Today, October 12th, is the Saint Day of St Edwin (588-633). who lived almost exactly contemporaneously with Muhammad, and who was a very important King of Northumbria, when that was an independent Kingdom, and began his life as a pagan, who would have followed the ancient runic wisdom of the Anglo Saxon’s priests and the pantheon of deities they worshipped, including Odin and Freya etc. He was apparently a learned man and a deep thinker. Later in life, he married a Kentish Christian Princess, having fallen in love with her, and she said she wouldn’t marry him unless he allowed her to keep her Christian faith, and to bring a priest or two with her up North. he agreed. After some years, he himself, after much deliberation and reflection, also decided to become a Christian. It was he who built the foundations of York Minister, and also his Kingdom at one point stretched so far North that it included Edinburgh, which was named Edwinsburg after him,. Since i am going to Edinburgh on Monday i think it is nice to have a chance to salute the Saint after whom the city is named. Bede tells the whole story of Edwin’s life and reign. later, he was killed in battle by the pagan King of Mercia, Penda. Those were troubled times back then, but as i explored yesterday in this blog, for many Christians around the world, death is a daily fear they have to face up to. Edwin also had a great reputation for justice. What would he have done about 11 Christians an hour being martyred somewhere on the planet, one wonders ? Interestingly, the World Council of Churches grew out of the ecumenical movement founded in Edinburgh. Maybe they ought to be doing more to highlight these abuses ? Also today at the Castle we celebrate the lives and works of: Brother Roger Schurtz, founder of Taize, who was also killed recently; Rilke the poet, whose Castle Duino of his famous elegies I visited a while back in Italy; Berossus of Babylon, a famous historian and theologians of antiquity; Alexander Altmann, the famous Jewish philosopher, James Webb, the historian of the esoteric and occult whose work influenced by own research orientation early on in my academic career (and who died in a car crash aged 34 on my birthday, May 8). To all their deeds and works, we give thanks. May we carry on and prove that the Pen is indeed mightier than the sword !