Adalbert of Prague [Vojtěch; Wojciech]
- Geoffrey Chew
(b ?Libice, Bohemia, c956; d nr Danzig [now Gdańsk], April 23, 997). Czech bishop, missionary, martyr, and saint. He belonged to the powerful Slavník family and was baptized Vojtěch, taking the name Adalbert at his confirmation. Educated at Magdeburg, he was consecrated Bishop of Prague in 983. Owing to opposition he twice resigned the see and travelled to Rome, returning each time to Prague. In Italy he became a Benedictine (989) and visited Monte Cassino; he founded the first Benedictine houses in Bohemia (Břevnov, 993) and Poland (Międzyrzecz, c996), and visited Hungary as a missionary. He was canonized in 999 and venerated particularly in Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Prussia; for a list of Offices, hymns, and sequences connected with his cult, see Morawski.
The early biographies (ed. in MGH Scriptores, vol.4, 1841/R, pp.574–620; vol.15/2, 1888/R, pp.705–8, 1177, and by Hoffmann) offer no conclusive evidence that Adalbert was a musician. He has been credited, nevertheless, with the earliest vernacular religious songs of both Bohemia (...