Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry II also referred to as Saint Henry, Obl.S.B., was the fifth and last Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 of the Ottonian dynasty, from his coronation in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 in 1014 until his death a decade later. He was crowned King of the Germans in 1002 and King of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

 in 1004. He is the only King of Germany to have ever been canonized.

He was the son of Henry II, Duke of Bavaria
Henry II, Duke of Bavaria
Henry II , called the Wrangler or the Quarrelsome, in German Heinrich der Zänker, was the son of Henry I and Judith of Bavaria.- Biography :...

. As his father had rebelled against two previous emperors, he was often in exile. This led the younger Henry to turn to the Church at an early age, first finding refuge with the Bishop of Freising, and later being educated at the cathedral school of Hildesheim
Hildesheim is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located in the district of Hildesheim, about 30 km southeast of Hanover on the banks of the Innerste river, which is a small tributary of the Leine river...

. He succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria in 995 as Henry IV.

Disputed succession

Henry was on his way to Rome to save his beleaguered cousin the Emperor Otto III
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto III , a King of Germany, was the fourth ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire. He was elected King in 983 on the death of his father Otto II and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 996.-Early reign:...

 when the emperor died in January 1002. Knowing that opposition to his succession was strong, Henry quickly seized the royal insignia from his dead cousin's companions. Rival candidates for the throne — such as Ezzo of Lotharingia, Eckard I of Meissen
Eckard I, Margrave of Meissen
Eckard I was Margrave of Meissen from 985 until his death, the first margrave of the Ekkehardinger family that dominated Meissen until the extinction of the line in 1046.-Life:...

, and Herman II of Swabia
Herman II, Duke of Swabia
Herman II was the Conradine duke of Swabia from 997 to his death, as the son of and successor Conrad I.Herman opposed the election of Henry IV, Duke of Bavaria, as king of Germany because he himself had been a contender...

 — strongly contested Henry's succession, but with the aid of Willigis
Saint Willigis was Archbishop of Mainz from 975 until his death as well as a statesman of the Holy Roman Empire.-Life:...

, Archbishop of Mainz, he was able to secure his royal election and coronation on June 7, 1002 in Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, though it would be a year before he was universally recognized.

Henry spent the next several years consolidating his political power on his borders. He waged a campaign against Boleslaw I of Poland
Boleslaw I of Poland
Bolesław I Chrobry , in the past also known as Bolesław I the Great , was a Duke of Poland from 992-1025 and the first King of Poland from 19 April 1025 until his death...

 and then moved into the Kingdom of Italy to confront Arduin of Ivrea, who had been elected King of Italy by a faction opposed to Henry. Arduin had previously defeated a German army sent against him by Henry and commanded by Otto I of Carinthia. Now he tried to block the German king in the Adige valley
The Adige is a river with its source in the Alpine province of South Tyrol near the Italian border with Austria and Switzerland. At in length, it is the second longest river in Italy, after the River Po with ....

, as he had previously done with Otto, but Henry entered Italy at the Valsugana
The Sugana Valley is one of the most important valleys in the autonomous province of Trentino in Northern Italy. Leading into the Alps' foothills, an important main north-south Roman road, the Via Claudia Augusta, one of Europe's main roads since its construction in Antiquity, winds along the...

. Arduin's vassals fled in disarray at Henry's approach and their king was forced to return to the March of Ivrea
March of Ivrea
The March of Ivrea was a large frontier county in the northwest of the medieval Italian kingdom from the late 9th to the early 11th century. Its capital was Ivrea in present-day Piedmont, and it was held by a Burgundian family of margraves called the Anscarids...

. Henry occupied Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

 and was crowned rex Italiae (King of Italy) at Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 on May 15, 1004, by the Archbishop of Milan, Arnulf II
Arnulf II, Archbishop of Milan
Arnulf II was Archbishop of Milan from 998 to 1018.He descended from the noble family of Arsago, being the son of Dagibert of Arsago...

, with the famous Iron Crown
Iron Crown of Lombardy
The Iron Crown of Lombardy is both a reliquary and one of the most ancient royal insignia of Europe. The crown became one of the symbols of the Kingdom of Lombards and later of the medieval Kingdom of Italy...


War against Poland

After bloodily suppressing a revolt of the citizens of Pavia, Henry remained there until May 25, when, feeling that Italy could be considered settled, he decided to return to Germany through the Saint Gotthard Pass. From Germany he launched a second campaign against Boleslaw, allying with the pagan Liutitians against the Christian Poles. The expedition was unsuccessful and culminated in a lasting peace with the Poles in 1018 agreed to at Bautzen
Peace of Bautzen
The Peace of Bautzen or the Peace of Budziszyn was a treaty concluded on January 30, 1018 between the Ottonian Holy Roman Emperor Henry II and the Piast ruler of Poland Boleslaw I which ended a series of Polish-German wars over the control of Lusatia and Upper Lusatia as well as Bohemia,...

: Boleslaw retained Lusatia
Lusatia is a historical region in Central Europe. It stretches from the Bóbr and Kwisa rivers in the east to the Elbe valley in the west, today located within the German states of Saxony and Brandenburg as well as in the Lower Silesian and Lubusz voivodeships of western Poland...

 and Meissen (possibly as fiefs), but had to give up Bohemia, which he had recently conquered.

Rebellion of Arduin

Henry was called to Italy by the clergy for another campaign in 1013. Arduin had risen in revolt again. At first he tried to resist Henry from his palace in Ivrea
Ivrea is a town and comune of the province of Turin in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Situated on the road leading to the Aosta Valley , it straddles the Dora Baltea and is regarded as the centre of the Canavese area. Ivrea lies in a basin that, in prehistoric times, formed a great lake...

, but then resigned to become a monk. Subsequently Henry went straight to Rome, where Pope Benedict VIII
Pope Benedict VIII
Pope Benedict VIII , born Theophylactus, Pope from 1012 to 1024, of the noble family of the counts of Tusculum , descended from Theophylact, Count of Tusculum like his predecessor Pope Benedict VI .Benedict VIII was opposed by an antipope, Gregory...

 crowned him Holy Roman Emperor on February 14, 1014. He took his duties in Italy seriously and appointed German officials to administer the country. He returned in Germany in May.

Invasion of southern Italy

In 1020, the pope visited him at Bamberg
Bamberg is a city in Bavaria, Germany. It is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz, close to its confluence with the river Main. Bamberg is one of the few cities in Germany that was not destroyed by World War II bombings because of a nearby Artillery Factory that prevented planes from...

 and consecrated his new cathedral there. After settling some controversies with the bishops of Mainz and Würzburg, Pope Benedict VIII convinced him to return to Italy for a third (and final) campaign to counter the growing power of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 in the south, where the Lombard princes had made submission to the Greeks. In 1022, he set out down the Adriatic coast for southern Italy commanding a large force. He sent Pilgrim, Archbishop of Cologne
Pilgrim, Archbishop of Cologne
Pilgrim was the archbishop of Cologne and archchancellor of Italy in the Holy Roman Empire, a dignity he obtained for all his successors....

, ahead with a slightly smaller army along the Tyrrhenian
Tyrrhenian may refer to the:* Tyrrhenian Stage, a faunal stage from 0.26 to 0.01143 million years ago* Tyrrhenians, an ancient ethnonym associated variously with Pelasgians, Etruscans or Lemnians* Tyrrhenian Sea* Tyrrhenian languages...

 littoral with the objective of subjugating the Principality of Capua
Principality of Capua
The Principality of Capua was a Lombard state in Southern Italy, usually de facto independent, but under the varying suzerainty of Western and Eastern Roman Empires. It was originally a gastaldate, then a county, within the principality of Salerno....

. A third army, smaller still, under the command of Poppo, Patriarch of Aquileia
Poppo, Patriarch of Aquileia
Poppo of Treffen was the fifty-seventh patriarch of Aquileia from 1019 to 1045.In 1020, Poppo commanded the smallest of three armies which Emperor Henry II led through Italy. Poppo followed the Apennines and joined the other divisions to besiege Troia, the new fortress of the Byzantine catepan...

, went through the Apennines
Apennine mountains
The Apennines or Apennine Mountains or Greek oros but just as often used alone as a noun. The ancient Greeks and Romans typically but not always used "mountain" in the singular to mean one or a range; thus, "the Apennine mountain" refers to the entire chain and is translated "the Apennine...

 to join Henry in besieging the Byzantine fortress of Troia. Pilgrim did capture Pandulf IV of Capua
Pandulf IV of Capua
Pandulf IV was the Prince of Capua on three separate occasions.From February 1016 to 1022 he ruled in association with his cousin Pandulf II. In 1018, the Byzantine catapan Boiannes destroyed the Lombard army of Melus of Bari and his Norman allies at Cannae...

 and extract oaths of allegiance from both Capua and the Principality of Salerno
Principality of Salerno
The Lombard Principality of Salerno was a South Italian state, centered on the port city of Salerno, formed in 851 out of the Principality of Benevento after a decade-long civil war....

, but all three divisions failed to take Troia. Henry almost executed the treacherous prince of Capua, but relented at the last moment at Pilgrim's pleading and instead sent him off to Germany in chains and appointed Pandulf of Teano
Pandulf V of Capua
Pandulf V was the count of Teano and prince of Capua . That he was related to the ruling dynasty of Capua seems likely, but is uncertain. He was installed at Capua by Pilgrim, Archbishop of Cologne, who besieged Capua and deposed the current prince, Pandulf IV was imprisoned in Germany...

 to replace him as prince. Though his main objective had been missed, Henry left the south in the knowledge that western imperial authority still extended that far. On his return journey, he attended a synod at Pavia where he advocated Church reform.

Ecclesiastical politics

Henry's most significant contributions as emperor came in the realm of church-state relations and ecclesiastic administration within the Empire. He supported the bishops against the monastic clergy and aided them in establishing their temporal rule over broad territories. He strongly enforced clerical celibacy
Clerical celibacy
Clerical celibacy is the discipline by which some or all members of the clergy in certain religions are required to be unmarried. Since these religions consider deliberate sexual thoughts, feelings, and behavior outside of marriage to be sinful, clerical celibacy also requires abstension from these...

 in order that the public land and offices he granted the church would not be passed on to heirs. This ensured that the bishops remained loyal to him, from whom they received their power, and provided a powerful bulwark against rebellious nobles and ambitious family members. Henry founded the Diocese of Bamberg, which quickly became a center of scholarship and art, in 1007.

Henry had been working with the pope to call a Church Council to confirm his new system of politico-ecclesiastical control when he died suddenly in 1024, leaving this work unfinished. Henry and his wife, Cunigunde of Luxemburg
Cunigunde of Luxemburg
Saint Cunigunde of Luxembourg, O.S.B. , also called Cunegundes and Cunegonda, was the wife of the Holy Roman Emperor Saint Henry II. She is the Patroness of Luxembourg; her feast day is 3 March....

, had no children, because they had taken a mutual vow
A vow is a promise or oath.-Marriage vows:Marriage vows are binding promises each partner in a couple makes to the other during a wedding ceremony. Marriage customs have developed over history and keep changing as human society develops...

 of chastity
Chastity refers to the sexual behavior of a man or woman acceptable to the moral standards and guidelines of a culture, civilization, or religion....


He became an oblate
An oblate spheroid is a rotationally symmetric ellipsoid having a polar axis shorter than the diameter of the equatorial circle whose plane bisects it. Oblate spheroids stand in contrast to prolate spheroids....

 of the Benedictine Order, and today is venerated within the Order as the patron saint of all oblates, along with St. Frances of Rome
Frances of Rome
Saint Frances of Rome, Obl.S.B., is an Italian saint who was a wife, mother, mystic, organizer of charitable services and a Benedictine oblate who founded a religious community of vowed oblates.- Biography :...



Henry was canonized in July, 1147 by Pope Clement II
Pope Clement II
Pope Clement II , was Pope from December 25, 1046 to his death. He was the first in a series of reform-minded popes from Germany.Born in Hornburg, Lower Saxony, Germany, he was the son of Count Konrad of Morsleben and Hornburg and his wife Amulrad.In 1040, he became Bishop of Bamberg...

; and his spouse, Cunigunde, was canonized in the year 1200, by Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was Pope from 8 January 1198 until his death. His birth name was Lotario dei Conti di Segni, sometimes anglicised to Lothar of Segni....

. His relics were carried on campaigns against heretics in the 1160s.

Henry is buried in Bamberg Cathedral
Bamberg Cathedral
The Bamberg Cathedral is a church in Bamberg, Germany, completed in the 13th century. The cathedral is under the administration of the Roman Catholic Church and is the seat of the Archbishop of Bamberg....

, which also has the tomb of Pope Clement II
Pope Clement II
Pope Clement II , was Pope from December 25, 1046 to his death. He was the first in a series of reform-minded popes from Germany.Born in Hornburg, Lower Saxony, Germany, he was the son of Count Konrad of Morsleben and Hornburg and his wife Amulrad.In 1040, he became Bishop of Bamberg...

. He is the patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 of the city of Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

, Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, and of St Henry's Marist Brothers' College in Durban
Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the third largest city in South Africa. It forms part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...


Feast Day

Saint Henry's name, which does not appear in the Tridentine Calendar
Tridentine Calendar
The Tridentine Calendar is the calendar of saints to be honoured in the course of the liturgical year in the official liturgy of the Roman Rite as reformed by Pope Pius V, implementing a decision of the Council of Trent, which entrusted the task to the Pope....

, was inserted in 1631 in the Roman Calendar as a commemoration
Commemoration (prayer)
In the Roman Rite, when a higher-ranked liturgical celebration impedes the celebration of a lesser one that, either permanently or by coincidence, falls on the same day, the prayer of the lower-ranked celebration is usually added to that of the higher...

 within the celebration of Saint Anacletus
Pope Anacletus
Pope Saint Anacletus , also called Pope Cletus, was the third Roman Pope Pope Saint Anacletus (very rarely written as Anencletus), also called Pope Cletus, was the third Roman Pope Pope Saint Anacletus (very rarely written as Anencletus), also called Pope Cletus, was the third Roman Pope (after St....

 on 13 July, the day of his death and the traditional day for his celebration on a local level. In 1668, it was moved to 15 July for celebration as a Semidouble. This rank was changed by Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

 in 1955 to that of Simple, and by Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

 in 1960 to that of Third-Class Feast. In 1969, it was returned to its original date of 13 July as an optional Memorial.


Between 1012 and 1018 Thietmar of Merseburg
Thietmar of Merseburg
Thietmar of Merseburg was a German chronicler who was also bishop of Merseburg.-Life:...

 wrote a Chronicon, or Chronicle, in eight books, which deals with the period between 908 and 1018. For the earlier part he used Widukind
Widukind of Corvey
Widukind of Corvey was a Saxon historical chronicler, named after the Saxon duke and national hero Widukind who had battled Charlemagne. Widukind the chronicler was born in 925 and died after 973 at the Benedictine abbey of Corvey in East Westphalia...

's Res gestae Saxonicae, the Annales Quedlinburgenses and other sources; the latter part is the result of personal knowledge.
The chronicle is nevertheless an excellent authority for the history of Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

 during the reigns of the emperors Otto III
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto III , a King of Germany, was the fourth ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire. He was elected King in 983 on the death of his father Otto II and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 996.-Early reign:...

 and Henry II. No kind of information is excluded, but the fullest details refer to the bishopric of Merseburg, and to the wars against the Wends
Wends is a historic name for West Slavs living near Germanic settlement areas. It does not refer to a homogeneous people, but to various peoples, tribes or groups depending on where and when it is used...

 and the Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...



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