Bernward of Hildesheim

Bernward of Hildesheim

Infobox Saint
name=Saint Bernward of Hildesheim
death_date=death date|1022|11|20|df=y
feast_day=20 November
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church

caption=Stature of Bernward von Hildesheim near the cathedral
canonized_by=Celestine III

Saint Bernward or Bernard (c. 960 – 20 November 1022) was the Bishop of Hildesheim from 993 until his death.

Bernward came from a Saxon noble family and studied at the cathedral school of Hildesheim. From 977, he served as a scribe and chronicler at the court of Otto II and Theophanu, and then from 987/88-993, he and the future Pope Silvester II were in charge of the young Emperor Otto III.

His time in office fell during the era of the Saxon emperors, who had their roots in the area around Hildesheim and were personally related to Bernward. During this time, Hildesheim was a center of power in the Holy Roman Empire, and Bernward was determined to give his city an image fitting for one of its stature.

The most famous examples of this ambition are the Bernward doors of the Hildesheim Cathedral (Bronze cast with scenes of the holy history after the wooden doors of Santa Sabina in Rome), the Christus Pilar (Bronze cast with images of the deeds of Christ after the stone "Kaisersäulen" in Rome), as well as the early Romanesque Michaelskirche (finished after Bernward's death). St. Michael's Church was designed to be the image of heavenly Jerusalem by the bishop and he is buried there. The treasures Bernward created are today UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Bernward built up the cathedral district with a strong twelve-towered wall and erected further forts in the countryside to protect against attacks by the neighboring Slavs. However, the inner spiritual struggles of his diocese and aiding the poor were always closest to his heart.

His life was set down in writing by his student Thangmar in the "Vita Bernwardi". For at least part of this document is the authorship certain, but other parts were probably added in the High Middle Ages. He died on November 20, 1022, a few weeks after the consecration of the magnificent church of St. Michael which he had built. Bernward was canonized by Pope Celestine III. His feast day is November 20.


*de icon [ Bernward von Hildesheim]
*de iconHans Jakob Schuffels in Brandt/Eggebrecht (Hrsg.): "Bernward von Hildesheim und das Zeitalter der Ottonen, Katalog der Ausstellung 1993 Volume 1, p.31; Illustration of the document in Volume 2, p.453
*de icon [ History of Burgstemmen] (in German)
*en iconCathEncy|wstitle=St. Bernward----

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