Saint Otto of Bamberg
Jul 06, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast July 2
Otto, born into the noble though impoverished family of Mistelbach in Swabia, was a model of diplomacy in the service of God’s interests.
Ordained a priest while still young, he entered the service of Emperor Henry IV and ultimately was appointed chancellor.
In the conflicts over investitures between Henry IV and Pope St. Gregory VII, which ended in excommunication for the Emperor, the noble cleric was caught between two masters.
However, Otto navigated the prickly situation admirably upholding the sovereign in all he could, but refusing to approve his schism and his other crimes, laboring to bring him to repentance and submission.
When the Emperor nominated him Bishop of Bamberg in 1102, Otto refused to be consecrated by a schismatic bishop and traveled to Rome instead where he was consecrated by Pope Paschal II himself.
Under Henry V who began to follow in his rebellious father’s footsteps, Otto worked to heal the fresh breach with the Holy See and the consequent damages.
Enjoying the trust and respect of both parties, and amid his political activities, he managed his episcopal see admirably, established many monasteries and religious foundations, all the while leading an exemplary personal life.
For about a year he answered the call from Boleslaus III of Poland who conquered part of Pomerania, which region was still steeped in paganism. With a number of priests and catechists, Otto launched an evangelizing effort which initially garnered 20,000 converts for the Faith.
Appointing clergy to continue his work, he returned to Bamberg, but a few towns having reverted to paganism, Otto again traveled to Pomerania in 1128. With his inspiring speech, he won over all the nobles of the land, reaching remote regions with the message of the Gospel. He finally was able to establish an ecclesiastical see in the area. In his missionary travels he was said to have performed miracles.
In the papal schism of 1130-31 the pious, active, clever bishop tried to remain neutral, stayed out of political turmoil, and died greatly esteemed by Emperor Lothair and his princes.
Otto was canonized fifty years after his death in 1139.