Unni of Hamburg, St.
UNNI OF HAMBURG, ST.
Monk of corvey, archbishop of Bremen-Hamburg, d. Björkä, Sweden, Sept. 17, 936. In 917 when Leidrad, who had been elected archbishop of Hamburg by the cathedral chapter, went to the royal court, Unni (or Wimo), who was then a simple monk, accompanied him. But it was Unni, rather than Leidrad, who actually received the high archiepiscopal dignity from King Conrad. Unni preserved the status quo of Christianity in the north through war against pagan Hungarians, Wends, and Danes. With the German victory over the Danes in Schleswig, Unni united under himself those Christians surviving in Denmark and Sweden who had been converted by ansgar and rembert. He gained the favor of Harold Bluetooth
of Denmark and his mother Thyra, though not that of the father, the fierce King Gorm, persecutor of Christians, who was defeated by Emperor Henry I. Harold, not yet baptized, granted Christians his protection; churches were given priests, and the number of Christians increased. Unni journeyed to the East Danish islands, and made mission trips among the Goths and Northmen; he died during his first missionary visit to the Swedish trading town of Björkä on Lake Mälar where he revived the old Christian communities. He was buried in Björkä but his head was brought back to St. Peter's church in Bremen. His relics are now at Corvey, where a statue was erected in his honor.
Feast: Sept. 17.
Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum Oct. 9:373–396. a. m. zimmermann, Kalendarium Benedictinum: Die Heiligen und Seligen des Benediktinerorderns und seiner Zweige, 4 v. (Metten 1933–38) 3:64–68. adam of bremen, History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen, tr. f. j. tschan (New York 1959).