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Saint Wenceslaus

Wenceslaus, Saint (wĕnˈsəsləs) [key], d. 929, duke of Bohemia. He was reared in the Christian faith by his grandmother, St. Ludmilla. He became duke at an early age, and during his minority his mother, Drahomira, acted as regent. She, like many other Czech nobles, opposed Christianity and persecuted the Christians. She incurred the enmity of the German king, Henry I (Henry the Fowler), by aiding the Wends, a Slavic people, against Henry; Henry invaded Bohemia. Wenceslaus, who had then begun to rule, recognized the futility of resistance and negotiated a peace. During his reign Wenceslaus was noted for his piety; he worked vigorously to strengthen Christianity in Bohemia. His religion and his friendly relations with Henry I caused much discontent among the nobles, and he was assassinated by his brother Boleslav I, who succeeded him. By the beginning of the 11th cent., he was already recognized as the patron saint of Bohemia. Václav is the Czech form of his name. Feast: Sept. 28.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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