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Wenceslaus

Wenceslaus

September 28

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Wenceslaus I was the duke (kníže) of Bohemia from 921 until his assassination in 935. His younger brother, Boleslaus the Cruel, was complicit in the murder. His martyrdom and the popularity of several biographies gave rise to a reputation for heroic virtue that resulted in his elevation to sainthood. He was posthumously declared to be a king and came to be seen as the patron saint of the Czech state. He is the subject of the well-known "Good King Wenceslas", a carol for Saint Stephen's Day.

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September 28 Saint of the Day

September 28 Saint of the Day

More than just a name in a Christmas carol, Wenceslaus managed to rule with a clear vision of what a Christian leader should be. Many opposed him during his reign, and his brother eventually betrayed and killed him, but he continued to hold the faith and is hailed today as an outstanding king in Eastern Europe.

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Wenceslaus

Son of Vratislav I, Duke of Bohemia, whose family had been converted by Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, and Drahomira, daughter of a pagan chief; she was baptized on her wedding day, but who apparently never seriously took to the faith. Grandson and student of Saint Ludmilla. Duke of Bohemia, ascending to power when his...


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The throne of the king who judges the poor in honesty shall be strengthened for ever

From the first old Slavic legend
At the death of Vratislaus the people of Bohemia made his son Wenceslaus their king. He was by God’s grace a man of utmost faith. He was charitable to the poor, and he would clothe the naked, feed the hungry and offer hospitality to travelers according the summons of the Gospel. He would not allow widows to be treated unjustly; he loved all his people, both rich and poor; he also provided for the servants of God, and he adorned many churches. The men of Bohemia, however, became arrogant and prevailed upon Boleslaus, his younger brother. They told him, “Your brother Wenceslaus is conspiring with his mother and his men to kill you.” On the feasts of the dedication of the churches in various cities, Wenceslaus was in the habit of paying them a visit. One Sunday he entered the city of Boleslaus on the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian, and after hearing Mass, he planned to return to Prague. But Boleslaus, with his wicked plan in mind, detained him with the words: “Why are you leaving, brother?” The next morning when they rang the bell for matins, Wenceslaus, on hearing the sound, said: “Praise to you, Lord; you have allowed me to live to this morning.” And so he rose and went to matins.’ Immediately Boleslaus followed him to the church door. Wenceslaus looked back at him and said: “Brother, you were a good subject to me yesterday.” But the devil had already blocked the ears of Boleslaus and perverted his heart. Drawing his sword Boleslaus replied: “And now I intend to be a better one!” With these words he struck his brother’s head with his sword. But Wenceslaus turned and said: “Brother, what are you trying to do?” And with that he seized Boleslaus and threw him to the ground. But one of Boleslaus’ counselors ran up and stabbed Wenceslaus in the hand. With his hand wounded, he let go of his brother and took refuge in the church. But two evil men struck him down at the church door; and then another rushed up and ran him through with a sword. Thereupon Wenceslaus died with the words: Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!”    

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