You’ve probably heard the song Good King Wenceslas around Christmas time. Who was he and why do we sing about him?
He was king of the Czechs about a thousand years ago and ruled with utmost compassion and love for his people. His heart was bigger than his entire kingdom. In addition to numerous charitable deeds that he personally carried out, he also translated part of the New Testament into the language of the people so they could understand it.
Today is his feast day, that is, the day on which he is remembered and commemorated. Below is more about St. Wenceslas, also called Vatslav from the The Prologue of Ochrid:
Vatslav was the grandson of St. Ludmilla. As king, he labored in the Faith like the great ascetics, and strengthened the Orthodox Faith among his people. He was strict in ensuring that no innocent person suffer in the courts. In his zeal for the Christian Faith and in his love for his fellow man, St. Vatslav purchased pagan children who were being sold as slaves, and immediately baptized them and raised them as Christians. He translated the Gospel of St. John into the Czech language, and transported the relics of St. Vitus and St. Ludmilla to Prague. His brother Boleslav invited him to be his guest, and then killed him in his court. Immediately after this, Boleslav brought in German priests and had the services celebrated in Latin. St. Vatslav suffered in the year 935 and his relics repose in Prague.
More information: https://oca.org/saints/lives/2017/09/28/102754-martyr-wenceslaus-the-prince-of-the-czechs
Image credit: https://www.eerdmans.com/Products/Default.aspx?bookid=5209