Some Awesome People

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

St. Stanislaus

(1030-1079)


Feastday: April 11


Anyone who reads the history of Eastern Europe cannot help but chance on the name of Stanislaus, the saintly but tragic bishop of Kraków, patron of Poland. He is remembered with Saints Thomas More and Thomas Becket for vigorous opposition to the evils of an unjust government.

Born in Szczepanow near Kraków on July 26, 1030, he was ordained a priest after being educated in the cathedral schools of Gniezno, then capital of Poland, and at Paris. He was appointed preacher and archdeacon to the bishop of Kraków, where his eloquence and example brought about real conversion in many of his penitents, both clergy and laity. He became bishop of Kraków in 1072.

During an expedition against the Grand Duchy of Kiev, Stanislaus became involved in the political situation of Poland. Known for his outspokenness, he aimed his attacks at the evils of the peasantry and the king, especially the unjust wars and immoral acts of King Boleslaus II.

Silver sarcophagus of St. Stanislaus in the Wawel Cathedral


Stanislaus had opposed the king before for his tyrannical ways and once confronted him boldly for his immoral behavior when Boleslaus had abducted the wife of a Polish nobleman and carried her off to his castle. No one seemed willing to face the king from a fear of his rage, but Stanislaus boldly went to the king and threatened excommunication if he did not change his ways. The king first excused himself, then made a show of penance, then relapsed into his old ways. Stanislaus continued his open opposition in spite of charges of treason and threats of death, finally excommunicating the king. Furious, the king promised revenge on the bishop. Later, Stanislaus sided with the nobles in their opposition to the king's political policies, and the king accused him of being a traitor and condemned him to death.

 The king, enraged, ordered soldiers to kill the bishop. When they refused, the king killed him with his own hands. Forced to flee to Hungary, Boleslaus supposedly spent the rest of his life as a penitent in the Benedictine abbey in Osiak.


Sancte Stanislae, ora pro nobis!




King Boleslaw killing the bishop during Holy Mass


http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1350
http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?id=102

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