Sebald, St. (Seward, Siward, Sigward) (eighth century) In Christian legend, patron of Nuremberg, Germany. Invoked against cold weather. Feast, 19 August.
Sebald was the son of a Danish king. He left England with St. Boniface to convert the Germans. He traveled through the north of Germany, preaching as a missionary, and settled at last in Nuremberg. Living in a cell not far from the city, he would go there daily to teach the poor, and he was in the habit of stopping on his way at a hut owned by a cartwright. One day when it was very cold he found the family nearly frozen to death in the hut because they had no fuel. Sebald told them to bring him the icicles that hung from the roof, and he used them as fuel for the fire as if they were pieces of wood. Another day Sebald wanted a fish to eat (it was a meatless day), and he sent the same cartwright to buy one in the city. The lord of Nuremberg had an edict that no one was to buy fish until his castle storehouse was supplied. As punishment for having broken the edict, the cartwright was blinded by the soldiers of the lord. St. Sebald restored his sight. His church, the Sebaldskirche in Nuremberg, was begun in 1508 and finished in 1523; it contains a statue of the saint by Peter Vischer that shows St. Sebald as an elderly pilgrim warming his feet at a fire made of icicles. Usually, as in the woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer, he is shown holding the Sebaldskirche, his church, with two towers.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante