituals that were carried out there. According to tradition, the Norse of Strängnäs resented his interference in their rituals and stoned him to death around 1080-1081. His corpse was returned to the monastery at Tuna, where a miraculous well is associated with the spot where his body once lay. St. Eskil is still buried in the monastery in Eskiltuna, and a cathedral now stands on the site of his martyrdom.

Eskil is associated with three fellow laborers among the Swedes, Saint Sigfrid of Växjö along with Saint Botvid and Saint David, all of whom perished at the hands of the pagans. His feast is celebrated on June 12; he is the patron saint of the Diocese of Strängnäs.