Saint of the Month: St. Adalbert of Prague

Saint Adalbert of Prague, given the name Vojtech at birth, was born in the year 956 to an affluent family line of Bohemian princes, which is modern day Czech Republic. In Magdeburg, Germany, he studied theology, and he was baptized with the name Adalbert after his catechist.

After the death of his mentor in 981, Adalbert developed ideas for missionary work and clerical reform, so he returned to Prague to carry out his vision.

In 982, Adalbert was elected bishop and showed support for the political views of the prince of Bohemia, Boleslav II. His visions highlighted broadening the reach of the church outside the Czech kingdom to better mold the standards of church life, unfortunately without much understanding and comprehension from his people. Tension began to develop between the bishop and the prince, so Adalbert left for Rome in 990 to become a monk.

Two years later, John XV commanded the return of Adalbert to Prague but he was stripped of his episcopal responsibilities in 995, which was decided after the massacre of his family ordered by Prince Boleslav II. While back in Prague, Adalbert founded the abbey of Brevnov.

Then, Adalbert was invited by the duke of Poland to evangelize the Prussians of Pomerania and later was was martyred April 23, 997, near Gdansk, Poland, after being suspected of being a Polish spy.

Adalbert was canonized in 999, as the first bishop of Prague with Czech heritage. In 1039, Adalbert’s body was transferred from Poland to Prague.