Monday, 21 November 2011

The Prophecy of St. Edward the Confessor

The Coronation of St. Edward the Confessor, as depicted on the Bayeux Tapestery

During the course of my research for Unveiling the Apocalypse I attempted to find the original source material of every prophecy I cite. In doing so I discovered that very many prophecies that are accepted as genuine by a large proportion of Catholics are at best, of untraceable origin, and at worst, completely spurious. Consequently there were quite a few prophecies which I felt I could not include in the book. Some prophecies of unknown or pseudonymous origin are so popular however that I thought it would be remiss to exclude mention of them, but I make sure to identify them as such.
It was pleasing to discover then that many other ancient prophecies can indeed be traced back to a credible source, the prophecy of St. Edward the Confessor being one of them. Being able to trace this prophecy back to an original document makes the prediction it makes all the more remarkable, since from it we are able to discern that this saintly king accurately foretold events of English history hundreds of years before they took place.
St. Edward, who reigned from 1042-1066, was the penultimate Anglo-Saxon king, and was renowned even in his own lifetime for leading a life of holiness. On his deathbed the king issued a famous prophecy, which has since been recognised as a prediction that his beloved country would be estranged from the Catholic faith for three centuries, after which it would reflower and "bear fruit". The prophecy was quoted by Ambrose Lisle Phillipps in a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury in 1850 after the conditions brought about by the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 allowed the return of the diocesan episcopacy to England, which occurred after Pope Pius IX issued the papal bull Universalis Ecclesiae in 1850.

"During the month of January, 1066, the holy King of England St. Edward the Confessor was confined to his bed by his last illness in his royal Westminster Palace. St. Ælred, Abbott of Rievaulx, in Yorkshire, relates that a short time before his happy death, this holy king was wrapt in ecstasy, when two pious Benedictine monks of Normandy, whom he had known in his youth, during his exile in that country, appeared to him, and revealed to him what was to happen to England in future centuries, and the cause of the terrible punishment. They said: 'The extreme corruption and wickedness of the English nation has provoked the just anger of God. When malice shall have reached the fullness of its measure, God will, in His wrath, send to the English people wicked spirits, who will punish and afflict them with great severity, by separating the green tree from its parent stem the length of three furlongs. But at last this same tree, through the compassionate mercy of God, and without any national (governmental) assistance, shall return to its original root, reflourish and bear abundant fruit.' After having heard these prophetic words, the saintly King Edward opened his eyes, returned to his senses, and the vision vanished. He immediately related all he had seen and heard to his virgin spouse, Edgitha, to Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, and to Harold, his successor to the throne, who were in his chamber praying around his bed." (See the full article on the Catholic Encylopeadia article here)

The prophecy of St. Edward the Confessor can be found in the Vita Ædwardi Regis, an early biography of the king which was commissioned by his wife Queen Edith and written within a year of his death (c.1067). This text survives in an extant manuscript dating to around 1100, which is housed in the British museum. Although the version above quoted by Phillipps differs slightly from the original, cited below, we can find all the major elements in it.

The green tree which springs from the trunk
When thence it shall be severed
And removed to a distance of three acres
By no engine or hand of man
Shall return to its original trunk
And shall join itself to its root
Whence first it had origin
The head shall receive again its verdure
It shall bear fruit after its flower
Then shall you be able for certainty
To hope for amendment

The green tree or shoot represents England, the trunk is the Catholic Church. The offshoot of the trunk is removed to a distance of three acres, which represent three centuries. After which the shoot returns to the trunk and reflowers, which refers to the return of the episcopacy in 1850, three hundred years after the Anglican Church broke away from Rome during the English Reformation under King Henry VIII. The tree bearing fruit after its flowering is still yet to come, when the full conversion of England will inaugurate the Second Pentecost, as foretold by numerous other prophecies such as those of La Salette. St. Edward states that England will be able to hope for amendment for past wrongs by this unique grace.

See also the related articles:

No comments: