There’s a strong chance that if you are familiar with today’s saint, St. Wenceslas, it’s in the context of the timeless Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas. This song is so pervasive that you are probably humming it right now. In fact, few children will get through their first Christmas without singing it, either in Church or at home, but very few of them will learn more about this amazing saint.
The memorable song recites a altruistic emperor who takes food, fuel, and wine-coloured to a good follower on the feast of St. Stephen. While he was oftentimes called the Good, there are a couple of small-time inaccuracies in this song. For one, St. Wenceslas( Svaty Vaclav in his native Czech) was reigning at a time when the rulers of Prague were called by the Slavic title knize, which is frequently interpreted as duke( but he would be called king last-minute ). As well, the floor recounted in the Christmas tune is not necessarily one we find in Hagiography, but we do indeed have anecdotes of Wenceslas giving alms and exhausting captives on major feast days. But perhaps Knize St. Vaclav the Good doesn’t got the same ring
Whatever the facts are, many of us learned the list St. Wenceslas through this song but he is a man worth knowing. St. Wenceslas is a figure whose retention proceeded from beyond the borders of his small kingdom to influence countless souls. If you ask around Prague, they say he will even come back again( more on that last-minute ). So, to celebrate his feast, here are a few things to know about St. Wenceslas.
1. Noble and Saintly Family
St. Wenceslas was born to magnificence, namely in that he had royal blood. He was born to the House of Premyslid, whose guideline traced back to the imaginary foundations of Prague. Like many royal pedigrees, the Premyslids had a few cruel people. However, Wenceslas is bound to a greater nobility: the denomination of saints.
Wenceslas’s grandparents, Borivoj and St. Ludmila, were the first Czech rulers to receive baptism after the successful assignment of Sts. Cyril and Methodius to the Slavs. In fact, some roots indicate that Ludmila was baptized by St. Methodius himself. Whoever called her, Ludmila took members of the mission of Christ quite seriously. This was a dangerous task as so many members of her family and nation still practiced paganism.
St. Ludmila examined to it that St. Wenceslas was educated as a Christian, despite the dissents of his mother. Through her tireless campaigns, St. Wenceslas grew going to be a good, Christian king who governed with providence but was also willing to dispense mercy.
Wenceslas would specify the example for countless people who answer the call to sainthood. Within his own family, we already touched on the instance of St. Ludmila, but he is related to several other saints, which include St. Agnes of Bohemia and St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
2. A Family of Martyrs
St. Ludmila was a grandma and spiritual mother to St. Wenceslas. The Christian example of Ludmila, nonetheless, did not please all of her family and court. When she first altered, she and Duke Borivoj had to flee from their throne and commonwealth due to a gentile reaction. Years eventually, after Wenceslas had been proclaimed the brand-new ruler, Ludmila would entice the scorn of her own daughter in constitution.
Drahomira, Wenceslas’s mother, was born a pagan but admitted baptism before her marry. However, it doesn’t seem that she had the sincere conversion of her mother-in-law. St. Ludmila had a great influence on Wenceslas and Drahomira was jealous of this and also desired to bring back the gentile habits of old. To that extremity, Drahomira said two assassins to kill St. Ludmila, which they did by suffocate her with her chapel cover.
Like his grandmother, St. Wenceslas wanted the conversion of his parties. As the ruler, he built countless schools and chapels, including the basilica where he hid his grandmother. Wenceslas would also free hostages, especially during Christmas, as an act of mercy for his subjects. And like his grandmother, his reputation and witness enticed the attention of the members of destructive relatives.
Boleslaus the Cruel, Wenceslas’s brother, set out to kill the future saint, who was celebrating the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. As St. Wenceslas gripped the door of the chapel, he was attacked by three executioners who impaled him. Some reports say that it was Boleslaus himself who delivered the final blow to Wenceslas as the saintly ruler yelled, “Brother, what are you trying to do! ”
3. A National Martyr
St. Wenceslas was recognized as a martyr shortly thereafter his death. Boleslaus would eventually repent of his wickedness and the remnants of St. Wenceslaus would eventually find their way back to Prague Castle , not far from where St. Ludmila was buried.
If you were able to attend the divine liturgy at Prague Castle on the feast of St. Wenceslas, within the gothic walls of St. Vitus Cathedral, you would be treated to a Mass that is worthy of such a saint. For one, you would hear what are likely to be the oldest Czech hymn, Svatovaclavsky choral( Saint Wenceslas Chorale) which goes back to at least the 13 th century. However, the central object of this day is the skull of St. Wenceslas, still wearing the treetop of his commonwealth.
In the Czech Republic, St. Wenceslas is a saint and national protagonist, a holy benefactor who still invigorates the people who walk around his magnificent city of Prague. In fact, many of the events of Velvet Revolution in 1989 happened right beneath the equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas in the city’s largest square, which likewise permits his figure.
And not far from Prague is the mountain of Blanik. According to legend, a group of soldiers sleeps there in waiting for when the Czech people most needed here. And who should rise to lead them in these tumultuous daylights but St. Wenceslas himself, which is able to never forget to watch over his parties and all people who ask for his intercession.
If you ever get to Prague, call his chapel, predicted the medals on Wenceslas Square, and revere the gift of this overlooked saint. And, if possible, light a candle and pray before his relics.
St. Wenceslas, Pray for Us.
image: The fresco of king Saint Wenceslaus in church Svateho Cyrila Metodeje by Frantisek Sequens via Renata Sedmakova/ Shutterstock.com
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