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St. Wenceslas

Wenceslas is one of the most prominent figures of early Czech history. He is the sole Czech saint in the general Roman calendar. He was the third generation of Christian Premyslids, the grandson of St. Ludmila. For his time, he was unusually educated. After three years of the regent rule of his mother, he became the Czech prince. In an attempt to strengthen the unity of the state and to avoid conflicts with the neighboring countries, he founded his reign on further Christianization of the country. Probably in the year of 935, he was murdered by his adversaries, led by his brother Boleslav, in Stará Boleslav. Immediately after his death, people started worshipping him as a martyr. Boleslav had his brother’s body moved to Prague and buried at the Prague Castle, which was the same as canonization, according to the back-then customs. Wenceslas became the principal patron of the Czech nation and the Premyslid state. Emperor Charles IV further promoted the Wenceslas cult by writing a legend about him and by having the newly constructed Wenceslas Chapel at the Cathedral of St. Vitus beautifully decorated and making it the spiritual center of the entire state. Even newly created coronation jewels were consecrated to St. Wenceslas. During a coronation, every ruler symbolically pledged to execute the saint’s will and to continue with the saint’s endeavor. To this day, St. Wenceslas has been the symbol of Czech sovereignty, freedom, nation and state. His attributes are a spear with a pennon, sword, shield with and the St. Wenceslas female eagle.

 

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