Felix vs. Oscar

Well, today's matchup is an odd pairing. You might even say that Felix of Burgundy and Oscar are an...Odd Couple. Anyway, we're confident you'll choose the right criteria for your vote and ignore the fact that one of these two may be a neat freak and the other a slob. Frankly, we have no idea.

Yesterday, Origen defeated Hilda of Whitby 55% to 45% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen. Go vote!

Felix of Burgundy

Felix of Burgundy is known as the Enlightener of East Anglia and credited with bringing Christianity to the east of England, founding the University of Cambridge, and consecrating a small, furry animal as bishop—but we’ll save the legends for a later round of Lent Madness.

Felix was born and ordained in Burgundy, the French region perhaps better known for its wines, but not much was written about him until his arrival in East Anglia, which today includes the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. Some sources claim he previously had met Sigebert, who would become king of East Anglia, when the latter was in exile. Through their friendship, Sigebert became a Christian, and when he returned to East Anglia in 630 CE to take the throne, he invited his “spiritual father” Felix to join him as its first bishop.

Together, Felix and Sigebert founded a school “wherein boys should be taught letters,” according to The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by the Venerable Bede. Felix supplied the teachers for the school, which later became the University of Cambridge. Not long afterward, Sigebert abdicated the throne to enter a monastery and eventually became a saint himself.

Felix remained bishop of East Anglia for 17 years. In that time, he founded churches, monasteries, and schools throughout the area and brought not only Christianity but also happiness to its people. “He delivered all the province of East Anglia from long-standing unrighteousness and unhappiness,” Bede writes in a play on the saint’s name, which means “happy.”

Felix died in 647 or 648 and was buried at Dommoc, his episcopal see, which has since been swallowed by the sea. His body was moved to Soham and then, after a Viking attack destroyed the monastery, rescued dramatically under the cover of a miraculous—or, perhaps, typically English—fog.

While those places may no longer remain, the impact Felix made while there certainly does. He is buried at a Benedictine abbey in Ramsey and remembered by the Church of England on March 8.

Collect for Felix of Burgundy

O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Felix, to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock: Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Emily McFarlan Miller


Contrary to the similar sounding names, Oscar (commonly known as Ansgar) is not related to either Loki or Thor of Asgard. Rather, Ansgar is a derivation of the Germanic Oscar. Ansgar translates roughly to mean the “spear of God”—a most appropriate name for a man who was called to teach the word of God to Vikings. And, like Loki and Thor, Ansgar/Oscar has a cinematic claim to fame in the modern TV show “Vikings.”

Born in 801 in Amiens, in present-day France, to a noble family, Oscar entered a Benedictine monastery following the death of his mother. It is said that Oscar had a vision of his mother at the side of Mary, the mother of God, and his cavalier attitude to the church was transformed into a more serious appreciation.

Because of his noble background, Oscar was sent to Jutland (around modern-day Denmark) to serve as a missionary to the baptized King Harald Klak. Under Harald, Oscar built a school for Christian teaching for the children of Jutland. When Harald died, the new Viking king was not a Christian, so Oscar moved back to Germany.

However, the north was not done with Oscar. The new king of Sweden, Bjorn at Hauge, wanted a missionary to build a school. Oscar returned to Scandinavia and built a congregation of northerners, living out his call to bring Christianity to the Vikings and earning the moniker Apostle to the North. In 831, Oscar returned to Worms to receive his next call from the pope: Archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen. His charge included a mission to evangelize the people of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

Considered the founder of the Denmark and Swedish arm of the church, Oscar provides a witness to us on how we can bring to Christ others who are different from us and come from varying traditions and cultures. Oscar was known for making relationships across cultures and cultivating understanding rather than discord during these turbulent times. His feast day is February 3, which is the date of his passing in 865.

Collect for Oscar

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Oscar, whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Anna Fitch Courie


Felix of Burgundy: Amitchell125 at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Oscar: Siegfried Detlev Bendixen, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


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114 comments on “Felix vs. Oscar”

  1. Felix, because I want to learn about "the small furry animal" that was consecrated bishop,

    1. And I voted for Oscar because of the soft furry animal sitting beside me who shares this name; just as I share your name. My maiden name is Judy Artley so imagine my surprise when I saw it on your post!

      1. That Wiki piece should have included an image of the statue of the small furry animal in question. It might have drawn my vote. But I am going for Oscar instead.

  2. I remember that the plot of one of the Brother Cadfael mysteries (The Holy Thief) involved the Benedictine Monastery at Ramsey feeling bereft of a power saint's relics. Turns out they had St. Felix all along!

  3. Thank you Emily! I would not have known who to vote for in this challenge. But now I need to know about the small fury animal that Felix consecrated as a bishop. Hope he wins today!

  4. I am forwarding the post to my Sunday school class. They got started to late to do initial signup. I warn them not to vote least I get kicked off, buti also told them that I think they can still sign up and join the fun alittle later in the series. How can they do that?

    1. There's no signing up, you just go to the webpage every day and vote, once per IP address.
      They can sign up to get the emails notifying them of a new matchup being posted, but there's nothing saying they can't also vote using the same link you sent out, as it's not a unique link for a username or something, just a link to the website. The more the merrier, they can vote anytime! but only once per day!

    2. No need to sign up. I vote from the Facebook post, (and have been doing so for years, but you can also just go directly to the site) and I’m not a member of anything. I just printed a bracket and started reading!


  5. My French-Canadian family originated in Burgundy so my vote for Felix is partly an “atta boy!” for a homey but also an acknowledgment of Felix as a dedicated pastor and bishop. I admire his steadfast work among his flock and his founding of the University of Cambridge.

  6. I voted for Felix because anyone who can bring Christian felicity to the Fens deserves to be sainted.

    1. In today's world, we really need cross-cultural understanding. My vote goes to Oscar.

  7. In both Felix and Oscar we should give thanks for Benedictine monasticism and the missionary zeal that brought the love of Christ to distant lands and people. Something good must have been taking place in France in the 7th and 9th centuries to inspire these two odd couple missionaries.

  8. Both saints valued education, and honor is due to both for this. Today's vote posed a difficult choice. I voted for Felix because he founded the University of Cambridge, and because I'm curious about the small furry animal ordained pope. I'll probably have to Google this.

  9. It was a tough decision but I voted for Felix. I was intrigued by what furry creature he consecrated a Bishop

  10. Local loyalty means I must cast my vote for Felix. He is portrayed in the (hideous) reredos in our church, happily veiled for Lent. I have a sneaking suspicion that the image used of Felix is a painting of our reredos. Felix, standing to the left of Christ, looks less than happy at his portrayal. It made my day when a child on a school visit looked at the reredos which features a beardless, blond haired, blue eyed, toga clad Christ and declared, 'But Jesus didn't look like that.' Poor Felix and his companions need liberating from the suspect tastes of 1930.

  11. I was hoping the Oscar in this matchup would be Oscar Romero. Still voting for Oscar/Ansgar to honor my Scandinavian heritage.

  12. Somebody's having fun- Melania versus Hilary, and now Felix versus Oscar. What next - Catherine and Meghan?

    I voted for Oscar because some of the claims made for Feljx were a bit over the top, and I don't mean consecrating a furry animal as a bishop. 1) Christianity was brought to East Anglia by Raedwald, King of East Anglia, somewhere around 624. (He was the king buried at Sutton Hoo, q.v. the narvellous film 'The Dig'.) 2) The University of Cambridge was founded in 1209, when a group of students fled Oxford after a major dust-up with townspeople. It received its charter in 1231. It is the second-oldest university in the U.K., fourth oldest in the world.

    1. The students at Oxford rioted, protesting a formal visit by a Cardinal. They were throwing rocks one of which killed the Cardinal's cook (who also happened to be his brother.)

  13. Three cheers for both saints -
    Felix gets my vote because of his work in my birth-home area (East Midlands of UK, next door to East Anglia) -
    Oscar has my best wishes for his cross-cultural work.
    No regrets if Oscar wins today’s vote!

  14. Felix for Cambridge, happiness and he loved dogs. His crosier has a shamrock and I love the "outfit". A cat would not have put up with consecration.

  15. I'm torn between the founder of a university and the apostle to the northmen, but I'll go with the one that has a Scandinavian connection.

    1. I went for Oscar too - partly because it was very dangerous evangelizing the norse when he went...

  16. My mother passed 14 years ago today and I would love to have a vision of her. Also, our younger son did a semester abroad at Oxford so I can't support Cambridge. 🙂

  17. I voted for Felix mainly because I want to read about how (and especially why) he made a cat a bishop.n

    1. I won't spoil it and tell you what animal, but it wasn't a cat. I do have a friend with two cats, who are named Felix & Oscar, though and from my own experience with cats, I'm sure they all think that they outrank bishops, so being made one would be a demotion.

      As the saying goes, dogs have masters, cats have staff.

    2. Google it. Felix did not consecrate a cat as bishop. He consecrated a beaver as a bishop for saving his life. Surely that is worthy of sainthood!

  18. I’m from Sweden so the choice was easy, although no-one in Sweden calls him anything other than Ansgar…

  19. Voting for Oscar today. Scandinavian family members…and Swedish wish cookies, St. Lucia crowns, etc.