Helena of Skövde

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Saint Helena of Skövde
Helge Johanssons granitskulptur Gyllen i Kyrkparken i Skövde, den 9 oktober 2006, bild 1.JPG
Carving of Helena at the Gyllen i Kyrkparken in Skövde, Sweden.
Bornc. 1101
Västergötland, Sweden
Götene, Sweden
Venerated inCatholic Church
Church of Sweden
Some Protestant communities
Canonized1165 by Pope Alexander III
Feast31 July
PatronageVästergötland, Sweden
Skövde, Sweden
Church of Saint Helena

Saint Helena, sometimes Saint Helen of Sköfde (Elin av Skövde) (c. 1101-1160), was a Swedish local Catholic saint. She is considered to be the patroness saint of the town of Skövde, Sweden. Saint Helena decorates the Skövde Municipality coat of arms and is the patroness saint of the Church of Saint Helena in Ränneslöv.


Saint Helena with Våmbs Church and Church of Saint Helena. Artwork (1954) in Skövde Church by Erik Olson.

Helena was born around 1101. She was of noble family and is generally believed to have been the daughter of the Jarl Guthorm. In adult life, she married and bore children. After the death of her husband, she lived on his farm at Våmb. She also gave her belongings to the poor and undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. She returned and settled on the farm where she dedicated herself to spiritual and kind actions. According to legend, it is Helena who built Våmbs Church (Våmbs kyrka) in the Skara diocese at the farm in Våmb. The church in Skövde, now called Church of Saint Helena (Sankta Helena kyrka), was also largely built as a result of generous donations from Helena.

Helena had a daughter who had married, and was beaten and abused by her husband. After a time, the servants at Helena's farm united and killed the husband. His relatives blamed Helena for the murder, even though she was on a pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem at the time. To avenge his death they killed Helena at Götene while she was on her way to church in 1160.

Helena was canonized in 1164 by the Pope Alexander III with the sponsorship of Stefan (dead 1185), the first Archbishop of Uppsala. Her legend was first written down by Brynolf Algotsson, Bishop of Skara (1278–1317).[1]

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Other sources[edit]

  • Pernler, Sven-Erik, S:ta Elin av Skövde: kulten, källorna, kvinnan (Skara: Diocese of Skara historical society. 2007) ISBN 978-91-976688-3-5

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