January 8

St. Thorfinn

St. Thorfinn

Early Life

Thorfinn was birthed in the city of Trondelag around the 1200s. It ispresumed that he may have been a Cistercian monk before he was madeBishop of the Ancient Diocese of Hamar in the medieval Norway. Only afew details can be gathered about Thorfinn, even if he’d been a popularsaint to a reasonable extent. He lived a really low-profile life. St.Thorfinn is known to have lived a just life, and to have stood up foronly what was right. He is remembered as a good man whose goodness wasjointed with strength. A poem was written about him by Father Walter,which was left at his gravestone. He was named as a witness to theagreement of Tonsborg in the year 1277, which led to his being sent onexile by King Eric.

Call to Dedication and Devotion

Because he was identified as a witness to the agreement of Tonsborg, hewas exiled by King Eric (who was referred to at the time as“Priesthater”), with claims that Thorfinn had supported the Archbishopof Nidaros by being witness to the agreement. This support was of thecase of the dispute that had occurred as a result of the stateinterference with the matters of the Church. On exile, Thorfinn foundhome in Flanders, in a Cistercian abbey. This act of injustice vestedupon him did not prevent him from continually doing good and standingfor what was right.

It is believed that in his earlier years, St. Thorfinn had been aCistercian monk before becoming the Bishop of Hamar. He had carried outboth duties in service to humanity and God, most importantly. He wasdriven by love and passion for God unto his good works.


Knowing that his death was drawing near, the saint drafted a will inwhich he distributed his properties between his family and the church.

The Saint wasn’t intrigued by the pursuance of fame and recognition forhis acts of goodness, generosity, patience and aversion to evil; he wasmore focused on pleasing the Lord.


Upon his return from the exile, St. Thorfinn fell deeply ill and passedaway as a result in the year 1285. His grave, discovered fifty yearslater, smelt pleasantly, and Father Walter’s poem to him which hung onthe gravestone still felt very fresh. This miraculous display proclaimedThorfinn’s holiness, and devotions to him soon spread around theCistercian and Norway.

Feast Day

The feast day of St. Thorfinn is usually celebrated on the 8th day ofJanuary.

3 Interesting Facts About St. Thorfinn

  1. St. Thorfinn was exiled by King Eric for deciding to stand with the
    Archbishop of Nidaros over an argument with the king.
  2. On exile, St. Thorfinn took shelter in the abbey of Cistercia, and
    did not stop doing good.
  3. Did you know that fifty years after his death, St. Thorfinn’s grave,
    which had been long forgotten still smelt pleasantly, and the
    sheet in which Father Walter had written his poem to the saint
    still appeared fresh?

Prayer to St. Thorfinn

All-powerful and ever-living God, you called Saint Thorfinn to guideyour people by his word and example. With him we pray to you: watch overthe pastors of your Church with the people entrusted to their care, andlead them to salvation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, yourSon, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.