Political and Ecclesiastical Engagement of the Franciscan Henry from Bremen (1240–1304
Działalność polityczno-kościelna franiszkanina Henryka Wettyna z Breny (1240– 1302)
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Henry was a son of Teodoryk I and Eudoksja, who was a doughter of prince Konrad Mazowiecki. Since his early years he was predestinated to become a priest. In 1264 (27 IV) he appeared as a canon of the cathedral chapter in Magdeburg. Nonetheless, in those years, the decision to enter the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans), which existed for only half a year, has grown on him, and he accomplished this in 1269, at most. Before 1276, he arrived in Silesia, to Wroclaw, where he settled in a local Franciscan monastery, dedicated to St. Jacob, with which he remained associated for the next quarter of a century – for the rest of his life. Ancestral alliances and the position of Henry from Bremen resulted in him playing a crucial role in the shaping of political events in this region, during the discussed time period. He was a legate of Rudolf I of Habsburg, who has ascended the throne in 1273, and who, in the face of an inevitable confrontation with Ottokar II of Bohemia, was striving towards pulling-back Polish and Russian cardinals from cooperating with Ottokar. Pope Martin IV, after consulting curial cardinals beforehand, has established him as a new metropolitan of a Polish ecclesiastical province on the 23rd XII 1281. Henry has resigned this nomination. During the time of conflict between the ruler of Wroclaw and the local bishop Thomas II, Henry from Bremen has stood assiduously by the prince’s side. For some time, he has even played the role of a substitute pope legate of Philip. When in spring 1284 the Wroclaw prince has been, once again, excommunicated by Thomas II, along with the entire Wroclaw Franciscan convent of St. Jacob and numerous other clergies, he has stood for the insignificancy of the curse, defending the position of a prince. As a result of this, he was also met with ecclesiastical censorship. One can also see, in him, the main initiator of the secession of eight Silesian Friars Minor ministries, which was effectuated during that time, and which wilfully split-off from the Polish-Czech province and joined the Saxon province. During the next years, the political activity of Henry from Bremen has clearly gone weaker. However, he was active in the monastic realm, among others, as a counsellor and inspector of the Wroclaw Poor Clares convent. He passed away in 1302 and was buried in the nether regions of the St. Jacob monastic church in Wroclaw.
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