Martyr, archbishop, hymnist, Benedictine monk, missionary, taunter of pagans, exiled, baptizer of kings, killed by idolatrous priests, and body ransomed for its weight in gold; St Adalbert led a storied life.
A Hymn (translated from Polish) attributed to St Adalbert
Virgin, Mother of God, God-famed Mary!
Ask Thy Son, our Lord, God-named Mary,
To have mercy upon us and hand it over to us!
Kyrie eleison! (in Greek)
Son of God, for Thy Baptist’s sake,
Hear the voices, fulfill the pleas we make!
Listen to the prayer we say,
For what we ask, give us today:
Life on earth free of vice;
After life: paradise!
O God, who bestowed the crown of martyrdom on the Bishop Saint Adalbert, as he burned with zeal for souls,grant, we pray, by his prayers,that the obedience of the flock may never fail the shepherds,nor the care of the shepherds be ever lacking to the flock.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.
Life (from the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907)
Born 939 of a noble Bohemian family; died 997. He assumed the name of the Archbishop Adalbert (his name had been Wojtech), under whom he studied at Magdeburg. He became Bishop of Prague, whence he was obliged to flee on account of the enmity he had aroused by his efforts to reform the clergy of his diocese. He betook himself to Rome, and when released by Pope John XV from his episcopal obligations, withdrew to a monastery and occupied himself in the most humble duties of the house. Recalled by his people, who received him with great demonstrations of joy, he was nevertheless expelled a second time and returned to Rome. The people of Hungary were just then turning towards Christianity. Adalbert went among them as a missionary, and probably baptized King Geysa and his family, and King Stephen. He afterwards evangelized the Poles, and was made Archbishop of Gnesen. But he again relinquished his see, and set out to preach to the idolatrous inhabitants of what is now the Kingdom of Prussia. Success attended his efforts at first, but his imperious manner in commanding them to abandon paganism irritated them, and at the instigation of one of the pagan priests he was killed. This was in the year 997. His feast is celebrated 23 April, and he is called the Apostle of Prussia. Boleslas I, Prince of Poland, is said to have ransomed his body for an equivalent weight of gold. He is thought to be the author of the war-song, “Boga-Rodzica”, which the Poles used to sing when going to battle.