Adalbert of Prague

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Vojtech was born of a noble family in Bohemia. He studied for ten years in Magdeburg under St. Adalbert. When Adalbert died, he took on the name Adalbert Vojtech. The popes sent him several times to Bohemia. Adalbert baptized Geysa and Stephan, rulers of Hungary and he also christianized the Poles.

Saint Adalbert Vojtech of Prague was then sent by the pope to christianise the heathen Prussians. Boleslaw I Chrobry, duke of Poland sent his soldiers with Adalbert.

Adalbert and his followers entered near Danzig and went along the Baltic Sea Coast of Prussia. When they did not heed warnings to stay away from the sacred oak groves, Adalbert was martyred April 997 AD. It is said that his body was bought back for his weight in gold.

It was a standard procedure of Christian missionaries to try to chop down sacred oak trees (see Iconoclasm), which they had done in many other places, including Saxony. Because the trees were worshipped and the spirits who inhabited the trees were feared for the powers they possessed, this was done to demonstrate to the non-Christians that no supernatural powers protected the trees from the Christians.

A few years later Adalbert was canonized as Saint Adalbert of Prague.

also see: Germany, Prussia

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