Saint Vicelinus was a German bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of Oldenburg in Holstein
Oldenburg (Holstein)
Oldenburg in Holstein is a town at the southwestern shore of the Baltic Sea. The nearest city is Lübeck. The town belongs to the region of Holstein, today in the state Schleswig-Holstein of Germany....

 who was considered the apostle of Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....


An orphan is a child permanently bereaved of or abandoned by his or her parents. In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents is called an orphan...

ed at an early age, Vicelinus received his primary education at Hamelin
Hamelin is a town on the river Weser in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Hamelin-Pyrmont and has a population of 58,696 ....

, his birthplace. He left secretly for Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

, where he enjoyed the home and instructions of Hartmann, and soon surpassed his companions and assisted in the management of the cathedral school.

Vicelinus was called to Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

 to act as teacher and principal of the school, and was offered a canonry by Archbishop Frederick of the Archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen. In 1122 he may have gone to Laon
Laon is the capital city of the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France.-History:The hilly district of Laon, which rises a hundred metres above the otherwise flat Picardy plain, has always held strategic importance...

 to complete his studies. Thereafter he went to Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

 and was ordained priest by St. Norbert of Xanten
Norbert of Xanten
Saint Norbert of Xanten was a Christian saint and founder of the Norbertine or Premonstratensian order of canons regular.- Life and work :...

, Archbishop of Magdeburg. However, his hope to be emitted as missionary to the Slavs did not materialise, so he returned to Bremen. Hamburg-Bremen's Archbishop Adalbero sent him among the Polabian Slavs
Polabian Slavs
Polabian Slavs - is a collective term applied to a number of Lechites tribes who lived along the Elbe river, between the Baltic Sea to the north, the Saale and the Limes Saxoniae to the west, the Ore Mountains and the Western Sudetes to the south, and Poland to the east. They have also been known...

, and in the fall of 1126 Henry
Henry (Obotrite prince)
Henry was an Obotrite prince or king from the Nakonid dynasty; he was regarded by contemporaries as "King of the Slavs"...

, Prince of the Obotrites
The Obotrites , also commonly known as the Obodrites, Abotrites, or Abodrites, were a confederation of medieval West Slavic tribes within the territory of modern Mecklenburg and Holstein in northern Germany . For decades they were allies of Charlemagne in his wars against Germanic Saxons and Slavic...

, gave him a church in Liubice
Liubice, also known by the German name Alt-Lübeck , was a medieval West Slavic settlement near the site of modern Lübeck, Germany. Liubice was located at the confluence of the Schwartau with the Trave across from Teerhof Island, approximately four kilometres north of Lübeck's island old town...

, near the site of the later Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

. At the death of Henry (22 March 1127) Vicelinus returned to Bremen, and was appointed pastor at Wippenthorp
Neumünster is an independent town in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, which has a total of four independent towns.-Current Situation:Neumünster station is major railway junction with lines running in six directions, including the important Hamburg-Altona–Kiel and Neumünster–Flensburg lines.Near...

. This gave him an opportunity to work among the Wagrians and neighbouring Obotrites.

Vicelinus's preaching gathered crowds of eager listeners, and many priests aided him in founding the new monastery in 1127, which became eponymous for Wippenthorp as Neumünster
Neumünster is an independent town in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, which has a total of four independent towns.-Current Situation:Neumünster station is major railway junction with lines running in six directions, including the important Hamburg-Altona–Kiel and Neumünster–Flensburg lines.Near...

. The monastery followed the Rule of St. Augustine
Rule of St. Augustine
The Rule of St. Augustine is a religious rule employed by a large number of orders, including the Dominicans, Servites, Mercederians, and Augustinians.-Overview:...

, and was liberally endowed by the archbishop. Wars among the tribes in 1137 caused the missionaries to abandon their labours for two years. Vicelinus sent two priests to Liubice, but with little success. At his suggestion King Lothair
Lothair III, Holy Roman Emperor
Lothair III of Supplinburg , was Duke of Saxony , King of Germany , and Holy Roman Emperor from 1133 to 1137. The son of Count Gebhard of Supplinburg, his reign was troubled by the constant intriguing of Frederick I, Duke of Swabia and Duke Conrad of Franconia...

 intended to build a fortress and monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 at Segeberg
Bad Segeberg
Bad Segeberg is a German town of 16,000 inhabitants, located in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, capital of the district Segeberg. It is situated approximately northeast of Hamburg, and west of Lübeck.It is famous for its annual Karl-May-Festival...

, but death prevented him.

Some years later Vicelinus established a house at Hogersdorf
Högersdorf is a municipality in the district of Segeberg, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany....

. In Harsefeld
Harsefeld is a municipality situated south-west of Hamburg...

 Hamburg-Bremen's Archbishop Hartwig I made him Bishop of Starigard (or Aldinborg by the Saxons, today's Oldenburg) in 1149. There he did much for the spiritual and temporal welfare of his diocese. In 1152 he was struck by paralysis
Paralysis is loss of muscle function for one or more muscles. Paralysis can be accompanied by a loss of feeling in the affected area if there is sensory damage as well as motor. A study conducted by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, suggests that about 1 in 50 people have been diagnosed...

 and lingered amid much suffering for two years before dying in Neumünster. After in 1330 the Augustine canon-law college moved to Bordesholm
Bordesholm is a town in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany in the district Rendsburg-Eckernförde. Bordesholm is also the name of a former historical district of the Kingdom of Prussia and Weimar Republic for which it was the district capital...

 his body was transferred there too in 1332, and buried before the main altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

. In 1874 the small Catholic parish at Hamelin had his picture engraved on a new bell
Bell (instrument)
A bell is a simple sound-making device. The bell is a percussion instrument and an idiophone. Its form is usually a hollow, cup-shaped object, which resonates upon being struck...

. He is usually represented with a church resting on his left arm; his feast is celebrated on 12 December.

External links

  • Vicelinus at the Catholic Encyclopedia
    Catholic Encyclopedia
    The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

  • St Vicelinus (with image)

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