Last Sunday was the feast of St Michael the Archangel, traditionally called Michaelmas. In the secular, anti-religious society in which we live today, it is easy to forget the Catholic times in which our forefathers dwelt.
King Æthelred II of England reigned from 18th March 978 until 23rd April 1016.
A Gold coin struck during Æthelred's reign shows the King wearing his armour.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in the year A.D. 1014, King Æthelred enacted the following law:
"That every Christian who is of age, fast three days on bread and water, and raw herbs before the feast of St Michael, and let every man go to Confession and to church barefoot. Let every priest with his people go in procession three days barefoot, and let everyone’s commons for three days be prepared without anything of flesh, as if they themselves were to eat it, both in meat and in drink, and let all this be distributed to the poor. Let every servant be excused labour these three days that he may better perform his fast or let him work what he will for himself. These be the three days, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next before the feast of St Michael. If any servant break his fast let him make satisfaction with his hide (bodily stripes), let the poor free man pay thirty pence, the king’s thane 130 shillings; and let the money be divided to the poor."
King Æthelred II upon his throne.
If only the rulers of our times were so concerned for the things of God!