Lives of Saints and Blesseds

June 15
St. Isfried, Bishop, * c. 1115, † June 15, 1204

Isfried, a canon of the Abbey of Cappenberg and from 1159 the first provost of Jerichow and builder of its Romanesque abbey church, became bishop of Ratzeburg in 1178 and thus the successor of St. Evermode. In this position he gained merit for the building of the cathedral and setting up parishes and further he fostered the Christianization of the lands of the Wends. Being himself of a strong penitential mindset, he showed himself to be a gentle judge toward the Wends who revolted and sought to convince them through his preaching. In 1190 he visited the Abbey of Floreffe near Namur, which had been destroyed by fire. He succeeded in persuading the confreres to return after they had been scattered in all directions for a year and a half; he restored the monastery and consecrated seven altars on one day. Likewise in 1190 he blessed the Romanesque church of Postel and in 1194 that of Rolduc. In the conflict between the imperial Staufer Party and the papally minded Welf Party, in spite of threats, he sided with the defeated Henry of Saxony and Bavaria to whom he had previously sworn allegiance. Against the intrigues of Emperor Frederick and his vassal Bernard of Anhalt, he defended the rights of his people. Isfried died at almost 90 years of age on June 15, 1204.

Relics: none available
Approbation of cult: March 20/April 12, 1728 by Benedict XIII.
Representation: as a canon with a glass of wine and a book, as a bishop, healing the eyes of a youth, standing on a figure on the ground.

Almighty eternal God, Your bishop St. Isfrid, refulgent with Your assistance, devoutly loved and strenuously defended You Church; grant, we beseech You, that obedient to the holy Gospel, we may faithfully serve Your people. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.