Sunday, August 30, 2009

September 28th: St. Wenceslaus

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

St. Wenceslaus
(Also Vaclav, Vaceslav.)

Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at Alt-Bunzlau, 28 September, 935.

His parents were Duke Wratislaw, a Christian, and Dragomir, a heathen. He received a good Christian education from his grandmother (St. Ludmilla) and at Budweis. After the death of Wratislaw, Dragomir, acting as regent, opposed Christianity, and Wenceslaus, being urged by the people, took the reins of government. He placed his duchy under the protection of Germany, introduced German priests, and favoured the Latin rite instead of the old Slavic, which had gone into disuse in many places for want of priests. Wenceslaus had taken the vow of virginity and was known for his virtues. The Emperor Otto I conferred on him the regal dignity and title. For religious and national motives, and at the instigation of Dragomir, Wenceslaus was murdered by his brother Boleslaw. The body, hacked to pieces, was buried at the place of murder, but three years later Boleslaw, having repented of his deed, ordered its translation to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. The gathering of his relics is noted in the calendars on 27 June, their translation on 4 March; his feast is celebrated on 28 September.

Basic Stats

Born: c. 907, Prague, Bohemia

Died: September 28, 935, StarĂ¡ Boleslav, Bohemia

Major shrine: St Vitus Cathedral, Prague

Feast: September 28

Symbolism: Crown, dagger, eagle on a banner

Patronage: Bohemia, Czech Republic, Prague

Though the story of the life of King Wenceslaus is not particularly connected with the Christmas Season, we tend to make the connection because of this carol.  No harm there. Perhaps today's feast is a good reminder that we have less than three months until the great feast of the Nativity.