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JPII and St. Nicholas

Friday, December 27, 2013

JPII and "Good King Wenceslaus"

"Slavorum Apostoli" chronicles the missionary journey of Sts. Cyril and Methodius through the territory of the Slavs in Eastern Europe. Much like the brief mentioning of St. Nicholas in the same document, JPII gives a mere 'shout-out" to Wenceslaus, the Duke of Bohemia:

 Wenceslas

About 905-906 the Latin Rite took the place of the Slav Rite and Bohemia was assigned ecclesiastically to the Bishop of Regensburg and the metropolis of Salzburg. However, it is worthy of note that about the middle of the tenth century, at the time of Saint Wenceslaus, there was still a strong intermingling of the elements of both rites, and an advanced coexistence of both languages in the liturgy: Slavonic and Latin. Moreover, the Christianization of the people was not possible without using the native language. And only upon such a foundation could the development of the Christian terminology in Bohemia take place, and from here, subsequently, the development and consolidation of ecclesiastical terminology in Poland (#23).

As I said, much like St. Nicholas, JPII uses Wenceslaus as a unitive figure or landmark in the evangelization of the Slavic peoples. He represents an infiltration of the Gospel into the language, hierarchy, and customs of the Slavs, to such an extent that royalty even identifies with the language and message of Cyril and Methodius. Only a century after the Saints evangelized the region, Wenceslaus and others fully incorporated the life of Christ in the day to day, to the point of shedding their blood for Him.

In regard to Christmas, St. Wenceslaus is famous for the following line from "Good King Wenceslaus":

Good King Wenceslaus looked out on the feast of Stephen! (Dec 26th)

Merry Christmas!
С Рождеством

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