St. Adalbert of Prague
The Iconography
St. Adalbert was a 10th-century bishop and evangelist to eastern Europe who was martyred in Prussia when a pagan mob attacked him with spears. In consequence, spears are his attribute in some later portraits (as at right). In most images there are no attributes at all, but in Hungarian portraits he can sometimes be recognized by the context, appearing with that country's holy kings and/or with SS. Martin or Stephen. See Năstăsoiu for an excellent discussion of the iconography and how he can be identified even without attributes.

Prepared in 2018 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University.

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This painting of Hungarian saints has Adalbert and his spears on the left. – See the de­scrip­tion page.

Portrait of St. Adalbert of Prague by Mihály Kovács, 1855 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A detail on the door of Gniezno Cathedral, in Poland, pictures the martyrdom of St. Adalbert. (Source: Wikimedia Commons.)

DATES

  • Feast day: April 23

NAMES

  • He is sometimes known by his birth name, Vojtěch. He took the name "Adalbert" in honor of the bishop who confirmed him, St. Adalbert of Magdeburg.

HAGIOGRAPHY