Long ago from our perspective, in England (before there was a united country called England) a Prince named Alfred was born to King Aethelwulf. As the youngest of five sons, he set his sights on a life in the Church not his father's Throne over the West Saxons.
That was not to be, however, and following the deaths of his father and all of his older brothers, he was made King in 871. As King he turned out to be quite skillful in his Military planning and execution and eventually won a victory against the invading Danes. In 878 he concluded an agreement with Guthrum, the Danish leader. They would be able to keep a large section of northeastern England as their own (that region was known as the Danelaw).
The key element for me here is that the Danes were required to be baptized and accept Christian instruction and thereby enter the Faith of Christ. I know a lot of modern Christians would consider this sort of "business transaction" conversion useless, but consider how that opened the way for far more personal faith in later generations. After all, how many of us would have placed our faith in Christ had we been born in Iran or Saudi Arabia?
After securing peace for his people Alfred worked hard at educating them and helping them grow as a culture. He worked especially hard to educate the Clergy, and here is a quote demonstrating his convictions:
"He seems to me a very foolish man, and very wretched, who will not increase his understanding while he is in the world, and ever wish and long to reach that endless life where all shall be made clear."
He died on 26 October 899, and was buried at Winchester. Alone among all English Kings or Queens he is known as "the Great."
O Sovereign Lord, Who brought Your servant Alfred to a troubled throne that he might establish peace in a ravaged land and revive learning and the arts among the people: Awake in us also a keen desire to increase our understanding while we are in this world, and an eager longing to reach that endless life where all will be made clear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.