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St. Thorlak's Day Options
Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 12:00:00 AM
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St. Thorlak's Day

Thorlak Thorhalli (1133-1193) was born in Iceland and, after being educated abroad, returned there to become bishop of Skalholt in 1177 or 1178. He was canonized by the Icelandic parliament five years after his death. His day traditionally marks the climax of Christmas preparations for Icelanders. It is associated with housecleaning, as well as the preparation of special foods. The hangiket, or smoked mutton, for Christmas was usually cooked on this day, and, in the western fjords, the smell of skate hash cooked on St. Thorlak's Day is still considered a harbinger of the holiday season. More...
Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 11:06:36 AM
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not official
Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 12:34:35 PM

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Never heard of St Thorlak. He would have been a contemporary of the brilliant Icelandic bard, Snorri Sturluson.
Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 7:17:34 PM

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Soon after his death, Thorlak began to be honoured as a saint in Iceland - and apparently in England too. According to Þorláks saga, early in the thirteenth century there was a man named Auðunn living in England in a place the saga calls 'Kynn', usually taken to be King's Lynn, in Norfolk. Auðunn had a statue of St Thorlak made and set up in a church there. One day an English cleric came into the church and saw it, and asked whose likeness it was supposed to be. He was told it was St Thorlak, a bishop from Iceland, at which he burst out laughing. He went into the kitchen and got a bit of sausage, and came back into the church in front of the statue; he held out the sausage to the icon, and said to it mockingly, "Want a bit, suet-man? You're a suet-bishop!" 'Suet-man' (mörlandi) was a derogatory name for Icelanders. Having had his joke, the cleric turned to go; but he could not move from the place where he stood, with his hand clenched immovably around the sausage. People flocked to see the miracle, and asked how it had happened. The cleric confessed his foolishness in front of them all, and repented of it (well, you would!). He begged them to pray for him, and after a time he was freed from his miraculous frozen state. And ever afterwards he learned to treat St Thorlak with respect.

That's how Icelandic saints win converts!
Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 9:43:03 PM

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Perhaps fortunately, the U. S. Constitution fails to give Congress the right to confer sainthood (though it is not expressly prohibited.)
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