紀念日 / Memorial date
聖歐爾發 (St. Alfred) 公元八百年左右生於德國薩克遜 (Saxon) 一個新奉教的貴族家庭。
公元851年歐爾發成為希德海城 (Hildesheim) 主教，修建了城內第一座主教座堂，歷時二十年，於公元872年11月1日由聖人親自祝聖，奉聖母瑪利亞、聖葛斯默及達彌盎、聖女則濟里亞，華肋廉及諦步爵 (Valerian and Tiburtius) 為主保。同時開辦了主教座堂學校。這座學校就成了希德海城教育制度的根源。
聖歐爾發創立許多修道院和會院，其中最重要的是他在厄森城 (Essen) 創立的女修院 (Canonesses Convent)。這座女修院奉天主聖三、天主聖母、聖葛斯默及達彌盎為主保。
Saint Alfred, Bishop
St. Alfred was born into an aristocratic family in Saxony, Germany at around 800 AD, but the time and place of birth remained unknown. Not long before he was born, King Charlemagne of the Franconian Empire conquered the Saxons after some long and bitter battles. The Saxons were converted to Christianity. St. Alfred was born to a family of new converts and was educated at a convent.
St. Alfred became Bishop of Hildesheim in 851 AD, and initiated the construction of the first cathedral of the city. On 1 November 872, the cathedral was consecrated by the saint himself and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, St. Cosmas and St. Damian, St. Cecilia, St. Valerian and St. Tiburtius as patron saints. A cathedral school was also opened, which became the foundation of the educational system in Hildesheim.
The saint had founded many convents and seminaries. The most important one was the Canonesses Convent in Essen. The church there was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the Holy Mother of God, St. Cosmas and St. Damian.
Bishops at that time were greatly revered in the kingdom and were often given duties by the kings. While St. Alfred was a good friend and adviser to Ludwig der Deutsche, king of East Fraconia, he was often given diplomatic duties to negotiate with the king’s brothers and nephews. His adherence to justice and his political wisdom had brought successes to his diplomatic missions and earned him the reputation of a genius.
On 15 August 874, which was the day of the Assumption, St. Alfred passed away after some two decades as Bishop of Hildesheim. He was buried at the Essen Cathedral.
We do not know when devotion to St. Alfred began. The almanac of bishops of Essen in the 12th century has a record that says: “Alfred passed away at an advanced age and joined rank with the saints. He was buried at the Essen Cathedral which he built and consecrated. Ever since then, there have been many miraculous healings. Pilgrims from other places bear witness to these matters.”
In 1965, Pope Paul VI approved a feast day for St. Alfred. His feast day is celebrated on 15 August, the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, but also in Essen and Hildesheim on 16 August.
St. Alfred, pray for us.
Website of St. Alfred’s Church, Hong Kong (https://stalfred.catholic.org.hk/en/)