St. Henry II (Emperor)

The son of the Duke of Bavaria (a region of southern Germany), St. Henry (973-1024) was educated by the Bishop of Ratisbon, St. Wolfgang, and in 995 he succeeded his father as duke. Otto III, the Holy Roman Emperor (ruler of Germany and northern Italy), was his cousin, and upon Otto’s death in 1002, Henry was elected to succeed him (though he wasn’t officially crowned as emperor by the pope until 1014).

Throughout his reign Henry sought to strengthen the German monarchy and to help reform and reorganize the Church. He built a cathedral in Bamberg, which later became an important religious site; he established monasteries, arranged for the care of the poor, and supported the religious reforms of his friend St. Odilo of Cluny and the other monks of the monastery at Cluny in France. Henry was particularly active in promoting Benedictine monasticism following his miraculous cure from illness at the Benedictine abbey of Monte Cassino in Italy. In all these activities Henry was supported by his wife, St. Cunegund. St. Henry was a great ruler and an example of a Christian statesman and soldier; he died in 1024, and was canonized in 1146.

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Mildred (700), Abbess