The Czech Premyslid Prince, patron of the Czech lands, a martyr, a figure whose tradition played a very important role during emancipation of the Czech state and the Premyslid Dynasty within the terms of Christian Europe.
Practically no reliable documents have been preserved concerning the life of Saint Wenceslas. Not even his dates of birth or death are certain.
Prince Wenceslas was the son of Prince Vratislav I. and his wife Princess Drahomira. His grandparents were the Premyslid Prince Bořivoj I. and his wife Saint Ludmilla. Vratislav I. died in 921 and his son Wenceslas became the successor to the Czech throne. Because he was only 14 years old at the time his mother Drahomira ruled for a short period on his behalf. However, Wenceslas himself began to rule in 922. From its beginning the period of Wenceslas’ rule is distinguished by his support of the Christian Church and additional reinforcement of the power of the Premyslid family in Czech lands. His brother, Boleslav, was not happy with this situation. Conflict arose between the brothers which culminated when Wenceslas was invited to the consecration of the church in Boleslav, where the Czech prince was murdered on the morning of 28th September 935 (older literature gives the year as 929). After his bother’s death Boleslav assumed power and murdered all of Wenceslas’ political supporters. But only three years later he regretted his actions and in 972 he had the first church devoted to Saint Wenceslas built in Prosek by Prague.
Prince Wenceslas was very educated for his time and in spite of his age he was a distinguished politician, statesman and was also well known for his piety. An altar has been devoted to him in the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican since the beginning of the 14th century. The 28th September, the day Prince Wenceslas was murdered, is celebrated in the Czech Republic as Saint Wenceslas Day and is a state holiday.
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