Otho or Otto St, of Bamberg

Otho Or Otto St., Of Bamberg, a noted Pomeranian prelate, and the evangelist of that now Prussian province, was born about 1062, and was descended of a noble but not wealthy Suabian family. He received a learned education, according to the fashion of those times. Providence brought him to Poland, where he became private tutor of the sons of some of the noblest families. Thus he became known to the duke Wladislay Herman who invited him to his court, and made him his chaplain (1082-1103). Having the confidence of the duke, he was soon employed on political missions, and in this way became known to the emperor Henry IV. This monarch finally drew Otho to his own court, and made him one of his chaplains, and also employed him as secretary. Otho got into great favor with the emperor. He was appointed imperial chancellor; and when the bishopric of Bamberg, in the year 1102, fell vacant, was placed over that diocese. In the year 1103, Feb. 2, Otho entered upon his duties. He did not receive the papal consecration until the year 1106, by Pascal II (q.v.). "As a bishop, Otho was distinguished for the zeal and interest which he took in promoting tie religious instruction of the people in their own spoken language, and for his gift of clear and intelligible preaching. He was accustomed to moderate, with the severity of a monk, his bodily wants, and by this course, as well as by his frugality generally, was able to save so much the more out of the ample revenues of the bishopric for carrying forward the great enterprises which he undertook in the service of the Church and of religion. He loved to take from himself to give to the poor; and all the presents he received from princes and noblemen, far and near, he devoted to the same object. He caused many churches and edifices to be constructed for the embellishment or the greater security of his diocese, and especially took pleasure in founding new monasteries, for, in common with many of the more seriously disposed in his times, he cherished a strong predilection for the monastic life" (Neander). In the contest about ecclesiastical investitures, SEE INVESTITURE, between Henry V and Gregory VII (q.v.), Otho was inclined to favor the principles of the Gregorian Church government, but finally got tired of the quarrel, and accepted an invitation from the duke Boleslay of Poland to go to Pomerania in order to carry on a Christian mission there. Having obtained the sanction and blessing of pope Honorius II on this work, Otho began his journey on April 24, 1124. "Fondly attached as he was to monkish ways, the experience of his predecessor in this missionary field taught him to avoid every appearance of that sort, and rather to present himself in the full splendor of his episcopal dignity. He not only provided himself in the most ample manner with everything that was necessary for his own support and that of his attendants in Pomerania, but also took with him costly raiment and other articles to be used as presents to the chiefs of the people; likewise all the necessary church utensils, by which he could make it visibly manifest to the Pomeranians that he did not visit them from interested motives, but was ready to devote his own property to the object of imparting to them a blessing which he regarded as the very highest." On his first missionary journey he baptized in Pyritz, near Stargard, 7000 pagans; was favorably received in Kammin; where the first Church for the Pomeranians was founded by him. After having remained there for forty days, during which time he instructed and. baptized the people, he determined to push his missionary journey onwards, and directed his steps to Wollin, where he found the people strongly attached to their ancient customs, and where he had every reason to expect a more determined opposition. Otho came near suffering martyrdom at this place, and, without having effected his purpose, he had to repair to Stettin, the capital town. Here the reception he met with was at first unfavorable, but finally, after a patient waiting of some months. Christianity triumphed, and the downfall of paganism could be made known to the duke. Otho then returned to Wollin. The inhabitants of this town having agreed with the bishop that they would follow the example of the capital city, had already sent persons to Stettin for the purpose of obtaining exact information respecting the manner in which the Gospel was there received. The news they obtained could not fail to make the most favorable impression, and Otho was received in Julin, or Wollin, with demonstrations of joy and respect. The activity of the clergy during the two months which they spent in this place scarcely sufficed to baptize all who offered themselves. After having laid the foundation of the Christian Church in many other places, Otho felt bound to make a visitation-tour to the communities already founded by him. and bestow confirmation on those who had before been baptized. Julin, or Wollin, was made the first bishopric of Pomeiania, to which post Boleslay nominated Adalbert, one of his chaplains, who by his direction had accompanied bishop Otho as an assistant. By way of Poland Otho returned to Bamberg, where he was received with great joy, March 28,1125. In the year 1128 he undertook a second missionary journey by way of Germany over Halle, Magdeburg, and Havelberg. The result of this second journey was that at the diet held at Usedom a decree was issued which permitted the free preaching of the Gospel in all places. The bishop now commenced sending his clergy two by two into all the towns and villages, intending to follow them. In Wolgast and Gutzkov the temples were destroyed, and Stettin, which had relapsed into paganism, was brought over again to Christianity. Otho then returned to his episcopal see at Bamberg, keeping however a lively correspondence with the mission in Pomerania. He died June 30, 11.319 Whether Otho introduced the seven sacraments among the Pomeranians whom he had converted to Christianity is a point which remains to be investigated. See Vitae Ottonis Bamb. ed. Koepke (Monum. Germ. vol. xiv); Sulzbeck, Leben des heiligen Otto von Bamberg (Regensburg, 1866); Kannegiesser, Bekehrungsgeschichte der Pommern (Greifswalde, 1824); Meiller, Otto, episcopatus Bambergensis Pomeraniae apostolus et exempti monasterii Ensdorsensis prcecipuus

dotator (Amb. 1730); Otto von- Bamberg.(Stettin, 1792); Buch, Memoria Ottonis Episcopi Basnberg (Jenae, 1828); Barthold, Geschichte von Rigen und Pomnern (Hamburg, 1839); Milman, Mitslav, or the Conversion of Pomerania (1854); Maclear, Hist. Christian Missions in the M. A. p. 303 sq.; Hardwick, Ch. Rist. M. A. p. 208, 209; Engelhardt, Dog mengeschichte, 2:196; Munscher, Dogmengeschichte (ed. by Von Coln), p. 189, 190; Piperj Evangelischer Kalender, 1852, p. 149 sq.; Neander, Church History (Torrey's transl.), 4:23-30, 130; Kurtz, Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte, 1:296; Gieseler, Text-book of Church History, 2:596 sq.; Niedner, Lehrbuch der christl. Kirchezngeschichte, p. 384. (B. P.)

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