Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Good King Wenceslas...a real Saint
Wenceslaus I, c. 907 – September 28, 935, or Wenceslas I, was the duke (kníže) of Bohemia from 921 until his assassination in 935, purportedly in a plot by his own brother, Boleslav the Cruel.
His martyrdom, and the popularity of several biographies, quickly gave rise to a cult-like following and reputation of superhuman goodness, resulting in his being elevated to Sainthood, posthumously declared king, and seen as the patron saint of the Czech state. He is even the subject of a Saint Stephen's Day (celebrated on December 26 in the West) Carol, written in 1853 that remains popular to this day, Good King Wenceslas.
His mother was also "sainted" and has a holiday too.
Saint Ludmila (c. 860 - September 15, 921) is a saint and martyr venerated by the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics. She was born in Mělník as daughter of a Slavic prince Slavibor. Saint Ludmila was the grandmother of Saint Wenceslaus, who is widely referred to as Good King Wenceslaus.
Ludmila was married to Bořivoj I of Bohemia, who was the first Christian Duke of Bohemia. The couple was converted to Christianity around 871. Their efforts to convert Bohemia to Christianity were initially not well received, and they were driven from their country for a time by the pagans. Eventually the couple returned, and ruled for several years before retiring to Tetín, near Beroun.
The couple was succeeded by their son Spytihněv, who ruled for two years before he died. Spytihněv was succeeded by his brother Vratislav. When Vratislav died in 921, his eight year old son Wenceslas became the next ruler of Bohemia. It was mainly Ludmila who raised her grandson.
Wenceslaus' mother Drahomíra became jealous of Ludmila's influence over Wenceslaus. She had two noblemen murder Ludmila at Tetín, and part of Ludmila's story says that she was strangled with her veil. Initially Saint Ludmila was buried at St. Michael's at Tetín. Sometime before the year 1100 her remains were removed to the church of St. George at Prague, Czech Republic.
Saint Ludmila is venerated as a patroness of Bohemia. Her feast day is celebrated on September 16. She is considered to be a patron saint of Bohemia, converts, Czech Republic, duchesses, problems with in-laws, and widows. She was canonized shortly after her death.
at 4:44 PM