Adalbert (Archbishop of Magdeburg)

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Saint Adalbert of Magdeburg (also Saint Albert of Magdeburg) (died 20 June 981), sometimes known as the Apostle of the Slavs, was the first Archbishop of Magdeburg (from 968)[1] and a successful missionary to the Slavic peoples to the east of Germany. He was later canonised; his feast day is June 20.


Adalbert, possibly born in Alsace, was a German monk at the Benedictine Monastery of Saint Maximinus in Trier. He was consecrated a bishop and in 961 he was sent to Kievan Rus. Princess Olga of Kiev had asked emperor Otto the Great to provide her with a missionary from the Church of Rome. Her son, Svyatoslav opposed her and took her crown from her as soon as Adalbert arrived in Kievan Rus. Adalbert's mission companions were slain and Adalbert was barely able to escape. Kievan Rus subsequently accepted conversion from Constantinople and Byzantine Christianity.

Upon escaping, Adalbert traveled to Mainz, where he became abbot of Wissembourg in Alsace. Once there, he worked to improve the education of the monks. He later became archbishop of Magdeburg, a city in Saxony-Anhalt.

The archbishoprics of Hamburg and Bremen had been created with the intent that they would act as bases for missionary activity in Northern and Eastern Europe. The Archbishopric of Magdeburg was now designated to provide missionary programs for the Eastern European Slavs. Adalbert also established dioceses at Naumburg, Meißen, Merseburg, Brandenburg, Havelberg and Poznań in Poland. A student in Adalbert's time who went on to do important work among the Slavs was Vojtěch of Prague, later canonized as Saint Adalbert of Prague.


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