Saxony, ca. 960 – Hildesheim (Saxony), November 20, 1022
Roman Martyrology: At Hildesheim in Saxony in Germany, Bernvardo St., Bishop, who defended his flock from attacks, renewed with several synods of clergy discipline and promoted the monastic life.
The Metal BIshop: You can call him so. While studying Scripture and doctrine of the Church, he was also attracted to the art of forging, casting and shaping metal in the forges and shops of Hildesheim, a strong center of commerce in Lower Saxony. The son of aristocrats, he was born when the Saxon Duke Otto became the Emperor Otto I, the most powerful ruler in Europe. After that, he watched Otto I’s son, Otto II, rise to the throne; he died in Rome in 983 after a defeat (by the Saracens), who threatened to overthrow the Empire. And then, as a young priest, was called to court as a master of the new Emperor Otto III, who was still a child. It was a post that carried great weight, motivated by good qualities that Bernardo revealed, and also by his close relationship with the great nobility of Saxony.
In 992 he was appointed bishop of Hildesheim, using for proof of his good, the time that he spent as an educator at court. The test of his good is repeated: to consolidate among its people a faith so strong that really is not, in any part of the territory. Two centuries earlier, in fact, missionaries came to preach among the Saxons; Charlemagne came with the army to Christianize people by combat, en masse, and the memory of so much brutality lasted long. Because of this Bernardo began founding monasteries, centers of evangelization by word and example.
He introduced the first Benedictines. Then using figurative art that speaks to people who can not read the books of faith by its calligraphic Scriptures, with him to guide them. He called painters, sculptors, goldsmiths of the city, and others to get on with his initiatives. But he does not have the authority to order and pay. He is “the occupation” and every day passes shops to monitor and stimulate the artists.
At the time, the sovereign German relied on various bishops as well as civilian and military authorities. Bernardo, also participated in military expeditions, strengthening his cities and other places in the diocesan territory while the great monastery of San Michele rose in Hildesheim. And in the years 1000-1001 he was in Italy to face a revolt at the side of the Emperor Otto III, who died 18 years and the first of 20.
The Monastery of St. Michael was finally completed in 1022, a few weeks before his death. And there Bernward is buried. Hildesheim still retains some works of art made on his momentum. As the bronze door to St. Michael and then assigned to the cathedral, the imposing “series of Bernardo” in bronze, his silver crucifix, the illuminated Bible. In 1150 Bernardo was canonized by the local bishop of thetime. In December of 1193 Pope Celestine III proclaimed him a saint.
SOURCE: Santi e Beati