His martyrdom, and the popularity of several biographies, quickly gave rise to a reputation for heroic goodness, resulting in his being elevated to sainthood, posthumously declared king, and seen as the patron saint of the Czech state. He is the subject of "Good King Wenceslas," a Saint Stephen's Day carol written over 900 years later, in 1853, that remains popular to this day.
St. Wenceslaus was born near Prague, and was the son of Duke Wratislaw and his wife Drahomira. He was raised by his grandmother St. Ludmila, who taught also him Christianity. The Magyars, along with Drahomira, was an anti-Christian faction who murdered the Duke and St. Lumila.
According to some legends, after having regained control of her son, Drahomíra set out to convert Wenceslaus to the old pagan religion.
Wenceslaus was declared the new ruler after a coup in 922. But he encouraged Christianity in a pagan land. Boleslav, his brother, was no longer successor to the throne after Wenceslaus' son was born, and joined a group of noble Czech dissenters.
In September 935, a group of nobles (allied with Wenceslas' younger brother Boleslav) plotted to kill the Duke. After Boleslav invited Wenceslas to the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Stará, Boleslav, and three of Boleslav's companions Tira, Česta and Hněvsa, killed Wenceslas on his way to church after a quarrel between him and his brother. Boleslav thus succeeded him as the Duke of Bohemia.
Although St. Wenceslaus was, during his lifetime, only a duke, Holy Roman Emperor Otto I posthumously "conferred on [Wenceslas] the regal dignity and title" and that is why in his legend and song, he is referred to as a "king."
He is the patron saint of Bohemia
(St. Wenceslaus Chapel in St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague, Czech Republic)
Here is an excellent book about the character and humility of St. Wenceslaus:
Or you can listen toTroparion of St. Wenceslaus (Tone 4)
And of course, you must listen to the famous "
"Good King Wenceslas" song!
Today is a good day to do a service project in St. Wenceslaus' honor and help those people who are needy. Consider assisting a food bank or soup kitchen if there is a local one nearby.
Today angels and men share a common joy. * Heaven and earth join together in splendid chorus * for thy memorial. O holy Prince Wenceslaus. And we sinners earnestly cry aloud unto thee: * Pray thou to the Master in our behalf, * that from dangers and from invisible foes, * He may deliver us who honor thine all-honored memory.