Post-classical history

Anders Sunesen (d. 1228)

Archbishop of Lund (1201-1223) and proponent of the crusade in the Baltic region.

Born around 1160 into the Danish nobility, Anders Sune- sen studied in Paris, Bologna, and England, becoming a teacher of theology in Paris around 1193-1194. Shortly after this he became royal chancellor of Denmark, an office he held until 1201. In that year he was elected archbishop of Lund.

As archbishop, Anders Sunesen crowned King Valdemar II (1202), with whom he subsequently cooperated in attempting to subjugate and Christianize the eastern Baltic region. In 1204 he was named papal legate and primate of the Swedish church, and in 1206 he led a crusade against the island of Osel (mod. Saaremaa, Estonia). According to the chronicler Henry of Livonia, both the Danish king and archbishop took part in the expedition; however, royal participation remains doubtful. After leaving Osel, Anders Sunesen visited Riga and spent the winter giving theological lectures, which inspired the provost of Riga to send out priests to preach, baptize, erect churches, and lay out parishes. This activity was in accordance with a papal bull from 1206 permitting Anders Sunesen to ordain bishops in areas recently won for Christianity. In 1212 Anders was appointed papal legate with specific reference to mission and conversion, and the next year Pope Innocent III allowed him to install a bishop in a newly organized bishopric covering Sakkala and Ugaunia in Estonia, thus placing the archbishop in a key position between Bishop Albert of Riga, the Sword Brethren, and Danish royal interests. Shortly after the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), in which both Anders Sunesen and Albert of Riga participated, Innocent III issued the bull Alto divine disposiciones, ordering the Danish people to take part in a crusade against the pagans threatening Livonia. In 1219 a crusade led by the archbishop and King Valde- mar II conquered the northern parts of Estonia and established Reval (mod. Tallinn, Estonia) as a Danish stronghold. Anders Sunesen may have spent considerable time there before his resignation in 1223 due to illness.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!