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Adalbert of Prague

Vojtech (czech: Vojtěch, polish: Wojciech, germanic equivalent Adalbert - the joy of warrior) 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 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. Adalbert and his followers entered Prussian territory near Danzig and went along the Baltic Sea coast. When they did not heed warnings to stay away from the sacred oak groves, Adalbert was martyred April A.D. 997 near later Fischhausen by the Nogat[?] river. It is said that his body was bought back for his weight in gold.

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 inhabited the trees were feared for the powers they possessed, this was done to demonstrate to the non-Christians that no supernatural powers protected the trees from the Christians.

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

St. Adalbert became the patron saint of Prussia, Hungary, Bohemia and Poland.

also see: Germany, Prussia, Czechia



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