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Updated:  Aug 12, 2013
prev: Adalard, Saint Adalard, Saint Adalbert I next: Adalbert I


Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, b. about 1000; d. 1072 at Goslar

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.

Adalbert, ARCHBISHOP OF HAMBURG-BREMEN, b. about 1000; d. 1072 at Goslar; son of Count Friedrich von Goseck, and Agnes of the lineage of the Weimar Counts. He became successively canon in Halberstadt; subdeacon to the Archbishop of Hamburg (1032); Provost of the Halberstadt Cathedral; and Archbishop of Hamburg (1043 or 1045) by royal appointment, with supremacy over the Scandinavian Peninsula and a great part of the Wend lands, in addition to the territory north of the Elbe. He is probably the Adalbert mentioned as the Chancellor for Italy under Henry III in 1045. At the very outset of his episcopal career he took up the old feud of Hamburg with the Billings, in which he had the cooperation of Henry III. Having accompanied the Emperor on a campaign against the Liutzi (1045), he also journeyed with him to Rome (1046). Upon the settlement of the papal schism Henry wished to make Adalbert Pope, but he refused, and presented his friend Suidger (Clement II) as a candidate. He cooperated in the conversion of the Wends, and three new bishoprics were erected, all subject to Hamburg. Adalbert then conceived the idea of a great northern patriarchate, with its seat at Hamburg, but was constantly foiled. The Kings of Norway and Sweden began to send their bishops to England for consecration, and Sven Estrithson, King of Denmark, appealed to Henry and Pope Leo IX for an archbishop of his own, which would mean a loss to Hamburg of lands just yielding fruits after two hundred years of evangelization. The assent of Adalbert was necessary for such a decision, which he promised to ratify only on condition that his dream of a northern patriarchate be realized. The whole discussion was cut short by the death of both Pope (1054) and Emperor (1056).

During the regency of Empress Agnes, Adalbert lost his hold on the court, and the young Emperor, Henry IV, fell under the influence of Anno, Archbishop of Cologne. Despite the ancient feud between Hamburg and Cologne, Adalbert gained control of Henry's education, eventually superseding Anno in his confidence and esteem. In extenuation of Adalbert's eagerness to obtain privileges for his archdiocese it must be recalled that he had sacrificed much in the royal service, and that his influence was ever for the more open and straightforward course of action, in contradistinction to that of the opposition party. His flattery and indulgence of Henry, however, were baneful in their effects. Forced to retire from court in 1066, by the jealousy of the nobles, he was again admitted to Henry's councils in 1069. His ascendency over the Emperor ended only with his death (1072). Archbishop Adalbert is characterized by Adam of Bremen as minax vultu et habitu verbarumque altitudine suspectus audientibus. Generous, prudent, and zealous as he was, his character was marred by indomitable pride, which has caused him to be depicted in the blackest colors.


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"In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then may hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]."
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