Bruno of Querfurt, St.
BRUNO OF QUERFURT, ST.
Bishop, monk, martyr; b. Saxony, c. 970; d. Prussia, Feb. 14, 1009. Born into the family of the feudal lords of Querfurt in Saxony, he was educated at the cathedral school at Magdeburg under the care of St. Adalbert, first archbishop of Magdeburg and missionary to the Slavs. A man of piety and ability, Bruno, who took the monastic name Boniface, was made a canon of the Magdeburg cathedral while still young and was attached to the court of the Emperor Otto III, his close friend and, possibly, his relative. In 996 he accompanied the emperor to Rome, where he met adalbert of prague and became closely associated with the Benedictine Abbey of SS. Alexius and Boniface. After Adalbert's martyrdom, Bruno decided to follow in his steps and to dedicate his life to missionary work among the Slavs and the Baltic peoples. He entered monastic life under the guidance of St. romu ald, founder of the camaldolese, at the monastery of Pereum, near Ravenna. Pope Sylvester II, the Emperor Otto III, and Romuald all supported his missionary plans. In 1004, after having been consecrated archiepiscopus gentium and having received the pallium, Bruno was ready to begin his mission, but the war between Boleslas I of Poland and Emperor Henry II, Otto's successor, forced him to divert his activities temporarily to Hungary and later, in 1007, to Kievan Russia, where the ruler Vladimir welcomed him. He worked for several months among the heathen Patzinaks in the steppes between the Don and the Danube. In 1008 Bruno went to Poland and there wrote a letter to the emperor, trying to bring peace between the Poles and the Germans. At the end of the same year he and 18 missionaries went across the Polish border into the country of the Prussians, where he met a martyr's death with all his companions. The bodies of the martyrs were ransomed by Boleslas of Poland. Bruno was an outstanding hagiographer, author of a life of Adalbert of Prague, and of the martyrdom of the so-called Five Polish Brothers, a group of two Camaldolese monks and their Polish companions, slain by the heathens near Gniezno, Poland, in 1003.
Feast: June 19 (as St. Boniface) and Oct. 15 (St. Bruno).
Bibliography: thietmar of merseburg, Chronicon, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum Germanicarum, NS9. h. g. voigt, B. von Q. Cambridge History of Poland, ed. w. f. reddaway et al., 2 v. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 2:585–586. f. dvornik, The Making of Central and Eastern Europe.
[o. p. sherbowitz-wetzor]