[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Wenceslaus, Duke of Bohemia

X Century

The patron saint of Bohemia since the XI Century, Duke Wenceslaus (Vaclav) was born c. 907 and became a Christian through the influence of his grandmother, Ludmilla. When his father died c. 922, Wenceslaus become Duke of Bohemia, with his mother Drahomira, who supported pagans in the kingdom, as regent. Two years later, Wenceslaus assumed full power and began to pursue pro-German policies to prevent the larger country from invading Bohemia. He recognized Henry I the Fowler as his overlord, an act that may have inspired Boleslav (Wenceslaus' younger brother) to murder him c. 929. Three years later, after many reports of miracles at Wenceslaus' tomb, Boleslav translated his brother's relics to Prague, where they rested with the arm of St. Vitus. Considered a saint immediately in Bohemia, Wenceslaus also had a cult in mediæval England.

Karen Rae Keck