Adalbert of Magdeburg

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Adalbert of Magdeburg
Adalbert of Magdeburg.jpg
Holy Card for St. Adalbert of Magdeburg
Archbishop of Magdeburg and Abbot of Wissembourg
Bornc. 910
Alsace or Lorraine, France
Died20 June 981
Zscherben (contemporarily in (former) Geusa, in Merseburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany)
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
Feast20 June

Adalbert of Magdeburg, sometimes incorrectly shortened to "Albert" (c. 910 - 20 June 981), and known as the Apostle of the Slavs, was the first Archbishop of Magdeburg (from 968)[1] and a successful missionary to the Polabian Slavs to the east of what is contemporarily Germany. He was later canonised and his liturgical feast day was assigned as 20 June.


Adalbert was born c. 910, possibly in Alsace or Lorraine, France. He was a German monk at the Benedictine Monastery of St. Maximinus in Trier, Germany. He was consecrated a Roman Catholic bishop and in 961 was sent to Kievan Rus. Princess Olga of Kiev had asked Emperor Otto I (the Great) to provide her a missionary from the Roman Catholic Church,[2] her son, Svyatoslav opposed her and stole her crown in 961, just as Adalbert arrived in Kievan Rus. Adalbert's missionary companions were slain and Adalbert barely escaped. Kievan Rus subsequently was converted by missionaries from Constantinople and became part of Byzantine Christianity.

Upon escaping Kievan Rus, Adalbert traveled to the imperial court at Mainz, Germany, where he remained for four years, until he was named Abbot of Wissembourg in Alsace. There he worked to improve the education of the monks,[3] he later became the first Archbishop of Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, in contemporary Germany.[2]

The Archepiscopacies of Hamburg and Bremen had been established with the intention that they would serve as bases for missions in northern and eastern Europe; the Archdiocese of Magdeburg was designated to provide missionaries to the eastern European Slavs. [4] Adalbert also established dioceses for Naumburg; Meissen; Merseburg; Brandenburg; Havelberg; and Poznań, Poland, he died on 20 June 981[2] in Zscherben (contemporarily in (former) Geusa, in Merseburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany).

A student of Adalbert for some years named Wojciech Sławnikowic, who at his Confirmation took the very name of his tutor, went on from Adalbert's tutelage to successfully evangelize many Slavic peoples, receive the crown of martyrdom in Prussia, and was canonized as St. Adalbert of Prague. Evidently St. Adalbert of Magdeburg transmitted something of his wisdom, zeal, and own mission to his student, the younger St. Adalbert (of Prague).


  1. ^ Thorne, John; Collocott, T. C. (1990) [1964]. Chambers Biographical Dictionary. Edinburgh: Chambers. p. 7. ISBN 0-550-16041-8. OCLC 502219677.
  2. ^ a b c Campbell, Thomas. "St. Adalbert." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 25 Mar. 2015
  3. ^ Delaney, John J., "Adalbert of Magdeburg", Dictionary of Saints, Image/Doubleday, 2005 ISBN 9780385515207
  4. ^ "Adalbert of Magdeburg - Oxford Reference".
  • Attwater, Donald; John, Catherine Rachel (1995) [1965]. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints (3rd ed.). London: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-051312-4. OCLC 60310282.

External links[edit]

Adalbert, also Adalbertus, Adelbertus, and Albertus
Born: circa 910 in Lorraine, France Died: 20 June 981 in Zscherben (contemporarily in (former) Geusa, in Merseburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany)
New diocese Archbishop of Magdeburg
Succeeded by