Blessed Erik IV of Denmark

Blessed Erik IV of Denmark, date and artist unknown; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Erik Ploughpenny
  • Erik Plowpenny
  • Erik Plovpenning
  • Erik Plow Money
  • Erik Plogpenning
  • Eric…
  • Erick…



Born a prince, the son of King Valdemar II of Denmark and Berengaria of Portugal; great-grandson of Saint Canute Lavard; brother of King Abel of Denmark and King Christopher I of Denmark. Co-ruler of Denmark on 30 May 1232, becoming fully king of Denmark when his father died in 1241. Married to Jutta of Saxony on 17 November 1239, and the father of six, two of whom died in infancy.

Erik’s reign was marked by civil war with his brother Abel, and a number of conflicts with Church authorities, but always over political matters, never doctrinal. He poured money into church construction. His implementation of a penny tax on plows in 1249 to pay for a crusade in Estonia led to the moniker “plow penny” and its variants. Betrayed by his brother at a meeting to discuss peace, Erik was handed over to enemies to be murdered.

His betrayal by his brother, and the manner of his death, including his final confession, led to Erik being considered a martyr by some. This and the many reported miracle healings received at his tombs led to a popular devotion, and the founding of some confraternities in his name, but no formal beatification from Rome has yet been made.



Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Erik IV of Denmark“. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 January 2020. Web. 9 December 2021. <>