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Saint Wenceslaus
St Francisvernon.org ^ | 00/00/00 | Franciscan Staff

Posted on 09/28/2004 4:41:57 PM PDT by Lady In Blue

Saint Wenceslaus - King And Martyr



GOOD KING WENCESLAUS-we all hear this song at Christmas time. It's a disappointment to find that the nineteenth century author, Neale, who wrote the carol, only used the name of Wenceslaus because it suited his music. But the true Wenceslaus was good, and he was a king.

   Wenceslaus was born in 907 near Prague, in Bohemia (now part of Czechoslovakia). His parents were Vratislas and Drahomira, king and queen of Bohemia. His grandmother, Saint Ludmila, asked that she might educate the young prince, and along with his Slavic language he was taught to love God. His father later sent him to the Latin school at Budec. When his father was killed fighting against the Magyars, Wenceslaus was called upon to rule the country. Since he was still young, Queen Drahomira became regent and governed Bohemia. Drahomira had been but a nominal Christian, and now that all restraint was gone, tried to suppress Christianity and did all she could to persuade Wenceslaus to renounce the faith. Much of her action against Christians came about because of the influence of some evil noblemen who still clung to the traditional pagan sacrifices.

   Saint Ludmila became alarmed at the persecution of Christianity and urged Wenceslaus to wrest the government from his mother. Learning this, two nobles went to Ludmila's castle and strangled her. Deprived of her support, Wenceslaus waited until he came of age to rule Bohemia.

   The political policy of the saint was to maintain unity, so he cultivated friendly relations with the German emperor. He desired a peaceful Bohemia. On one occasion, when a neighboring tribe led by a certain duke raided the country, Wenceslaus suggested that he and the duke might settle the issue by single combat, thus sparing the blood of many soldiers. just as his adversary was about to throw a javelin at him, he saw a brilliant cross shining on the forehead of Wenceslaus and threw down his weapon.

   One of his first official acts was to establish liberty of conscience in an attempt to quiet the unrest of pagan nobles. "If God bores you, why forbid others to love Him?" he asked them. He himself desired to love God above all things and with all his heart. He welcomed the Bavarian and Swabian priests who came with books and relics. He built churches, notably that of Saint Guy at Prague. As for himself he wore penitential garments under his royal robes, and spent many nights in prayer, especially to thank God for His blessings. He kept a very strict fast in Lent, and more than once made a pilgrimage, barefoot along the icy roads.

   The policy of unity, together with the promotion of Christianity, gained Wenceslaus many enemies especially among the heathens. He thought of abdicating to enter a monastery, giving the throne to his brother Boleslas, but he wished first to finish building a church at Prague in honor of Saint Vitus. Boleslas joined with the king's enemies and together they formed a plot against him. Wenceslaus was invited to his brother's residence at Boleslava and it was planned to assassinate him at a banquet. But the murderers hesitated, and decided to wait until the next morning. On September 28, 935, as Wenceslaus was going to Mass, Boleslas attacked him with a sword. The brothers struggled, but three other rebels rushed up and killed the king. As the good Wenceslaus died, he murmured, "Brother, may God forgive you."

   Boleslas became terrified when he heard of the many miracles credited to Wenceslaus at his tomb in Boleslava near his own chateau and consented to transfer his body to the Church of Saint Vitus at Prague. The saint was honored as a martyr, and since 985 his feast has been observed in Bohemia. He is venerated as a patron of Czechoslovakia.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Prayer; Theology
KEYWORDS:
Saint Wenceslaus's Feast Day is today.
1 posted on 09/28/2004 4:41:57 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: father_elijah; nickcarraway; Salvation; Siobhan; Maeve; NYer; BlackElk

ping


2 posted on 09/28/2004 4:43:18 PM PDT by Lady In Blue (On Election Day,President Bush: "WIN ONE FOR THE GIPPER!")
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To: Lady In Blue

Thanks LIB! This is terrific!


3 posted on 09/28/2004 4:43:50 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue
Good King Wenceslas! -- legend & lyrics

4 posted on 09/28/2004 4:50:35 PM PDT by OESY
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To: Lady In Blue
According to my 1925 edition of "Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints" (compiled mostly from Butler's work) this truly good King Wenceslaus was so devoted to the Eucharist that he supplied all the bread and wine for the churches within his kingdom, thus the illustration of the King in a vineyard.

This same source claims that his martyrdom occurred while in Eucharistic Adoration in the chapel of his treacherous brother's castle on the eve of Michaelmass.

Because of the clear connection with St. Michale and All Angels Day and this saint's example of Eucharistic devotion I have argued for the day's inclusion on Lutheran calendars of commemorations but so far to no avail.
5 posted on 09/28/2004 5:44:15 PM PDT by lightman
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To: lightman; Lady In Blue

Wenceslaus was born around the year 907 to the family of the Duke
of Bohemia. His grandmother raised him in a town near Prague, in
what is the modern Czech republic. When he was old enough, he
assumed the leadership of the government. Some of the dominating
policies of his reign were unification of Bohemia, support of the
Church, and encouragement of peace making negotiations with
Germany. Several of these policies met with opposition, and one
day, around the year 929, he was lead into a trap by his own brother
and martyred. St. Wenceslaus is the patron of Bohemian people, and
of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.


6 posted on 09/28/2004 10:14:40 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue

Some of my family were Bohemian - from Prague itself. So, as a little child I was told much about Wenceslaus and his holiness.

St. Wenceslaus, pray for us!


7 posted on 09/29/2004 7:25:36 PM PDT by thor76 (Vade retro, Draco! Crux sacra sit mihi lux!)
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To: Lady In Blue

BTTT on the Optional Memorial of St.Wenceslaus, September 28, 2005!


8 posted on 09/28/2005 8:52:23 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue
From Catholic Online Saints

Catholic Online Saints
St. Wenceslaus
d. 929 Feastday: September 28 Patron   of Bohemia

Patron saint of Bohemia, parts of Czech Republic, and duke of Bohemia frorn 924-929. Also called Wenceslas, he was born near Prague and raised by his grandmother, St. Ludmilla, until her murder by his mother, the pagan Drahomira. Wenceslaus's mother assumed the regency over Bohemia about 920 after her husband's death, but her rule was so arbitrary and cruel in Wenceslaus' name that he was compelled on behalf of his subjects to overthrow her and assume power for himself in 924 or 925. A devout Christian, he proved a gifted ruler and a genuine friend of the Church. German missionaries were encouraged, churches were built, and Wenceslaus perhaps took a personal vow of poverty.

Unfortunately, domestic events proved fatal, for in 929 the German king Heinrich I the Fowler         (r. 919-936) invaded Bohemia and forced Wenceslaus to make an act of submission. This defeat, combined with his pro-Christian policies, led a group of non-Christian nobles to conspire against him. On September 28, 919, a group of knights under the leadership of Wenceslaus' brother Boreslav assassinated the saint on the doorstep of a church. Virtually from the moment of his death, Wenceslaus was considered a martyr and venerated as a saint. Miracles were reported at his tomb, and his remains were translated to the church of St. Vitus in Prague which became a major pilgrimage site. The feast has been celebrated at least since 985 in Bohemia, and he is best known from the Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslaus."


9 posted on 09/28/2005 9:04:20 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue
American Catholic’s Saint of the Day

September 28, 2005
St. Wenceslaus
(907?-929)

If saints have been falsely characterized as "otherworldly," the life of Wenceslaus stands as an example to the contrary: He stood for Christian values in the midst of the political intrigues which characterized 10th-century Bohemia.

He was born in 907 near Prague, son of the Duke of Bohemia. His saintly grandmother, Ludmilla, raised him and sought to promote him as ruler of Bohemia in place of his mother, who favored the anti-Christian factions. Ludmilla was eventually murdered, but rival Christian forces were victorious, and Wenceslaus was able to assume leadership of the government.

His rule was marked by efforts toward unification within Bohemia, support of the Church and peace-making negotiations with Germany, a policy which caused him trouble with the anti-Christian opposition. His brother Boleslav joined in the plotting, and in September of 929 invited Wenceslaus to Alt Bunglou for the celebration of the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. On the way to Mass, Boleslav attacked his brother, and in the struggle, Wenceslaus was killed by supporters of Boleslav.

Although his death resulted primarily from political upheaval, Wenceslaus was hailed as a martyr for the faith, and his tomb became a pilgrimage shrine. He is hailed as the patron of the Bohemian people and of former Czechoslovakia.

Comment:

"Good King Wenceslaus" was able to incarnate his Christianity in a world filled with political unrest. While we are often victims of violence of a different sort, we can easily identify with his struggle to bring harmony to society. The call to become involved in social change and in political activity is addressed to Christians; the values of the gospel are sorely needed today.

Quote:

"While recognizing the autonomy of the reality of politics, Christians who are invited to take up political activity should try to make their choices consistent with the gospel and, in the framework of a legitimate plurality, to give both personal and collective witness to the seriousness of their faith by effective and disinterested service of men" (Pope Paul VI, A Call to Action, 46).



10 posted on 09/28/2005 9:14:51 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue

Bump for Good King Wenceslaus.


11 posted on 09/28/2005 2:27:31 PM PDT by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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To: Lady In Blue

BTTT on the Optional Memorial of St. Wenceslaus, September 28, 2006!


12 posted on 09/28/2006 8:27:11 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue
To Follow in His Steps

Mary Kochan by Mary Kochan

Other Articles by Mary Kochan
To Follow in His Steps
09/28/06


Today is the feast of St. Wenceslas, a Christian martyr whom we usually think about at Christmastime thanks to the much-loved carol “Good King Wenceslas.” Actually, St. Wenceslas, was not a king, but a duke.

Born around 903, he was the product of what we call a “mixed marriage.” His father, Wratislaw, was a Christian and his mother Dragomir, a pagan. Wenceslas was brought up with a strong Christian faith by his grandmother, St. Ludmila.

When Wratislaw died, Dragomir became the regent, since her son, the heir apparent, was only about 13 years old. The anti-Christian forces saw this as their opportunity to consolidate power. While Ludmilla tended to the spiritual formation of the boy, Dragomir plotted to get control of her son and had Ludmilla strangled to death. Now Dragomir used her power to insist that young Wenceslas participate in pagan rituals. One can only imagine the risks he took at this time to attend secret Masses at night.

As the goodness of the young duke came to light, so did the nefarious plotting of Dragomir. Finally the outraged populace deposed and banished her and urged Wenceslas to take the reins of power, even though he was barely out of his teens. Wenceslas was very pious; he took a vow of virginity and was known for his virtues. He strengthened the churches in his area, bringing in more priests, and concerned himself with the welfare of the poor.

With God’s command to honor his father and mother in mind, he called Dragomir back from exile. She, however, incited his younger brother, Boleslaw, to murder him on September 28, 935. Wenceslas was hacked to pieces and his body buried at the murder site. Three years later Boleslaw repented and had the body transferred to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague.

The carol relates a story about the feast of St. Stephen, highlighting the generosity of St. Wenceslas. In the account, Wenceslas is walking through the snow with his page, a young male servant, when he observes a poor man in need. While going with his master to the poor man’s aid, the page finds the depth of the snow impeding his way and cries out to his master, “Fails my heart, I know not how/ I can go no longer.” At this “Good King Wenceslas” responds: “Mark my footsteps, my good page/ Tread thou in them boldly/ Thou shalt find the winter’s rage/ freeze thy blood less coldly.”

In the song, St. Wenceslas becomes a type of Christ, and the page represents all of us who struggle through obstacles to tread the path of charity. The song prompts us to overcome failure by following in the footsteps of our Lord. As 1 Peter 2: 21 reminds us, “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

© Copyright 2006 Catholic Exchange


Mary Kochan, Senior Editor of Catholic Exchange, writes from Douglasville, Georgia. Her tapes are available from
Saint Joseph Communications.


13 posted on 09/28/2006 8:54:06 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue
St. Wencesalus

St. Wenceslaus
Feast Day: September 28, 2007
(907?-929)

If saints have been falsely characterized as "otherworldly," the life of Wenceslaus stands as an example to the contrary: He stood for Christian values in the midst of the political intrigues which characterized 10th-century Bohemia.
     He was born in 907 near Prague, son of the Duke of Bohemia. His saintly grandmother, Ludmilla, raised him and sought to promote him as ruler of Bohemia in place of his mother, who favored the anti-Christian factions. Ludmilla was eventually murdered, but rival Christian forces were victorious, and Wenceslaus was able to assume leadership of the government.
     His rule was marked by efforts toward unification within Bohemia, support of the Church and peace-making negotiations with Germany, a policy which caused him trouble with the anti-Christian opposition. His brother Boleslav joined in the plotting, and in September of 929 invited Wenceslaus to Alt Bunglou for the celebration of the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. On the way to Mass, Boleslav attacked his brother, and in the struggle, Wenceslaus was killed by supporters of Boleslav.
     Although his death resulted primarily from political upheaval, Wenceslaus was hailed as a martyr for the faith, and his tomb became a pilgrimage shrine. He is hailed as the patron of the Bohemian people and of former Czechoslovakia.

Comment:

"Good King Wenceslaus" was able to incarnate his Christianity in a world filled with political unrest. While we are often victims of violence of a different sort, we can easily identify with his struggle to bring harmony to society. The call to become involved in social change and in political activity is addressed to Christians; the values of the gospel are sorely needed today.

Quote:


"While recognizing the autonomy of the reality of politics, Christians who are invited to take up political activity should try to make their choices consistent with the gospel and, in the framework of a legitimate plurality, to give both personal and collective witness to the seriousness of their faith by effective and disinterested service of men" (Pope Paul VI, A Call to Action, 46).


14 posted on 09/28/2007 9:08:53 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue
Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr

Saint Wenceslaus, martyr
Optional Memorial
September 28th



Prayer card - unknown artist

History:

St. Wenceslaus was a duke, martyr, and is the patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at Alt-Bunzlau, September 28, 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 June 27, their translation on March 4; his feast is celebrated on 28 September.

(Principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition )

Collect:
Lord,
You taught your martyr Wenceslaus
to prefer the kingdom of heaven
to all that the earth has to offer.
May his prayers free us from our self-seeking
and help us to serve You with all our hearts.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Readings:
First Reading: 1 Peter 3.:14-17
But even if you do suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God's will, than for doing wrong.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:34-39
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.


15 posted on 09/28/2009 9:25:03 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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