Friday, August 8, 2014

St. Altman in the Holy Land, 1064 A.D.

St. Altman, Bishop of Passau (+ A.D. 1091)

Today, August 8, is the feast of St. Altman, Bishop of Passau - a city that still stands in Germany today. Below is an excerpt from the entry for our saint in Butler’s Lives of the Saints.

“After being ordained he was appointed canon and master of the cathedral-school at Paderborn, then provost of the chapter of Aachen and chaplain of the Emperor Henry III, and confessor and counsellor of the Dowager Empress Agnes. In 1064 he took part in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which numbered seven thousand persons (according to a monk who was there) and was led by several archbishops and bishops, and the adventure was a most unhappy one. Having safely traversed Europe and Asia Minor with no more than the misfortunes inevitable to so long a journey on horseback, they were attacked by Saracens in Palestine and sustained a siege in an abandoned village; lack of food forced them to surrender, and they might have all been massacred but for the intervention of a friendly emir. Though they eventually reached Jerusalem they were not able to visit many of the other holy places because of the enmity of the Saracens, and by the time the pilgrimage reached home again it had lost nearly half of its members, dead from hardship, sickness and murder. It was happenings of this sort which contributed, thirty years later, to the institution of the crusades…”

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