1225: A Saint Killed by his own Cousin

1225: A Saint Killed by his own Cousin
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Story Highlights

  • historical event: Supposedly, as many as 47 wounds were found on the body of St. Engelbert . Count Friedrich von Isenberg either personally attacked his saint cousin or ordered his murder.

On this day St. Engelbert of Berg died a martyr’s death. This happened during the interesting 13th century – the time of the rise of medieval Europe. At that time, the population of Europe grew at an enviable speed, numerous castles were built, and new cities founded. It was the time of St. Francis of Assisi and the famous German chivalric poet Walther von der Vogelweide. The climate was favorable, and there was no Mongol invasions yet, and the plague that will cause a tremendous blow to Europe later was yet to come.

St. Englebert was a member of the powerful German family of the Counts of Berg. He was educated as a priest. Even before he turned 18, he was elected Bishop of Munster, but refused because of his young age. Thirteen years later, he was elected Archbishop of Cologne. This time he accepted the position and thus became one of the highest German prelates.

St. Engelbert was personally devout and strongly supported his archdiocese, defending its rights in relation to those of the surrounding feudal lords. The Cologne archdiocese became a powerful regional state under his leadership.

On the eve of this day in 1225, St. Engelbert defended the nuns of Essen Abbey. Namely, the nuns were troubled by none other than St. Engelbert’s own cousin – Count Friedrich von Isenberg. There was a dispute between the two cousins, and St. Engelbert was murdered. His death was declared a martyrs death, precisely because he defended the nuns. His cousin either personally attacked the saint or ordered his murder. Supposedly, as many as 47 wounds were found on the body of St. Engelbert.

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