Saint of the Day – 6 October – Blessed Adalbero of Lambach (c 1010–1090) Bishop of Würzburg and Count of Lambach-Wels, Reformer, Mediator and Advisor, founder of Churches and Monasteries – born c 1010 in Lambach an der Traun, Austria and died on 6 October 1090 at the Abbey at Lambach, Austria of natural causes, where his mortal remains were buried. Blessed Adalbero’s Episcopal Motto was “Christ yesterday, today and forever.”
Adalbero was born around 1010 in Lambach an der Traun. He was the youngest son of the Carinthian Margrave. Arnold II of Lambach-Wels (Upper Austria) and his wife, the East Franconian Countess Reginlindis. The youngest and, after the violent death of his brothers in 1050, the last male offspring of the family. He was sent to study at the Würzburg Cathedral School, which at the time was highly regarded.
After his studies in the Cathedral School at Würzburg and later in Paris, Adalbero became a Canon of Würzburg. In 1045, King Henry III, nominated Adalbero successor to Bruno, who was Adalbero’s Uncle, as Bishop of Würzburg.
Bishop Adalbero continued the construction of the new Würzburg Cathedral begun by Bruno, adding the east crypt and the east choir. He established the “Neumünsterkirche” (“New Minster Church”) (built between 1058 and 1063). Significant contributions in the reform of ecclesiastical life are attributed to him. He was in close contact with the reformers at Cluny, Gorze and Hirsau. He brought the monk Egbert from Gorze, who proved extremely effective firstly in bringing about renewal.
In 1056 he began the restoration of the Abbey of Lambach, founded by his father in the family castle. After the death of Henry III that same year, Adalbero, Godfather to Henry IV, spent more time attending court, where he gained a reputation as an advisor and mediator. He also intensified his involvement in the councils of the empire and in the synods.
In 1057 Adalbero re-settled the Abbey of St Peter, Paul and Stephen in Würzburg, until then a College of Canons Regular, with Benedictines from Münsterschwarzach. In 1066 in Würzburg he performed the marriage ceremony between Henry IV and Bertha of Savoy. Together with other Princes he brokered the Peace of Speyer in 1075.
Steadfast fighter for the Church and the Pope:
In the Investiture Controversy (Controversy between Church and State related to the choosing and investiture of Bishops) which broke out shortly afterwards, Adalbero took the side of Pope Gregory VII in opposition to Henry IV (remember he was the Godfather of Henry IV and his tutor). Gregory objected to the practice of the appointment of Bishops being vested in territorial princes rather than in the Papacy. The Synod of Worms however, supported Henry against Gregory’s ideas and declared the Pope deposed, whereupon Gregory excommunicated Henry, forcing him to set off on the famous “walk to Canossa” (January 1077) to see the Pope and seek absolution.
Having obtained this, however, the dependency of the Bishops on the King was once again reinforced. Adalbero and other Princes, therefore, in March 1077 appointed as anti-king Duke Rudolf of Rheinfelden. Henry IV, hastened to return to Germany and in the same year besieged Wurzburg. Wurzburg was strategically important because it controlled communications between the rebel areas of Saxony and Swabia. Having succeeded in raising the citizens against Adalbero, the Bishop had to leave the city. King Henry appointed a series of anti-bishops.
In 1086 Rudolf of Rheinfelden returned him to Würzburg but he was soon ejected again. Adalbero rejected all attempts at mediation and compromise proposals – Henry IV is said to have offered him the diocese again, saying that he would die rather than yield. At the Synod of Mainz in 1085, therefore, he was formally deposed and forced into exile. He remained faithful to the Pope and was sent to his Monastery in Lambach. In 1088 Adalbero renounced his episcopal dignity and dedicated the Monastery of Komburg, near Schwabisch Hall, in Württemberg. The following year, he was also co-founder of Zwiefalten Abbey in Swabia. On 6 October 1090 he died in Lambach and was buried in the Abbey church which he himself had founded and dedicated.
Soon after his death he began to be venerated as a saint in his Austrian home and his veneration in Münsterschwarzach is evidenced since the 17th century.
In 1883 Pope Leo confirmed Adalbero’s cult and Beatified him. Since 1948, in the “Neumünsterkirche” in Würzburg there has been a glass shrine, by Josef Amberg, containing a thighbone of Adalbero as a relic. Also in Würzburg is the neo-Romanesque St Adalbero’s Church.