Christian of Oliva

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Christian of Oliva, Christian of Prussia, (Polish: Christian z Oliwy) (died 1245) was the first Bishop of Prussia.

He was a Cistercian. Most but not all authors identify him with Godfrey of Łękno. Before his appointment as bishop, he had been the abbot of the monastery of Łekno near Gniezno.

In 1209, Christian was commissioned by Pope Innocent III to be responsible for the Prussian missions between the Rivers Vistula and Neman. He was appointed bishop in 1212. Three years later, he went to Rome in order to report to the Pope on the condition and prospects of his mission, and was consecrated first Bishop of Prussia. His seat as a Bishop was Oliva (Oliwa) Abbey, founded in 1178 by the dukes of eastern Pomerania near Gdańsk at the Baltic Sea. So his seat was on the western side of the Vistula, whereas the pagan Prussian territory was on the eastern side of it.

Together with Conrad of Mazovia, Christian later created the Order of Dobrzyń.

From 1233 to 1239, Christian was held captive by pagan Prussians, and freed in trade for five other hostages who then in turn were released for a ransom of 800 Marks, granted to him by Pope Gregory IX.

In 1243, the Papal legate William of Modena divided Prussia into four bishoprics

under the archbishopric of Riga. Christian was supposed to choose one of them, but did not agree to the division, and died before the conflict was solved.

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