Otto of Bamberg, St.
OTTO OF BAMBERG, ST.
Bishop, Apostle of Pomerania; b. Swabia, Germany, 1060–62; d. Bamberg, June 30, 1139. Born of a noble family, Otto received a thorough education. In 1088 he was appointed chaplain to the court of Duchess Judith of Poland, the sister of Emperor henry iv. He was sent on diplomatic missions to the court of the emperor and was given the task of supervising the construction of the cathedral of speyer.
Early in 1102 he was made chancellor to Henry IV, and on Dec. 25, 1102, was appointed bishop of Bamberg. Because of controversies between Henry IV, henry v, and the metropolitans of Mainz, Otto was not consecrated bishop until May 13, 1106, at Anagni by Pope paschal ii. He prudently avoided taking sides in the continuing political and ecclesiastical conflicts in the empire and tried to act as mediator between the groups. When Henry V went to Rome to be crowned emperor in 1110–11, Otto accompanied him and received the pallium on April 15, 1111, probably because of his success as a mediator. He also took an essential part in preparing the Concordat of worms (1122). For many years he directed a great number of activities in his diocese: he rebuilt the cathedral, which had been destroyed by fire; he improved the cathedral school, founded new parishes, and built many churches and hospitals. In a well-balanced policy, he fortified the territory of the Diocese of Bamberg (by building castles) and enlarged it through new acquisitions.
He especially favored monasticism, founding or renovating about 30 monasteries and giving them to Benedictines of the Hirsau Congregation, to premonstratensians, and to cistercians. He limited the power of the district rulers. Otto's two missions to Pomerania (1124–25 and 1128), where he established and organized the Church, won for him the title of Apostle of the Pomeranians. He is buried in the abbey of Michelsberg near Bamberg. Canonized in 1189 by Pope clement iii, he is venerated especially in the territory and monasteries of the Diocese of Bamberg.
Feast: July 2 (Roman martyrology), Sept. 30 (Bamberg), Oct. 1 (Pomerania).
Bibliography: e. von guttenberg, ed., Das Bistum Bamberg, v. 1.1 of Die Bistümer der Kirchenprovinz Mainz (Germania Sacra 2; Berlin 1937) 115–138. j. braun, Tracht und Attribute der Heiligen in der deutschen Kunst (Stuttgart 1943). j. kist, Fürst-und Erzbistum Bamberg (Bamberg 1962). h. christ, in 900 Jahre Speyerer Dom (Speyer 1961) 110–122. j. petersohn, Baltische Studien NF 49 (1962–63) 19–38. d. andernacht, Die Biographien Ottos von Bamberg (Unpub. diss., Frankfurt a. M. 1950). w. dziewulski, "Stasunek Ottona Bamberskiego … ," in Zapiski historyczne 23 (Toruń) 119–140. k. liman, Dialog Herborda: ze studiów historycznoliterackich nad biografia lacinska XII wieku (Poznan 1975); Studia historyczno-literackie nad zywotami biskupa Ottona z Bambergu (Poznan 1966). Bischof Otto I. von Bamberg: Beginn der Christianisierung des Peenegebietes, ed. n. buske, g. ott and j. wÄchter (Greifswald 1977). g. bojar-fijalkowski, Swiety Otton z Bambergu (Warsaw 1986).