When we think of "Dubya (The letter, "W")," quite often
we think of George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States. Christmas 2008 was the last Holiday Season when the 43rd
President would see "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" at the fireplace in The White House. However, this story is not about
George W. Bush. This story is about another world leader associated with the letter, "W," who lived over 1100 years ago.
He was the Duke of Bohemia, which today is a land mass that makes
up most of the Czech Republic. In the early 900's AD, during the Dark and Middle Ages, the ruler of Bohemia was not called
a President or King, but the Duke of Bohemia. All this took place in and around Prague, which was a big city even back
then. Today, Prague is about the size of Philadelphia. This story is about Wenceslas I.
Wenceslas I was born in 907 AD during the Dark and Middle
Ages, when Paganism ruled the world, with its horrific and evil rituals. He was the son of Vratislav I, who was the Duke of
Bohemia at the time of his birth. Even though Wenceslas was Vratislav's heir to the throne, Vratislav died when Wenceslas
was a very small child, so he was not ready to assume leadership of Bohemia. Wenceslaus went to live with his grandmother,
Saint Ludmila. She raised Wencelaus on the teachings of Christianity, and the heir to the throne became a very strong Christian
In the meantime, Wenceslas' Pagan Mother, Drahomira (married to
Vratislav) was running the country. Her temporary authority was evil and cruel. The Evil Drahomira became insanely jealous
over the influence Saint Ludmila (Drahomira's Mother-in-law) had over her son, Wencelas, and arranged to have Ludmila
murdered. Because of the circumstances behind Ludmila's death, she was venerated by the church as a Christian Martyr, and
canonized as a Saint. Today, St. Ludmila is referred to as the "Patron Saint of people with in-law problems."
The Evil Drahomira then tried to convert her son, Wenceslas,
back to Paganism. Her efforts backfired, however, as Wencelas exiled his mother for all her crimes when he was finally able
to take the throne. Wenceslas sought to rule his country with the same Christian Principles in which his grandmother, St.
Ludmila, raised him on. Wencelslas established may Christian Policies during his reign, which made him a very capable ruler
of Bohemia. As a result, many churches began to pop up everywhere in Bohemia and Germany, and in the midst of a culture controlled
by Pagan Rituals and Beliefs. Wenceslas founded the St. Vitas Cathedral. There are some historic accounts which state that
Wenceslas took a vow of poverty. He often went out among his people and gave alms to poor people, orphans and prison inmates.
One of the more popular stories about Wenceslas I, was that he and his Page left the warmth and comforts of the palace and
went out onto the cold poverty stricken Streets of Prague to give alms to the poor on the Cold Winter Night of Dec. 26; which
is the Second Day of Christmas, as well as the Feast Day of St. Stephen. As the story goes, The Page got very cold and wanted
to go back to the palace. But, because of Wencelas' love for God and his fellow men, a miracle from above happened. Heat miraculously
enimated from the Footprints of Wenceslas imprinted in the snow. So, Wencelsas and his page were able to stay warm, and complete
their task of giving alms to the poor that night.
Unfortunately, a lot of Wenceslas' Christian Policies
didn't fly with a lot Pagan Nobles, like Henry the Fowler, who ruled Germany at the time. Henry the Fowler organized an army
and invaded Bohemia and forced Wenceslas into submission. That event plus Wenceslas' Christian Policies in a Pagan Society
didn't fly with Boleslaus, the Pagan Brother of Wenceslas I. Boleslaus and three of his knights plotted to assassinate Wenceslas.
One day in 935 AD, while Wenceslas was on the way to church, Boleslaus' three knights ambushed Wenceslas and killed him.
Because of the circumstances behind the Assassination
of Wenceslas I, Wenceslas too was venerated by the church as a Christian Martyr. Because of that, and because there were reports
of people experiencing "Miracles from On High" when they visited the Tomb of Wenceslas, he was also canonized as a Saint,
and was known as Saint Wenceslas I from that time on. St. Wenceslas I is the Patron Saint of the Czech Republic. There is
a major landmark in Downtown Prague named after him--Wenceslas Square. There is also a statue of the Czech Republic's Patron
Saint in Prague. About 900 years after the Reign of St. Wenceslas I, the Duke of Bohemia became know by another popular title,
when John Neale wrote the lyrics to one of our most beloved Christmas Carols: "Good King Wenceslas."
"Good King Wenceslas
On the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about,
Deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night,
Tho' the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight,
Gath'ring winter fuel. "
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