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St. Vicelinus



Bishop of Oldenburg, apostle of Holstein, b. at Hameln about 1086; d. 12 Dec., 1154. Orphaned at an early age, he received his primary education at Hameln. He left secretly for Paderborn, where he enjoyed the home and instructions of Hartmann, and soon surpassed his companions and assisted in the management of the cathedral school. He was called to Bremen to act as teacher and principal of the school, and was offered a canonry by Archbishop Frederic. In 1122 he went to Laon in France to complete his studies (Hauck, "Kirchengesch. Deutschl.", Leipzig, 1903, IV, 600); this is doubted by Schirren (Beitrage zur Kritik alterer holst. Geschichte, 1876, 38). On his return he was ordained priest by St. Norbert of Magdeburg. Archbishop Adalben sent him among the Wends, and in the fall of 1126 Henry, Prince of the Obotrites, gave him a church in Lubeck. At the death of Henry (22 March, 1127) Vicelinus returned to Bremen, and was appointed pastor at Wippenthorp. This gave him an opportunity to work among the Holstians and neighbouring Slavs. His preaching gathered crowds of eager listeners, and many priests aided him in founding the monastery of Neumunster, according to the Rule of St. Augustine, which was liberally endowed by the archbishop. Wars among the tribes in 1137 caused the missionaries to abandon their labours for two years. Vicelinus sent two priests to Lubeck, but with little success. At his suggestion King Lothair intended to build a fortress and monastery at Segeburg, but death prevented him. Some years later Vicelinus established a house at Hogersdorf. In 1149 he was made Bishop of Oldenburg, where he did much for the spiritual and temporal welfare of his diocese. In 1152 he was struck by paralysis and lingered amid much suffering for two years. His body was transferred to Bordesholm in 1332, and buried before the main altar. In 1874 the small Catholic parish at Hameln had his picture engraved on a new bell. He is usually represented with a church resting on his left arm; his feast is celebrated on 12 Dec.

KREUSCH, Kirchengesch. Der Wendenlande (Paderborn, 1902), 35; STRUNCK, Leben der Heiligen Westfalens, I (Munster, 1863), 123; HELMODI, Chron. Slav.; Bibl. Hag. Lat., II, 1236.

FRANCIS MERSHMAN








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