Faith & Life

SAINT PROFILE: HENRY II … HE LED HIS ARMY INTO ITALY

972 – 1024; Feast – July 13

By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE     7/20/2015

After succeeding his father as duke of Bavaria in 995, he succeeded his cousin, Emperor Otto III, in 1002. To defeat a rival for the imperial crown, Henry led his army into Italy. In 1014 he was crowned holy Roman emperor by the pope in Rome. Local German bishops opposed Henry’s efforts to extend his power by establishing new monasteries and cathedrals, but his authority was upheld by Rome. Henry drew more criticism for warring with Christian Poland, and for not forcing pagan tribes under his control to convert to Christianity. But he and his wife, St. Cunegund, are seen as generous church patrons who supported Clunaic monastic reform. He was canonized in 1152 and is the patron saint of Benedictine oblates.

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