Poland Remembers St. Bruno


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LOMZA, Poland, JUNE 19, 2009 ( The Church in Poland will mark the 1,000 anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Bruno, known as the "apostle of Poland."

The three-day event began today with an inaugural Mass at the Cathedral of Lomza.

Bishop Jerzy Mazur of Elk, said that St. Bruno "reminds us that the unity of Europe is based on Christian values, the unity of the Christian churches, the missionary vocation of each Christian, and the reconciliation between nations."

"The celebrations of the millennial are marvelous opportunities to get to know St. Bruno," he added, noting that the bishop who spread the Gospel to Poland has been "a little forgotten."

On Saturday, a celebration of vespers and a gathering for youth will take place on the Mount of St. Bruno, in Gizycko. On Sunday, an open air Mass will conclude the celebrations. Organizers expect some 50,000 to attend.

The bishops of Poland, who are currently meeting in plenary session, will participate in both the inaugural and closing Masses.

Benedict XVI named 79-year-old Cardinal Jozef Glemp, the retired archbishop of Warsaw, as his special legate to the celebrations.

In a message sent earlier this year to Cardinal Glemp, the Pope noted that St. Bruno defended the "monastic discipline" and was an "illustrious preacher of the truth."

He also noted that St. Bruno could be considered the patron saint of "friendship between Germany and Poland."

Bruno was born in 974 into a noble family in Querfurt, which is located in present-day Germany.

He was the chaplain of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III before joining the Benedictines in Rome. The young man lived for a time in the monastery of St. Romuald in Ravenna, before Pope Silvester II sent him to Prussia, where he became the bishop of Magdeburgo.

He was martyred in 1009 near the border of the medieval nation Kievan Rus and Lithuania while trying to spread Christianity in Eastern Europe.