Oswald was one of the most powerful rulers in Britain. And yet he is one of the most humble and generous kings ever.
Oswald's reputation as a Saint originates in his re-introduction of Christianity to Northumbria. The chief among the monks who accompanied him from Dalriada initially attempted to convert the Northumbrians, but met with little success. So Oswald sent to the monks of Iona for an evangelical Bishop. St. Aidan, Bishop of Scattery Island in Ireland, arrived the following year and set up a strong missionary movement centered on Lindisfarne, near the Royal Court at Bamburgh.King Oswald himself often acted as an ecclesiastical interpreter, for the new Northumbrian Bishop who spoke only Gaelic. It was at the Royal Court at Bamburgh that the famous legend took place which resulted in St. Aidan blessing the King's arm and making it incorruptible, even in death.
On one Easter-Tide, the tables were laid for the feast, but no sooner had the blessing been pronounced than news came of the arrival of a group of starving beggars. King Oswald lifted from his table the large silver dish heaped high with venison and wild boar's flesh, and gave it to the famished people and even had the dish broken up and distributed to them.
Bishop Aidan was greatly impressed by this unselfish act and seized Oswald's right hand, stating: "May this hand never perish." Oswald later met his death in a battle at Maserfield, but the arm, placed in a magnificent shrine, remained uncorrupted.