Acta sanctorum in Selio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Acta sanctorum in Selio is a Latin hagiographical work on Sunniva and the other saints of Selja. It is believed to have been composed shortly after 1170. Oddr Snorrason made use of it in his Latin Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar.[1]

The text tells the story of Sunniva, an Irish princess who flees her native land with a group of followers. They settle the previously uninhabited islands of Selja and Kinn in Norway during the rule of the pagan Jarl Hákon Sigurðarson. Their Norwegian neighbors on the mainland suspect the Christians of stealing sheep and complain to Jarl Hákon. Hákon arrives on Selja with a group of armed men, intending to kill the inhabitants. When the Christians realize what is happening they hide in caves on the island and pray to God to collapse the caves to spare them from being ravaged by Hákon and his men. The caves collapse and kill all the Irishmen.

In the following years a miraculous light is seen on the island. The Christian king Óláfr Tryggvason investigates the island and finds the bones of the martyrs and the completely undamaged body of Sunniva. A church is erected on the island. In 1170 the relics are transferred to Bergen.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hoops 2003, p. 66.