Benedict, Duke of Finland

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Benedict
Duke of Finland
Bishop of Linköping
Bengt Birgersson.JPG
Born 1254
Died 25 May 1291 (aged 36–37)
Father Birger Jarl
Mother Ingeborg Eriksdotter of Sweden
Religion Roman Catholicism

Bishop Benedict, Duke of Finland (Swedish: Bengt Birgersson; Finnish: Bengt Birgerinpoika; 1254 - 25 May 1291) was a Swedish prelate bishop and duke.

Early life[edit]

He was the youngest son of Birger Jarl, de facto ruler of Sweden from 1250 to 1266. He married Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, daughter of Eric X of Sweden.[1]

Older Swedish literature incorrectly stated that Benedict was the son of Birger's second wife, Mechtild of Holstein, dowager Queen of Denmark. However, Ingeborg died in 1254, the year of Benedict's birth, at which time Mechtild, widow of Abel of Denmark, still lived in Denmark for many years.

Two of his brothers, Valdemar and Magnus III, later became kings of Sweden.

Career[edit]

Benedict pursued an ecclesiastical career. While he was Archdeacon of Linköping Cathedral, he became chancellor to his brother, King Magnus.

In 1284, some time after the death of his next-elder brother Eric of Småland, and during the reign of Magnus, Benedict was made Duke of Finland. He was the first known holder of that title and appanage. The title may have been Duke of Sweden, the successor office to the position of Riksjarl of Sweden, held previously by Eric of Småland, and earlier by Magnus. In this reconstruction, Benedict was called Duke of Osterlandia, or Finland, because many of his fiefs were located in Finland — in the same way his brother Eric's had been in Småland.

In 1286 he was elected Bishop of Linköping. Linköping's chronicle of bishops from 1523 tells of him: "Scriptores rerum suecicarum medii ævi". There exist at least two of his wills, from 1287 and 1289. He died from the plague.

Ancestry[edit]

Preceded by
Birger Jarl
(Regent of Sweden, conqueror of much of Finland)
Duke of Osterlandia
(Bishop of Linköping)
1284 - 1291
Succeeded by
Valdemar, Duke of Finland
(Duke of Oland)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lagerqvist & Åberg in Kings and Rulers of Sweden ISBN 91-87064-35-9 p. 19