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Adalbert of Prague

From Academic Kids

Adalbert (Czech: Template:Audio, Polish: Wojciech, Germanic equivalent Adalbert - the joy of warrior) was a 10th century bishop of Prague who was martyred in his efforts to convert the Baltic Prussians. He was later made the patron saint of Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Prussia.

He was born of a noble family in Libice, Bohemia about the year 956. He studied for ten years in Magdeburg under Saint Adalbert. When Adalbert died, Vojtech took on the name Adalbert Vojtech. The popes sent him several times to Bohemia. Adalbert baptized Geza of Hungary and his son Stephen, and he also worked to convert the Poles.

Adalbert became the Bishop of Prague. However, he strongly resented the participation of formally Christian inhabitants in the slave trade. Slavic slaves were later traded by Jewish traders to the Muslim empire. He escaped from Prague, despite the Pope's call for him to return to his episcopal see.

Adalbert Vojtech of Prague had already in 977 entertained the idea of becoming a missionary in Prussia. After he had converted Hungary, he was sent by the Pope to convert the heathen Prussians. Boleslaw I Chrobry, duke of Poland, sent soldiers with Adalbert. The bishop and his followers entered Prussian territory near Gdansk and went along the Baltic Sea coast.

It was a standard procedure of Christian missionaries to try to chop down sacred oak trees (see Iconoclasm), which they had done in many other places, including Saxony. Because the trees were worshipped and the spirits who were believed to inhabit the trees were feared for their powers, this was done to demonstrate to the non-Christians that no supernatural powers protected the trees from the Christians.

When they did not heed warnings to stay away from the sacred oak groves, Adalbert was martyred in April 997 on the Baltic Sea coast between the Nogat river and Fischhausen in Samland/Sambia. It is recorded that his body was bought back for its weight in gold by Boleslaus I of Poland.

A few years later Adalbert was canonized as Saint Adalbert of Prague. His life has been written about in Vita St Adalberti by various writers, the earliest was traced to imperial Aachen and Lüttich, although it was assumed for many years that the Roman monk John Canaparius had written the first Vita.

Saint Adalbert's bones were stored in Gniezno and helped Boleslaus I of Poland to improve Poland's position in Europe (see Meeting in Gniezno).

In 1037 Bohemian duke Bretislav I retrieved the bones of Saint Adalbert from Gniezno and moved them to Prague, but in other version he took only part of bone, while rest bones of St. Adalbert were hiden by Poles. Today Saint Adalbert has two graves, and which bones are authentic is still not sure. For example - saint has two skulls - one in Prague, other in Gniezno (stolen in 1923).

External link

eo:Vojtěch gl:Adalberto de Praga hu:Szent Adalbert nl:Adalbert van Praag pl:Święty Wojciech

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