Cistercian monk at the abbey of Tautra. Canon of the Cathedral of Nidaros (modern Trondheim, Norway) by 1277 when he was a witness of the Agreement of Tönsberg. Bishop. Exiled by King Eric for supporting the Archbishop of Nidaros in a dispute over state interference in Church matters. Took refuge at the abbey of TerDoest in Flanders, Belgium. Pilgrim to Rome, Italy. Upon his return, Bishop Thorfinn fell ill, made a will to divide his meagre possessions, and died soon after. Father Walter de Muda, a monk who knew him, wrote a poem about Thorfinn, describing him as kind, patient, and generous, with a mild exterior and firm will against the evil and ungodly. Father Walter wrote the poem on parchment and hung it over Thorfinn’s tomb.
The bishop had not attracted much attention in life, and was on his way to being forgotten. However, 50 years later, during a church renovation his tomb was opened. His remains gave off a strong and pleasant perfume. The parchment poem was still hanging near the body, still fresh and supple. The perfume of the relics, the state of the parchment, the reports of miracles around the tomb, and the reports of Thorfinn’s holiness lead to approval of his cultus. Devotion soon spread through the Cistercians, and throughout Norway.
- at Trondhjem, Norway
- 8 January 1285 at the Cistercian monastery at TerDoest, near Bruges, Belgium of natural causes
- miracles soon reported at his tomb
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Catholic Online
- Kirken i Norge
- La fête des prénoms
- Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints
- “Saint Thorfinn“. CatholicSaints.Info. 7 January 2014. Web. 27 April 2015. <>