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Willehad of Bremen, St.


Missionary bishop of Bremen; b. Northumbria, England, c. 735; d. Blexen, Germany, Nov. 8, 789. An Anglo-Saxon, he worked from c. 765 as a missionary in Frisia and from 780 in the region of the lower Weser on commission from charlemagne. Expelled as a result of the Saxon uprising of 782, he went to Rome to report on his work and then retired into the monastery of echternach. After the subjection and baptism of widukind, Willehad returned to his Saxon mission area, and in 787 he was made bishop of Bremen. He is buried in the cathedral, which he consecrated shortly before his death. His vita was written after 838 in Echternach; but it was wrongly ascribed by Adam of Bremen to ansgar, author of the Miracula Willehadi.

Feast: Nov. 8.

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum (Paris 1863) 3:835851. j. metzler, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. m. buchberger (Freiburg 193038) 10:917918. c. e. carstens, Allgemeine deutsche Biographie (Leipzig 18751910) 43:262263. h. lÖwe, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Tübingen 195765) 6:1719. h. wiedemann, Die Sachsenbekehrung (Münster 1932). g. niemeyer, "Die Herkunft der Vita Willehadi," Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters (Cologne-Graz 1956) 1735. u. chevalier, Répertoire des sources historique du moyen-âge 2:477172. The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 4:297298.

[l. kurras]

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