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WHAT YOU SEE
This photograph presents of what is claimed to be the tomb of St. Adalbert in the central nave of the Prague Cathedral. There is quite an interesting story related to St. Adalbert’s remains (see below).

ABOUT THE TITLE
Christianity was often used in Middle Ages as an excuse to invade “pagan” countries. Among Slavic tribes, Bohemia (part of the present day Czechia) was the first to get baptized. They accepted the Christianity from Germany. The first historic Polish ruler, Mieszko wanted to avoid the direct dependence from Germany and he married Czech princess, Dobrava, with that marriage accepting the Christianity (996). Czech rulers have sent some missionaries to convert Poles to Christianity. The most notable one was the Bishop of Prague, St. Adalbert (Polish Sw. Wojciech). After his mission in Poland was successful, he ventured further to Baltic Prussians to teach them about Jesus, but he was eventually murdered there in 997. Prussians wanted to sell his body to Czechs but requested the equivalent of dead body weight in gold. Czechs refused, but the son of Mieszko, Boleslaw purchased the body. The body of St. Adalbert rested in the cathedral of the first Polish capital, Gniezno. Boleslaw used that as an excuse to invite German Emperor who was a friend of St. Adalbert to Gniezno. Bolesław took advantage of the emperor's pilgrimage. After the Emperor's visit in Gniezno, Poland started to develop into a sovereign state, in contrast with Bohemia, which remained a vassal state, incorporated in the Kingdom of Germany. Boleslaw in fact became the first crowned King of Poland. Interestingly, Bohemian Duke Břetislav I looted the bones of St. Adalbert from Gniezno in a raid and translated them to Prague. According to Polish accounts, however, he stole the wrong relics, namely those of St. Gaudentius, while the Poles concealed St. Adalbert's relics which remain in Gniezno.

ABOUT ST. ADALBERT
Adalbert of Prague (c. 956 – 23 April 997) (Czech: Vojtěch, Polish: Wojciech), was a Bohemian missionary and Christian saint. He was the Bishop of Prague and a missionary to the Hungarians, Poles, and Prussians, who was martyred in his efforts to convert the Baltic Prussians to Christianity.

Notably, the Přemyslid rulers of Bohemia initially refused to ransom St. Adalbert's body from the Prussians who murdered him, and therefore it was purchased by Poles. This fact may be explained by the Saint belonging to the Slavniks family which was rival to the Přemyslids. Thus St. Adalbert's bones were preserved in Gniezno, which assisted Boleslaus I of Poland in increasing Polish political and diplomatic power in Europe.

According to Bohemian accounts, in 1039 the Bohemian Duke Břetislav I looted the bones of St. Adalbert from Gniezno in a raid and translated them to Prague. According to Polish accounts, however, he stole the wrong relics, namely those of St. Gaudentius, while the Poles concealed St. Adalbert's relics which remain in Gniezno. In 1127 his severed head, which was not in the original purchase according to Roczniki Polskie, was discovered and translated to Gniezno. In 1928, one of the arms of St. Adalbert, which Bolesław I had given to Holy Roman Emperor Otto III in 1000, was added to the bones preserved in Gniezno. Therefore, today St. Adalbert has two elaborate shrines in the Prague Cathedral and Royal Cathedral of Gniezno, each of which claims to possess his relics, but which of these bones are his authentic relics is unknown.

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Additional Photos by Mariusz Kamionka (mkamionka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5065 W: 102 N: 13040] (52488)
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