Vicelinus of Oldenburg, St.

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Missionary bishop, apostle of the Wends; b. Hameln, Germany, ca. 1086; d. Neumünster monastery, Holstein, Germany, 1154. Vicelinus was a canon and teacher at Bremen and then a student for three years at Laon, France; he returned to Germany ca. 1126 and was ordained by norbert of xanten. He immediately began his life's work: the evangelization of the Slavs of Holstein. His progress was closely dependent on German political and colonial penetration into this region. At Neumünster on the German-Wendish border, his customary residence, he established a house of canons regular of st. augustine where Helmold was one of his pupils. He made other foundations at Högersdorf and Segeburg. On Sept. 25, 1149, Vicelinus became bishop of Oldenburg, an abandoned see beyond the German frontier. Unable to take possession permanently, he labored instead in Bosau (Holstein) for two years, then returned to Neumünster where he died after a long illness. Despite his eloquence and zeal, his work enjoyed little apparent success.

Feast: Dec. 12.

Bibliography: helmoldus, The Chronicle of the Slavs, tr. f.j. tschan (New York 1935; repr. New York 1966). a. hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, 5 v. (9th ed. Berlin-Leipzig 1958) v.4. f. dvornik, The Slavs: Their Early History and Civilization (Boston 1956).

[r. h. schmandt]