Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/St. Ludmilla

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Wife of Boriwoi, the first Christian Duke of Bohemia, b. at Mielnik, c. 860; d. at Tetin, near Beraun, 15 September, 921. She and her husband were baptized, probably by St. Methodius, in 871. Pagan fanatics drove them from their country, but they were soon recalled, and after reigning seven more years they resigned the throne in favour of their son Spitignev and retired to Tetin. Spitignev died two years later and was succeeded by Wratislaw, another son of Boriwoi and Ludmilla. Wratislaw was married to Drahomira, a pretended Christian, but a secret favourer of paganism. They had twin sons, St. Wenceslaus and Boleslaus the Cruel, the former of whom lived with Ludmilla at Tetin. Wratislaw died in 916, leaving the eight-year-old Wenceslaus as his successor. Jealous of the great influence which Ludmilla wielded over Wenceslaus, Drahomira instigated two noblemen to murder her. She is said to have been strangled by them with her veil. She was at first buried in the church of St. Michael at Tetin, but her remains were removed to the church of St. George at Prague before the year 1100, probably by St. Wenceslaus, her grandson. She is venerated as one of the patrons of Bohemia, and her feast is celebrated on 16 September.

The chief source is Vita et passio s. Wenceslai et s. Ludmillæ aviæ ejus, written probably towards the end of the tenth century by the Benedictine Monk Christian, a son of Boleslaw I. Until recently this work was considered a forgery of the 12-14 century. But PEKAR, Die Wenzels- und Ludmilla­Legenden und die Echtheit Christians (Prague, 1905), and VOIGT, Die von dem Premysliden Christian verfasste und Adelbert von Prag gewidmete Biographie des heil. Wenzel und ihre Geschichtsdarstellungen (Prague, 1907), have adduced grave reasons for its genuineness, Acta SS., IV, 16 Sept.; DUNBAR, Dictionary of Saintly Women, I (London, 1904), 475-7.

MICHAEL OTT