Saturday, October 16, 2021

Saint Henry II – Feast Day – July 13

Saint Henry II was also known as Saint Henry the Exuberant, Good King Henry, or Heinrich, the Duke of Bavaria. He was born on May 6 973 AD at Albach, Hildesheim, Bavaria, Germany and died, without an heir, on July 13 1024 at Pfalz Grona, near Gottingen, Saxony, Germany. He was the Duke of Bavaria and a Holy Roman Emperor. His feast day is celebrated as an optional memorial on July 13 every year in the Catholic Church.

Saint Henry II Biography

Saint Henry II

Date of Birth May 6 973 AD
Place of Birth Albach, Hildesheim, Bavaria, Germany
Profession Duke of Bavaria and a Holy Roman Emperor
Place of Work Germany
Date of Death July 13 1024
Place of Death Pfalz Grona, near Gottingen, Saxony, Germany
Feast Day July 13
Canonization By Pope Blessed Eugene III in 1146
Patron Saint of
  • Physically challenged people
  • People rejected by religious orders
  • Kings
  • Handicapped people
  • Dukes
  • Disabled people
  • Diocese of Bamberg, Germany,
  • City of Bamberg, Germany
  • Childless people
  • Benedictine Oblates
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • Against sterility

Saint Henry II Short Life History

St Henry II’s father was Duke Henry II of Bavaria, his mother was Gisela of Burgundy, his grandfather was Duke Henry I of Bavaria, and his great-grandfather was King Henry I of Germany.

In 974 AD, St Henry’s father had a conflict with his cousin Holy Roman Emperor Otto II. His father claimed as his birthright and Otto II disputed each other’s claims to authority over the Duchy of Swabia: Henry claimed the duchy as his birthright the Duchy of Swabia while Emperor Otto II reiterated his right to name a duke of his choice. This conflict resulted in Emperor Otto II removing St Henry’s father as the Duke of Bavaria in April 978 and sent him into exile.

It is during this exile in Hildesheim that St Henry II got educated in the Christian faith by Bishop Wolfgang of Regensburg in the Hildesheim Cathedral.

After Emperor Otto II died in 983 AD, St Henry’s father was freed from exile and was restored as the Duke of Bavaria while St Henry II became his regent over Bavaria at only thirteen years old.

St Henry’s father died in 995 AD, and he took over the throne as the Duke of Bavaria. He married Cunigunde of Luxembourg in 999 AD.

After Emperor Otto III died in battle in 1001, St Henry wrestled with others who wanted to succeed Emperor Otto III, and succeeded to get hold of that Imperial power and became King of Germany.

On May 14 1004 in Pavia, St Henry II through a military exercise became the King of Italy and Archbishop Arnulf II crowned him as King of Italy. Therefore he became both the King of Germany and the King of Italy.

On February 14 1014, King Henry II arrived in Rome and the new Pope Benedict VIII crowned him as Holy Roman Emperor in St Peter’s Basilica. After these events, King Henry II and the pope began to reorganize the Catholic Church. They appointed five bishops, condemned simony, and issued decrees against it prompting the return of Church property. They also began the process of promoting chastity within the clergy. Later, Emperor Henry established the Diocese of Bobbio and then returned to Germany.

After many unsuccessful wars to capture the cities of Poland, Emperor Henry II finally agreed to sign a peace accord with Bolesław I Chrobry of Poland known as the Peace of Bautzen which marked the beginning of the end of the German-Polish wars.

In 1020, there was a rapid growth of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Empire) in southern Italy, and Pope who belonged to the Western Empire was worried that if the Eastern Empire continued to expand it would hurt the operations of the Church. St Henry came in handy with his army and helped quell the influence.

In 1004, St Henry II facilitated the reestablishment of The Diocese of Merseburg to resume its missionary work and appointed Thietmar of Merseburg as the Bishop.

St Henry II was very instrumental in facilitating the resolution of a conflict between the Archbishop of Mainz and the Bishop of Hildesheim who laid claim over the ownership of the Hildesheim Abbey and the authority to invest the Abbey’s nuns. Even though the conflict was not yet resolved by the time of his death in 1024, it was finally resolved in 1030 when the Bishop of Hildesheim was given the authority.

St Henry II founded the Kaufungen Abbey in May 1017. This was after he had vowed to construct one if his ailing wife, Empress Cunigunde got healed while staying at the imperial estates in Kaufungen. She recovered in 1018 and the construction started. This is the abbey that she went to stay in after her husband died in 1024. She remained there for sixteen years until her death in 1040.

Emperor Henry II was very supportive of the Church and monastic reforms where he championed clerical celibacy, founded charitable foundations for the poor, and fostered missionary activities. He gave land to the monasteries and dioceses in his Empire for the construction and establishment of Churches and monasteries.

It is said that St Henry II succeeded in convincing Pope Benedict VIII to include, in the Nicene Creed, the statement that the Holy Spirit came from both God the Father and God the Son.

St Henry was very pious but without a child and therefore wished to become a monk. He requested the Abbot of Verdun to accept him in his monastery but the abbot declined and told him to continue administering to the empire.

Saint Henry, successively Duke of Bavaria, King of Germany and Emperor, devoted himself to the spread of religion by rebuilding churches and founding monasteries.

Until the end of his life, he displayed the virtues of a great saint. Together with his wife, St. Cunegunda, he founded the bishopric of Bamberg and, at his death in 1024, was buried in the cathedral there; his holy wife was laid by his side fifteen years later.

St Henry II Birth

He was born on May 6 973 AD at Albach, Hildesheim, Bavaria, Germany

St Henry II Death

St Henry II suffered from a chronic, painful urinary infection in Bamberg while Returning to Magdeburg, Germany from southern Italy. He went to his imperial palace in Gottingen and died there on July 13 1024 at the age of 51.

His remains are interred at Bamberg Cathedral next to his wife.

Canonization

St Henry II was canonized by Pope Eugenius III in July 1146, while his wife, St Cunigunde of Luxembourg was canonized by Pope Innocent III on March 29 1200.

Saint Henry II Feast Day

His feast day is celebrated as an optional memorial on July 13 every year in the Catholic Church.

Saint Henry II is the Patron Saint of

  • Physically challenged people
  • People rejected by religious orders
  • Kings
  • Handicapped people
  • Dukes
  • Disabled people
  • Diocese of Bamberg, Germany,
  • City of Bamberg, Germany
  • Childless people
  • Benedictine Oblates
  • St Henry’s Marist Brothers’ College in Durban, South Africa
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • Against sterility

Attributes

  • Crown
  • Scepter
  • Globus cruciger and other parts of the imperial regalia

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