What was the denomination of Bishop Heahmund from? If he is a Catholic bishop how did priestly celibacy work in that era? (The Vikings TV series shows him with multiple relationships)

  • 3
    There weren't really denominations back then. Neither the (final) split between Rome and Constantinople nor the reformation had happened yet. Sep 13, 2023 at 18:59
  • Then was he in communion with bishop of Rome?
    – Wenura
    Sep 13, 2023 at 19:03
  • 1
    I would guess that he was in communion with the pope, but I certainly don't know that. Sep 13, 2023 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


Bishop Heahmund's denomination?

Bishop Heahmund was a Catholic Bishop of Sherborne (present-day Salisbury).

Heahmund was a medieval Bishop of Sherborne. He was a warrior-bishop and he was killed fighting against the Danes for the Anglo-Saxon King Æthelred I of Wessex and his brother Alfred.

Heahmund was consecrated in 867 or 868. He died at the Battle of Meretun in 871. As his death is assigned to 22 March in the English calendar of saints the battle and his death can be dated 22 March 871. He was buried at Keynsham in Somerset.

Heahmund is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church.

He is considered a saint by Catholics and Orthodox because he died at a times these two Churches were not divided.

The Vikings series takes a lot of literary license with the character of this individual.

Bishop Heahmund was an Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Sherborne (present-day Salisbury) and a holy warrior.

The real Bishop Heahmund resided in the kingdom of Wessex and was loyal to King Aethelred (Darren Cahill) and Alfred of Wessex (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) as seen at the start of Vikings season five. In the series, he was portrayed as Lagertha’s lover but this never happened in real life.

History's character page for Heahmund, explains: “Heahmund’s tangles with Lagertha are unsupported by history, and it is far more likely that the two figures never met, let alone had extensive interactions.

“The addition of their meeting is definitely something that Michael Hirst thought was a necessary addition to the show, and seeing the two characters together on screen is sure to continue to be interesting in the episodes yet to come.“

Heahmund was first introduced in season four of Vikings but sadly was killed in season five.

In Vikings, Heahmund was killed by Gunnhild (Ragga Ragnars) during the Battle of Marton.

The real Heahmund died at the Battle of Marton in 871, battling against King Halfdan Ragnarsson but he was not killed by Gunnhild.

The Battle of Marton took place on March 22, 871, against the invading Vikings.

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Danes were victorious.

In Vikings, Heahmund was struck by several arrows from the enemy and Gunnhild sealed his fate by stabbing him in the back.

Following the real Bishop Headhmund's death, he was venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church.

Speaking to Variety about Heahmund’s death, show creator Michael Hirst said: “Heahmund is only a footnote in history – there was no precedent to have his character continue. - Vikings: Who was Bishop Heahmund? Was he real?

Although considered a warrior bishop, this should not imply that he fought in battle with arms, but rather accompanied the troops into battle for moral and spiritual support. Did not Moses do the same against the Amalekites.

The Catholic Church first prohibit bishops from remarrying in 314 and in 1075, Pope Gregory VII made clerical celibacy a mandatory discipline within the Latin Church. When did the Catholic Church first prohibit bishops from remarrying?

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