Saint Otto of Bamberg

April 10, 2022

Saint Otto of Bamberg was a Catholic Missionary who served as the Bishop of Bamberg from 1102 to 1139. Otto was born in 1060 in Mistelbach, Germany.

He was ordained as a priest at a young age and a diplomat as well. Historical records show he was born into a noble family.

In 1088, he was first appointed to serve as chaplain to the court of Judith of Poland. Duchess Judith was sister to Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany. During his time as chaplain, he went on missions to the emperor’s court.

In 1902, he was made chancellor to Henry IV before being made bishop of Bamberg in December of the same year. He waited until 1906 to travel to Rome for consecration by Pope Paschal II. There was strife between the People and the Emperor during the period. These disagreements, known as the Investiture Conflict, had started in 1976 between Pope Gregory VII and Henry IV. Otto did not take sides. Instead, he tried to play mediator between the political and ecclesiastical sides.

When Henry V went to Rome for his crowning as emperor in 1111, Otto traveled with him. The pope gave Otto the pallium, a symbolic papal emblem to show jurisdictional authority. It was a recognition of Otto’s diplomacy.

During his time as Bishop of Bamburg, he rebuilt the cathedral, birthed new parishes, built schools and hospitals, built castles to fortify the Diocese territory, and acquired new lands for the Diocese. Bamburg, which was originally fractured, prospered as a Diocese.

Otto went to the Pomeranians on two different occasions In his capacity as papal legate. A legate is a representative of papal authority. He succeeded in converting over 20,000 Pomeranians to Christianity. He even became known as the Apostle of Pomerania.

Otto died and was buried in Michaelsberg Abbey in Bamberg in June 1139. His canonization was done by Pope Clement III 150 years later.


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