Ulrich of Augsburg

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Saint Ulrich (c.890–July 4, 973), sometimes spelled Uodalric or Odalrici, was Bishop of Augsburg and a leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. He was the first saint to be canonized.



Ulrich was born in 890 at Kyburg, Zurich, Switzerland or near Augsburg and studied at the monastery of St. Gall. Ulrich's family were Alamanni and Swabian. He personally lived in simplicity and poverty.

He was a son of Hupald, Count of Dillingen (d. 909) and Dietpirch of Swabia (also known as Theoberga). His brother Theodbald, Count of Dillingen was killed in the Battle of Lechfeld (10 August 955). His other brother Manegold was also named as Count in Medieval chronicles and ancestor of later Counts of Dillingen. An unnamed sister served as a nun in Buchau. His other sister Liutgard was mother to Adalbero, administrator of the Bishopric of Augsburg in the 970s. This nephew died the same year as Ulrich. The cause of his death is unknown.[1]

His maternal grandfather was Burchard I, Duke of Swabia.[2] Burchard was reportedly the second husband of Liutgard. Liutgard was the widow of Louis the Younger.[3] The siblings of Liutgard included Burchard II, Duke of Swabia.[2] This family was connected with the dukes of Alamannia and the Ottonian dynasty.

Life account

As a child he was sickly; when old enough to learn he was sent to the monastic school of St. Gall, where he proved to be an excellent scholar. He resolved to enter the priesthood, but was in doubt whether to enter the Benedictine Abbey of St. Gall or to become a secular priest. He was sent before April, 910, for his further training to Adalbero, Bishop of Augsburg, who made him a chamberlain. On Adalbero's death (28 April 910) Ulrich returned home, where he remained until the death of Bishop Hiltine (28 November 923).

Through the influence of his uncle, Burchard II, Duke of Swabia, and other relatives, Ulrich was appointed bishop of Augsburg by Henry I of Germany, and was consecrated on 28 December 923. He proved himself to be a ruler who united severity with gentleness. He sought to improve the low moral and social condition of the clergy, and to enforce a rigid adherence to the laws of the Church. Ulrich hoped to gain this end by periodical visitations, and by building as many churches as possible, to make the blessings of religion more accessible to the common people. His success was largely due to the good example he set his clergy and diocese. For the purpose of obtaining relics he went on two journeys to Rome, in 910, and in 952 or 953.

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