The patron saint of Bohemia, Saint Wenceslaus I, was not only a venerated saint but also a martyr who died for being a true Christian. Ascending to the throne at a very early age, he soon became one of the most efficient rulers, working for the religious and educational empowerment of his people. By building churches and encouraging missionaries, he maintained a strong relationship with the rest of the Christian world, which, in a way, led to his death at the hands of his own brother, who was against his pro-Christian policies. His goodness was recognized by the rest of the world as he was honoured as a martyr and a saint, soon after his death. He is now considered the patron saint of Bohemia and the feast of Saint Wenceslaus is celebrated on September 28th which is a testimony to his greatness. Read on to know more about Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke Of Bohemia and his path to saintliness.
The Duke of Bohemia, Wenceslas was born in 907 AD as the son of Duke Wratislaw. Educated by his grandmother, Saint Ludmilla, Wenceslas was taught of true Christian faith, thus growing up as a devout Christian. Following the death of his father, Drahomira, his mother seized the power and passed a lot of impeaching laws. However, Wenceslas soon seized the power in the interest of the people and the kingdom. This made his mother support his brother, Boleslav, and they together allied against him and Christians.
Efficient Ruler And Death
Wenceslas was known for his bravery and piousness, his ability to reach to the common man and his bravado in leading from the front whenever the kingdom was in danger. He was loyal to the clergy men, worked for the educational and religious empowerment of the people and maintained frequent contact with the rest of the Christian world. He also encouraged missionaries and built churches. Unfortunately, fate and his own brother conspired against him and he was forced to surrender when the German king, Heinrich I attacked Bohemia. This defeat, along with his pro-Christian policies, made his brother and some nobles to connive against him. In 935 AD, on September 28, he was killed by a group of knights, under the leadership of his brother.
Feast Day Of Saint Wenceslas
Soon after his death, he was declared a martyr and was acclaimed as a Saint. There were reports of miracles from his tomb and his remains were moved to a church in St. Vitus in Prague which later turned into a pilgrimage site. His feast is celebrated on September 28, since 985, in Bohemia.
Bohemia's Patron Saint
The next thirty years after his death witnessed Saint Wenceslas becoming Bohemia's patron saint. The Crown of Wenceslas was regarded as the symbol of Czech nationalism and independence and they also engraved his picture on the coins. The castle of Karlstein still has his wall paintings which underlines his national and religious significance.
Saint Wenceslas is an example of true faith and his sacrifice confirms that fact that men, driven by passion, can reach unbelievable glory that defies death.