Gniezno – Statue of Adalbert of Prague

This statue of Adalbert of Prague was erected to mark 1,000 years since the saint’s death. He was given the job of the Bishop of Gniezno, which I imagine was quite a privileged and comfortable role, but he was then sent out to go preaching to the people of Prussia. If he did this voluntarily, he was a very brave man, as missionaries didn’t always fare well at this time.

Anyway, he went off to Prussia and he was killed by barbarians, or technically, pagans. The church was quite keen on relics back then and his bones were finally brought back, after some argument, to Gniezno Cathedral in around 1,000AD. All was well with this situation until Bohemian Duke Břetislav I stole the bones in 1039 and he excitedly moved them to Prague.

Then the story gets more confusing, as it seems the Duke stole the wrong bones, he pinched the remains of Gaudentius of Brescia. Now, he was still a saint, but it wasn’t the saint that the Duke really wanted. In 1127, Gniezno Cathedral also got Adalbert’s head, although goodness knows where that went for over 125 years.

So there’s now the situation that Prague thinks it has the bones of Adalbert, and so does Gniezno. They both managed to have the saint’s head, which is just a little confusing, but it was made more surreal when in 1923 someone pinched Adalbert’s head (assuming he is in Gniezno) and they’ve never recovered that.

Anyway, it’s a nice statue.