Wednesday, April 10, 2013

St. Edward's Sapphire

A mystical history. To quote:

This sapphire is mounted in the middle of the Maltese cross surmounting the Imperial State Crown and is the oldest gem in the Crown Jewels. It is in fact older than the Tower of London itself where it is kept, and older than the present line of succession that started with William the Conqueror (r.1066-1087). Tradition holds that the sapphire belonged originally to King Edward the Confessor (c.1003/5 – 1066), the last English monarch of the House of Wessex and the second-to-last of the Anglo-Saxon kings. He is said to have worn it as a ring, perhaps even at his coronation, and a legend grew around this ring in the Middle Ages.

It is said that once when Edward was on his way to dedicate a chapel to St John the Evangelist he came across an old man begging on the side of the road. The king was moved by the sight, and because he did not have any coins on him he slid the sapphire ring from his finger and gave it to the old man, who afterwards disappeared from the scene. The legend then says that years later some English pilgrims were travelling through the Holy Land when they got lost in a desert. Suddenly, through a dust storm, an old man appeared who led them to safety to the nearest town. Once the pilgrims were safe in an inn, the old man produced a sapphire ring and gave it to them, asking them to the give it back to the kind king who had given it as alms to him once. Then, to the pilgrim’s surprise, he revealed himself as St John the Evangelist, and bid them to also bring a message to Edward: in six months the two of them would meet in heaven. The pilgrims brought the ring and the message back to King Edward in England, and six months later Edward died. (It is worth noting that in Medieval Christian mythology St John the Evangelist was thought to have been granted by God to stay alive until the Last Judgement, and so he was said to roam the world as an old man.) (Read entire post.)

Via Nobility. Share

No comments: