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July 2

Saint Otto of Bamberg July 2

​Saint Otto of Bamberg

Bishop, Apostle of Pomerania

(Around 1060 – 1139)

“Far be it from me to consume in one day so much money. Go, take this fish to a poor or sick man; I, who am yet strong, can content myself with a piece of bread.

Saint Otto of Bamberg – after a costly fish was placed on his table

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life From Priest to Chancellor

Otto was born around 1060 in Miselbach, Swabia (Germany) to a noble family. He was ordained priest, but where Otto was educated is not known. While still young, Otto joined the household of Duke Wladislaw of Poland. In 1090, he entered the service of Emperor Henry IV.  About 1101, Otto was made chancellor. In 1102, the emperor appointed Otto as Bishop of Bamberg, in Franconia (now in the state of Bavaria). 

Otto became one of the leading princes of medieval Germany. He consolidated his widely scattered territories and during his tenure as bishop, Bamberg rose to great prominence.

Bishop of Bamberg – Diplomat and Negotiator

On May 13, 1106, Otto received the pallium from Pope Paschal II. He achieved fame as diplomat and politician, notably during the Investiture Controversy between the emperor and the papacy. It was Bishop Otto, substituting the imprisoned archbishop Adalbert of Mainz, who clothed Hildegard of Bingen as a Benedictine nun at Disibodenberg Abbey about 1112.

Otto remained loyal to the Imperial court and, as a consequence, was suspended by a papal party at the Synod of Fritzlar in 1118. At the Congress of Würzburg in 1121, Otto successfully negotiated the peace treaty, the Concordat of Worms, which was signed in 1122. In the 1130s, he continued to arbitrate between Emperor Lothair of Supplinburg and the rising Hohenstaufens.

Cathedral, Schools, Monasteries and Churches

As bishop, Otto led a model, simple and frugal life. However, he did much to improve his ecclesiastical and temporal realms. Otto restored and completed Bamberg Cathedral after it had been damaged by fire in 1081, improved the cathedral school, established numerous monasteries and built a number of churches throughout his territory. Otto greatly expanded the town of Bamberg, rebuilding the Monastery of St. Michael, which had been destroyed by an earthquake around 1117.

His Accomplishments

Among his great accomplishments was his peaceful and successful missionary work among the Pomeranians, after several previous forcible attempts by the Polish rulers and the Spanish bishop Bernard to convert Pomerania to Christianity had failed. Otto was sent on his first mission by the Polish duke Bolesław III Wrymouth in 1124. As the official papal legate, he converted a large number of Pomeranians, notably in the towns of Pyrzyce, Kamień, Szczecin, and Wolin, and established eleven churches, and became known as the “Apostle of Pomerania.” Otto converted and baptized 22,165 pagans.

After he returned to Bamberg in 1125, some pagan customs began to reassert themselves, and Otto journeyed once more to Pomerania in 1128. In the Diet of Usedom, he succeeded in converting all the nobles, converted further communities, and sent priests from Bamberg to serve in Pomerania. His intent to consecrate a bishop for Pomerania was thwarted by the bishops of Magdeburg and Gniezno who claimed metropolitan rights over Pomerania. Only after his death in 1139 was his former companion, Adalbert of Pomerania, consecrated as Bishop of Wolin, in 1140.

His Death

Otto’s tomb in the Michaelsberg Abbey Church

Otto died on June 30, 1139, and was buried in Michaelsberg Abbey, Bamberg. He was canonized in 1189 by Pope Clement III. Although Otto died on June 30, his name is recorded in the Roman martyrology on July 2.

Beatified:           Not Available

Canonized:        1189 by Pope Clement III

Feast Day:         July 2

Patron Saint:    Against Rabies, Against Mad Dogs

Source:

Reflection

Take notice of the fact, that the more Saint Otto spent for the poor and the honor of God, the more he miraculously received from the Almighty. God keeps the promise He made when He said: “Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over shall they give into your bosom.” Why then do you fear to lose when you contribute something for the building or adorning of a church, or for the comfort of the poor, or for some other charitable purpose? Do you not then believe your God rather than Satan, who endeavors to convince you of the contrary?

How can you today manifest your faith by your works? 

Source:

Prayers

Saint Otto of Bamberg, just as you refused to be appointed bishop by the emperor and demonstrated your obedience to the Church by becoming bishop only after the Pope consecrated you, may you intercede for all of us who serve both country and Church. Show us, O Lord, how to find the holy way to satisfy the needs of both State and Church. May we always put You above everything else serving you in all that we do.

Saint Otto of Bamberg, pray for us. Amen.

Source: Saint Otto of Bamberg – Prayers with Saints – Good News Ministries (gogoodnews.net)

Saint Links 

All Saint & Martyrs – Saint Otto of Bamberg – Bishop of Bamberg

America Needs Fatima – Saint Otto of Bamberg

Catholic News Agency – St. Otto, Bishop

Catholic News Herald – St. Otto, beloved bishop, Feast day: July 2

Catholic Online – St. Otto of Bamberg

CatholicSaints.info – Saint Otto of Bamberg

New Advent – St. Otto

Wikipedia – Otto of Bamberg

Video Link

St. Otto of Bamberg – YouTube (St. Malachy Catholic Church)