Sunday, 11 January 2015

Saint Wolfgang (934 A.D. - 994 A.D.).


Text and Illustrations from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.



English: Stained-Glass Window depicting Saint Wolfgang,
in the Parish Church of Liesing, Austria.
Deutsch: Kirchenfenster von Wolfgang in der Pfarrkirche Liesing
(Wien 23), Österreich. Bild von mir selbst aufgenommen im Sommer 2005.
This File: 3 May 2013.
User: Bede735c.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg (934 A.D. – 994 A.D.) was Bishop of Regensburg, in Bavaria, Germany, from Christmas 972 A.D., until his death. He is a Saint of the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Churches (Canonised in 1052). He is regarded as one of the three great German Saints of the 10th-Century; the other two Saints being Saint Ulrich and Saint Conrad of Constance. Wolfgang was descended from the family of the Swabian Counts of Pfullingen (Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Mon. Germ. His.: Script., X, 53)). When seven-years-old, he had an Ecclesiastic as tutor, at home; later, he attended the celebrated Monastic School at Reichenau Abbey.

Here he formed a strong friendship with Henry of Babenberg, brother of Bishop Poppo of Würzburg, whom he followed to Würzburg in order to attend the lectures of the noted Italian grammarian, Stephen of Novara, at the Cathedral School.

After Henry was made Archbishop of Trier, in 956 A.D., he summoned Wolfgang, who became a teacher in the Cathedral School of Trier, and also laboured for the reform of the Archdiocese, despite the hostility with which his efforts were met.



English: Chapel of Saint Wolfgang, Glanz, Austria.
Deutsch: Kapelle hl. Wolfgang, Glanz, Österreich.
Photo: 29 October 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: Jürgele.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Wolfgang's residence at Trier greatly influenced his Monastic and ascetic tendencies, as here he came into contact with the great Monastery of the 10th-Century, Saint Maximin's Abbey, Trier, where he made the acquaintance of Romuald, the teacher of Saint Adalbert of Prague.

After the death of Archbishop Henry of Trier, in 964 A.D., Wolfgang entered the Benedictine Order in the Abbey of Maria, Einsiedeln, Switzerland, and was Ordained Priest by Saint Ulrich, in 968 A.D.

After their defeat in the Battle of the Lechfeld (955 A.D.), the heathen Hungarians settled in ancient Pannonia. As long as they were not converted to Christianity, they remained a constant menace to the Empire.

At the request of Saint Ulrich, who clearly saw the danger, and at the desire of the Emperor Otto the Great, Wolfgang, according to the Abbey annals, was "sent to the Hungarians" as the most suitable man to evangelise them.



English: Chapel of Saint Wolfgang,
Deutsch: Kapelle hl. Wolfgang, Bassig,
Dünserberg
Österreich.
Photo: 25 September 2013.
Source: Own work.
(Wikimedia Commons)


He was followed by other Missionaries, sent by Piligrim, Bishop of Passau, under whose jurisdiction the new Missionary Region came.

After the death of Bishop Michael of Regensburg (23 September 972 A.D.), Bishop Piligrim obtained from the Emperor the appointment of Wolfgang as the new Bishop (Christmas, 972 A.D.). Wolfgang's services in this new position were of the highest importance, not only for the Diocese, but also for the cause of civilisation. As Bishop of Regensburg, Wolfgang became the tutor of Emperor Saint Henry II, who learned from him the principles which governed his Saintly and energetic life. Poppe, son of Margrave Luitpold, Archbishop of Trier (1018), and Tagino, Archbishop of Magdeburg (1004–1012), also had him as their teacher.

Wolfgang deserves credit for his disciplinary labours in his Diocese. His main work in this respect was connected with the ancient and celebrated Saint Emmeram's Abbey, which he reformed by granting it, once more, Abbots of its own, thus withdrawing it from the control of the Bishops of Regensburg, who for many years had been Abbots in commendam, a condition of affairs that had been far from beneficial to the Abbey and Monastic life. In the Benedictine Monk, Romuald, whom Saint Wolfgang called from Saint Maximin, at Trier, Saint Emmeram received a most capable Abbot in 975 A.D.



English: Parish Church of Saint Wolfgang, Tyrol, Austria.
Deutsch: Kath. Pfarrkirche hl. Wolfgang, Friedhof u.
Kriegerkapelle, 
Österreich.
Photo: 27 September 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: OW.
(Wikimedia Commons)



[Editor: Note the beautiful scrolled Metalwork around the Grave Crucifixes,
a feature of Austrian Metalcraft Workers. Such scrolled Metalwork
would contribute greatly to new Sanctuary Communion Rails,
should any Parish Priest be looking for ideas.]
English: Parish Church of Saint Wolfgang, Tyrol, Austria.
Deutsch: Kath. Pfarrkirche hl. Wolfgang,
Friedhof u. Kriegerkapelle, 
Österreich.
Photo: 27 September 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: OW.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The Saint also reformed the Convents of Obermünster and Niedermünster,at Regensburg, chiefly by giving them, as an example, the Convent of Saint Paul, Mittelmünster, at Regensburg, which he had founded in 983 A.D. He also co-operated in the Reform of the ancient and celebrated Benedictine Abbey of Niederaltaich, which had been Founded by the Agilolfinger Dynasty, and which, from that time, took on new life.

He showed genuine Episcopal generosity, in the liberal manner with which he met the views of the Emperor Otto II, regarding the intended reduction in size of his Diocese for the benefit of the new Diocese of Prague (975 A.D.), to which Saint Adalbert was appointed first Bishop. As Prince of the Empire, he performed his duties, towards the Emperor and the Empire, with the utmost scrupulousness and, like Saint Ulrich, was one of the mainstays of the Ottonian policies.

He took part in the various Imperial Diets, and, in the Autumn of 978 A.D., accompanied Emperor Otto II on his Campaign to Paris, and took part in the Diet of Verona, in June 983 A.D. He was succeeded by Gebhard I.



English: Interior of the Parish Church of Saint Wolfgang,
Tyrol, Austria.
Deutsch: Kath. Pfarrkirche hl. Wolfgang,
Friedhof u. Kriegerkapelle, 
Österreich.
Photo: 26 September 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: OW.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Towards the end of his life, Saint Wolfgang withdrew as a Hermit to a solitary spot, now the Wolfgangsee ("Wolfgang's Lake") in the Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria, apparently on account of a political dispute, but probably in the course of a journey of inspection to Mondsee Abbey, which was under the direction of the Bishops of Regensburg. He was discovered by a hunter and brought back to Regensburg.

While travelling on the Danube to Pöchlarn, in Lower Austria, he fell ill at the village of Pupping, which is between Eferding and the Market Town of Aschach, near Linz, and at his request was carried into the Chapel of Saint Othmar, at Pupping, where he died.

His body was taken up the Danube by his friends, Count Aribo of Andechs and Archbishop Hartwich of Salzburg, to Regensburg, and was Solemnly Buried in the Crypt of Saint Emmeram. Many Miracles were performed at his grave; in 1052 he was Canonised.



English: Another view of the beautiful Interior
of the Parish Church of Saint Wolfgang, Tyrol, Austria.
Deutsch: Kath. Pfarrkirche hl. Wolfgang,
Friedhof u. Kriegerkapelle, Österreich.
Photo: 26 September 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: OW.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Soon after Wolfgang's death, many Churches chose him as their Patron Saint, and various Towns were named after him.

In Christian art, he has been especially honoured by the great Mediaeval Tyrolean painter, Michael Pacher (1430–1498), who created an imperishable Memorial to him, the High Altar of Saint Wolfgang. In the Panel pictures, which are now exhibited in the Old Pinakothek, at Munich, are depicted in an artistic manner the chief events in the Saint's life.

The oldest portrait of Saint Wolfgang is a Miniature, painted about the year 1100, in the celebrated Evangeliary of Saint Emmeram, now in the Library of the Castle Cathedral at Kraków.

A fine modern picture, by Schwind, is in the Schack Gallery, at Munich. This painting represents the Legend of Wolfgang forcing the devil to help him to build a Church.



English: The High Altar, in Saint Wolfgang Parish Church,
Salzkammergut, Austria, was created by Michael Pacher in 1481.
The Paintings, on the Side Panels, were painted by Alois Hänisch (1866-1937).
Deutsch: Blick auf den Pacheraltar in Hl. Wolfgang,
Salzkammergut, Österreich.
Date: 1910.
Source/Photographer: Dorotheum.
(Wikimedia Commons)


In other paintings, he is generally depicted in Episcopal Dress, an axe in the Right Hand and the Crozier in the Left-Hand, or as a Hermit in the wilderness, being discovered by a hunter.

The axe refers to an incident in the Life of the Saint. After having selected a solitary spot in the wilderness, he Prayed and then threw his axe into the thicket; the spot on which the axe fell he regarded as the place where God intended he should build his Cell. This axe is still shown in the little Market Town of Saint Wolfgang, which sprang up on the spot of the old Cell.

Saint Wolfgang is sometimes counted among the Fourteen Holy Helpers.



English: Saint Wolfgang High Altar, by Michael Pacher (1481), (Detail),
Salzkammergut Parish Church, Austria. The Coronation of The Virgin Mary in Heaven.
Deutsch: Pfarrkirche Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut (Oberösterreich).
Hochaltar (1481) von Michael Pacher: Marienkrönung.
Photo:18 August 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: Wolfgang Sauber.
(Wikimedia Commons)


At the request of the Abbey of Saint Emmeram, the Life of Saint Wolfgang was written by Otloh, a Benedictine Monk of Saint Emmeram, about 1050. This Life is especially important for the Early Mediaeval history, both of the Church and of civilisation in Bavaria and Austria, and it forms the basis of all later accounts of the Saint.

The oldest and best Manuscript, of this Life (Vita), is in the Library of Einsiedeln Abbey, in Switzerland (MS. No. 322), and has been printed, with critical notes, in Mon. Germ. His.: Script., IV, 524-542.


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3 comments:

  1. Thanks again for another interesting and informative post. There seem to be quite a few Saints, notably from Germany and Eastern Europe, who have quite a big following in their home countries, but are virtually unknown here. It's always interesting to find out about a 'new' Saint, and, of course, great to be able to ask for their prayers when you do!

    The parish church in Tyrol is absolutely beautiful: I like the way that the artist has managed to decorate heavily yet retain a feeling of light an airiness within the building. It also occurred to me that a modest version of this might be achievable in many of our rather plain parish churches and do a great deal to beautify them. Much of the design involves repeated motifs, so in this age of laser-cut stencils (a la Banksy, et al.), elements such as the detailing round the arches could be done by someone with quite basic decorating skills, possibly parishioners themselves, and then commission an artist to add one or two high quality paintings as focal points (eg in the ceiling centre, apse or reredos). An interesting thought.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Matthaeus, for your welcome Comment.

    I agree. A modest version of the Tyrolean Church decoration, that you mentioned, would certainly enhance some of the modern-day Parish Churches in England.

    And what a marvellous opportunity for the laity's "Active Participation" !!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So perhaps it's time to get the paint pots out.

    ReplyDelete

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