Adalbert (2)

Adalbert archbishop of Prague, was born of a princely Slavonic family, about the year 956, at Prague. His parents sent him to Magdeburg to enter upon his studies under the archbishop Adalbert, who gave him his own name at confirmation. Upon his return into Bohemia, touched by the death-bed remorse of Dietmar, bishop of Prague, for not having led a life of greater piety and activity, he at once assumed a penitential dress, praying fervently and giving great alms. In 983 he was elected bishop of Prague with the unanimous consent of the people. He made great efforts to promote the spiritual welfare of his flock, which was in a fearful state of immorality: among the laity polygamy, and among the clergy incontinence were general. Had he been less impatient, he might doubtless have accomplished much more than he did. Finding all his labor in vain, he left his see in 989 by permission of Pope John XV, and retired into the monastery of St. Boniface, at Rome. He was, however, constrained to return to his bishopric, which he again quitted for his monastic retreat; and again was on the point of returning to it, when, finding his people set against him, he finally forsook it, in order to preach the Gospel in Prussia, where he suffered martyrdom, April 23, 997 (after making many converts at Dantzic and in Pomerania), at the hands of seven assassins, whose chief was an idol-priest, and who pierced him with seven lances. Since that period Adalbert has been the patron saint of Poland and Bohemia. For a graphic account of him, see Neander, Light in Dark Places, 272. The Martyrologies commemorate him on the 23d of April. — Neander, Ch. Hist. 3, 322; Butler, Lives of Saints, April 23.

 
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