Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gothard of Hildesheim, Bishop and Frederick the Wise, Ruler

Today, we commemorate Gothard of Hildesheim and Frederick the Wise. According to Wikipedia:

Gotthard was born in 960 at Reichersdorf (Ritenbach) near Niederaltaich in the diocese of Passau. His father was Ratmund, a vassal of the canons of Niederaltaich Abbey. Gotthard was educated at this place, studying the humanities as well as theology, under the guidance of a teacher named Uodalgisus.Gotthard then resided at the archiepiscopal court of Salzburg, where he served as an ecclesiastical administrator. After traveling in various countries, including Italy, Gotthard completed his advanced studies under the guidance of Liutfrid in the cathedral school at Passau. He then joined the canons at Niederaltaich in 990, and became their provost in 996. When Henry II of Bavaria decided to transform the chapter house of Niederaltaich into a Benedictine monastery, Gotthard remained, as a novice, and then became a monk in 990 under the abbot Ercanbert. In 993, he was ordained a priest, and also became a prior and rector of the monastic school. In 996, he was elected abbot and introduced the Cluniac reforms at Niederaltaich. He helped revive the Rule of St. Benedict, which then provided abbots for the abbeys of Tegernsee, Hersfeld and Kremsmünster to restore Benedictine observance, under the patronage of Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor. He became bishop of Hildesheim on December 2, 1022, being consecrated by Aribo, Archbishop of Mainz. During the fifteen years of his episcopal government, he won the respect of his clergy. Gotthard ordered the construction of some thirty churches. Despite his advanced age, he defended vigorously the rights of his diocese. After a brief sickness, he died on May 4, 1038.

According to Wikipedia:

Born in Torgau, he succeeded his father as elector in 1486; in 1502, he founded the University of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon taught. Frederick was among the princes who pressed the need of reform upon Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and in 1500 he became president of the newly-formed council of regency (Reichsregiment). Frederick was Pope Leo X's candidate for Holy Roman Emperor in 1519 — the pope had awarded him the Golden Rose of virtue on 3 September 1518 — but he helped secure the election of Charles V. Frederick ensured Luther would be heard before the Diet of Worms in 1521 and subsequently secured an exemption from the Edict of Worms for Saxony. By 1518 Frederick's castle church contained 17,443 holy relics, including a piece of Moses' burning bush, parts of the holy cradle and swaddling clothes, thirty-five fragments of the true cross, and the Virgin Mary's milk. A diligent and pious person who rendered appropriate devotion to each of these relics could earn 1,902,202 years of absolution from unrepented sins (time otherwise spend in purgatory). He protected Martin Luther from the Pope's enforcement of the edict by faking a highway attack on Luther's way back to Wittenberg, and hid him at Wartburg Castle following the Diet of Worms. Frederick died unmarried at Langau, near Annaberg, in 1525 and was buried in the Schlosskirche at Wittenberg with a grave by Peter Vischer the Younger. He was succeeded by his brother Duke John the Constant as Elector of Saxony.

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