The officially accepted legend of Bishop Henry's life, or his Vita, was written at the end of the 13th century. It contains little concrete information about Henry. He is said to have been an English-born Bishop of Uppsala at the time of King Eric the Saint of Sweden in the mid-12th century, ruling the peaceful kingdom with the king in heavenly co-existence. To tackle the perceived threat from the non-Christian Finns, Eric and Henry were forced to undertake battle against them. After they had conquered Finland, baptized the people and built many churches, the victorious king returned to Sweden while Henry (Henricus) remained with the Finns, more willing to live the life of a preacher than that of a high bishop.
The legend draws to a conclusion as Henry attempted to give a canonical punishment to a murderer. The accused man became enraged and killed the bishop, who was thus considered to be a martyr.
In the legend, Henry is strictly said to have been a Bishop of Uppsala, not a Bishop of Finland (renamed as the Bishop of Turku by 1259) which became a conventional claim later on, also by the church itself. Henry stayed in Finland out of pity, but was never appointed as a bishop there. The legend does not state whether there had been bishops in Finland before his time or what happened after his death; it does not even mention his burial in Finland. The vita is so void of any concrete information about Finland that it could have been created anywhere. Bishop Henry surrounded by his successors as depicted in Missale Aboense. Bishop Henry surrounded by his successors as depicted in Missale Aboense.
Henry's Vita is followed by the more local miracula, a list of eleven miracles that various people were said to have experienced sometime after the bishop's death. With the exception of a priest in Skara who had gotten a stomach ache after mocking Henry, all miracles seem to have taken place in Finland. The other miracles, which usually occurred following prayer to Bishop Henry, were:
1. The murderer lost his scalp when he put the bishop's hat on his head
2. Bishop's finger was found the next Spring
3. A dead boy was raised from the dead in Kaisala
4. A dead girl was raised from the dead in Vehmaa
5. A sick woman got well in Sastamala
6. A Franciscan called Erlend had his headache healed
7. A blind woman got back her eye-sight in Kyrö
8. A man with a paralyzed leg could walk again in Kyrö
9. A sick girl was healed
10. A group of fishermen from Kokemäki survived a storm
Most versions of Henry's legend only include a selection of these miracles.
 Development of the legend
Henry and his crusade to Finland were also a part of the legend of King Eric. However, the oldest surviving version of Eric's legend is from about 1270, yet there is no information on either Henry or the crusade. Henry and the crusade are both fully present only in a version of Eric's legend that dates to 1344. The appendix of the early 13th century Västgötalagen, which has a short description of Eric's memorable deeds, also makes no reference to Henry or the crusade. Similarities in the factual content and phraseology regarding the common events indicate that either one of the legends has acted as the model for the other. Henry's legend is commonly considered to have been written during the 1280s or 1290s at the latest, for the consecration of the Cathedral of Turku in 1300, when his alleged remains were translated there from Nousiainen, a parish not far from Turku. Henry pictured in the seal of Bishop Benedictus of Turku in 1332. Henry pictured in the seal of Bishop Benedictus of Turku in 1332.
Noteworthy in the development of the legend is that the first canonically selected Bishop of Turku, a certain Johan (1286–1289) of Polish origin, was elected as the Archbishop of Uppsala in 1289, after three years in office in Turku. The Swedish "chancellor" bishops before him, Bero, Ragvald and Kettil, had apparently been selected by the King of Sweden. Related to the new situation was also the appointment of the king's brother as the Duke of Finland in 1284, which challenged the bishop's earlier position as the sole authority on all local matters. Johan was followed in Turku by Bishop Magnus (1291–1308), who had been born in Finland. Cathedral of Turku was the center of Henry's cult. Cathedral of Turku was the center of Henry's cult.
The first mention of Bishop Henry in historical sources is in 1296 (or 1297), when he is addressed by Pope Boniface VIII as the patronus of the Cathedral of Turku along with the Virgin Mary. Boniface also called him a "saint". Five years earlier, a longish document by the cathedral chapter makes no reference to Henry even though it mentions the cathedral and election of the new bishop many times. A papal letter by Pope Nicholas IV from 1292 has the Virgin Mary as the sole patronus in Turku. The legend itself is first referred to in a letter by Archbishop of Uppsala in 1298. Eric and Henry are mentioned together as martyrs who needed to be prayed to for the sake of the situation in Karelia, thus associating their alleged crusade to Finland with the new expeditions against Novgorod. The war between Novgorod and Sweden for the control of Karelia had started in 1293. The first certain appearance of Henry's image in the seal of the Bishop of Turku is from 1299.
Thus, Henry's veneration as a saint and his relation to King Eric seem to have emerged in the historical record at the same time in the mid-1290s with strong support from the church. This correlates with the start of the war against Novgorod. Sources do not support the popular assumption, that Henry's cult had developed in Nousiainen and gradually spread among ordinary people before official adoption. Although Nousiainen had Henry as its patronus, that is first mentioned only in 1452. Still in 1232, the church in Nousiainen was consecrated to the Virgin Mary only.
Some sources claim that Henry was canonized in 1158, but this information has been traced to a late publication by Johannes Vastovius in 1708 and is generally regarded as a fabrication.
 Veneration Henry was also venerated in the Cathedral of Lund. Henry was also venerated in the Cathedral of Lund.
Despite the high profile start of Henry's cultus, it took more than 100 years for the veneration of Saint Henry to gain widespread acceptance throughout Sweden. As of 1344 there were no relics of the bishop in the Cathedral of Uppsala. According to one biographer, Henry's veneration was rare outside the Diocese of Turku throughout the 14th century. Vadstena Abbey near Linköping seems to have played a key role in establishment of Henry's legend elsewhere in Sweden in the early 15th century. Henry never received the highest totum duplex veneration in Uppsala nor was he made a patronus of the church there, which status he had both in Turku and Nousiainen.
At the end of the Roman Catholic era in Sweden, Henry was well established as a local saint. The dioceses in Sweden and elsewhere venerating Henry were as follows, categorized by his local ranking:
1. Totum duplex: Turku, Linköping, Strängnäs
2. Duplex: Uppsala, Lund (Denmark), Västerås, Växjö
3. Semiduplex: Nidaros (Norway)
4. Simplex: Skara
Henry seems to have been known in northern Germany, but he was largely ignored elsewhere in the Roman Catholic world. Original Gaudeamus omnes. Original Gaudeamus omnes.
In the Bishopric of Turku, the annual feast day of Henry was January 20 (talviheikki, "Winter Henry"), according to traditions the day of his death. Elsewhere his memorial was held already on January 19, since more prominent saints were already commemorated on January 20. After the Reformation, Henry's day was moved to the 19th in Finland as well. The existence of the feast day is first mentioned in 1335, and is known to have been marked in the liturgical calendar from the early 15th century onwards. Another memorial was held on June 18 (kesäheikki, "Summer Henry") which was the day of the translation of his relics to the Cathedral of Turku.
Gaudeamus omnes ("Let all rejoice"), a Gregorian introit for the Mas