St. Canute (Knute) of Denmark was the son of Swein Estrithson, whose uncle Canute had reigned in England from 1016 to 1035. In 1081, Canute became King of Denmark, succeeding his brother Harold.
Denmark had been evangelized by the English and was now a Christian nation. Canute restrained the power of the earls, fostered Divine Worship, improved the condition of the clergy, decreed the payment of tithes for their livelihood, and built many churches.
In 1085, the King reasserted a claim on England that he had made previously and planned to invade that country. However, the plans went to naught when the earls rebelled against his policies and led by his brother Harold besieged him at the Church of St. Alban in Odensee.
On July 10, 1086, after receiving the Sacraments of Penance and Communion, Canute was killed kneeling before the altar along with seventeen of his followers and his brother Benedict. Miraculous healing at his tomb led Pope Paschal II to approve his cult in 1101.
PRAYER: God, You enabled St. Canute, Your Martyr, to sacrifice his life in the cause of justice. Through his intercession, help us to give up our lives for Christ in this world so that we might find eternal life in heaven. Amen.