samedi 3 mars 2012

Sainte CUNÉGONDE, impératrice et moniale bénédictine


Sainte Cunégonde

Née vers 975 et fille du comte de Luxembourg, elle épousa l'empereur saint Henri II, et, avec le consentement de son époux, garda la virginité dont elle avait fait vœu. A la mort de son mari, oubliant et s'efforçant de faire oublier sa première dignité, l’impératrice fonda le monastère de bénédictines de Kaufungen en Allemagne où elle passa le reste de sa vie comme religieuse. Elle mourut en 1033 ou 1039.

SOURCE : http://www.paroisse-saint-aygulf.fr/index.php/prieres-et-liturgie/saints-par-mois/icalrepeat.detail/2015/03/03/13191/-/sainte-cunegonde



SAINTE CUNÉGONDE

Impératrice

(+ 1040)

Sainte Cunégonde fut élevée par ses nobles parents dans les sentiments d'une tendre piété. Mariée à saint Henri, roi de Bavière et plus tard empereur, elle avait résolu avec ce prince, avant la célébration du mariage, de vivre dans une continence parfaite. Les deux époux tinrent leur promesse et n'eurent pour but de leur union que de se porter mutuellement à la perfection.

Cunégonde se montra la mère des pauvres, et comme elle s'était interdit les amusements de la cour, elle trouvait de quoi soulager les malheureux, ériger des évêchés, fonder des monastères et orner les églises.

Dieu permit, pour éprouver sa patience, qu'elle fût indignement calomniée et que la calomnie, partie de haut, pénétrât jusque dans le peuple, qui n'avait qu'une voix pour flétrir la prétendue hypocrisie de la reine. Henri, connaissant la vertu de son épouse, repoussa d'abord ces rapports avec indignation. Mais la perfidie des ennemis de Cunégonde finit par le convaincre, et il en vint à mépriser sa sainte épouse et à ne lui plus parler.

Un jour, la reine eut le courage de l'aborder et de lui protester de sa parfaite innocence; elle fut même la première à proposer de s'en remettre au jugement de Dieu, comme on le tolérait encore à cette époque demi-barbare: "Faites chauffer à blanc, lui dit-elle, douze socs de charrue; pieds nus, je marcherai sur ces fers ardents, me confiant en la bonté de mon Dieu, qui connaît le fond de mon coeur." Le jour venu, les douze socs, chauffés à blanc, furent placés dans la basilique, au milieu d'une foule nombreuse accourue pour être témoin de cet étrange spectacle. La reine allait s'avancer sur ce pavé brûlant, quand Henri lui dit: "Je crois à votre innocence; je vous en prie, ne persistez pas dans votre projet." Mais Cunégonde voulait la preuve complète: "Plus ce feu est terrible, plus mon innocence éclatera", dit-elle. Levant donc les yeux au Ciel, elle s'avança pieds nus sur les fers rouges, en disant: "Seigneur mon Dieu, protégez Votre humble servante!" Quand elle fut arrivée au douzième, elle y resta debout comme sur un trône d'honneur. La multitude, frémissante, se précipitait pour vénérer la sainte et courageuse reine, et, de son côté, Henri se jeta aux pieds de Cunégonde en la suppliant de lui conserver son amour et en jurant de travailler à réparer son erreur jusqu'au dernier jour de sa vie.
Après la mort de son royal mari, elle entra dans un couvent, où elle prit le voile et vécut dans la plus parfaite humilité.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950.

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/sainte_cunegonde.html


Princesse palatine et fille de Sigefried, premier comte de Luxembourg, la pieuse Cunégonde, fiancée à l’empereur saint Henri II, conserva sa virginité dans les liens du mariage, et après la mort de son époux elle se dépouilla des ornements de la suprême puissance, au milieu d’une Messe célébrée dans l’église du Refuge, qu’elle avait fondée, prit le voile et reçut l’habit monastique qu’elle avait tissé de ses propres mains.

Déployant dans la vie religieuse le zèle et la charité qu’elle avait exercés sur le trône, elle se plaisait aux travaux les plus humbles, obtint la faveur d’opérer plusieurs miracles, et, près de mourir, refusa le drap mortuaire brodé d’or que l’on préparait pour son cercueil :

« Lorsque j’ai épousé un homme mortel, dit-elle, j’ai porté de riches habits, mais le pauvre vêtement que je porte actuellement est celui d’une épouse de Jésus-Christ ; ne cherchez point d’autre ornement pour couvrir mon corps ! »

Sainte Cunégonde naquit vers la fin du Xe siècle et fut élevée, par ses nobles parents, dans les sentiments d’une tendre piété. Mariée à saint Henri II, roi de Bavière et plus tard empereur, elle avait résolu avec ce prince, avant la célébration du mariage, de vivre dans une continence parfaite. Les deux époux tinrent leur promesse et n’eurent pour but de leur union que de se porter mutuellement à la perfection.

Sainte Cunégonde se montra la mère des pauvres, et comme elle s’était interdit les amusements de la cour, elle trouvait de quoi soulager les malheureux, ériger des évêchés, fonder des monastères et orner les églises.

Dieu permit, pour éprouver sa patience, qu’elle fût indignement calomniée et que la calomnie, partie de haut, pénétrât jusque dans le peuple, qui n’avait qu’une voix pour flétrir la prétendue hypocrisie de la reine.

Saint Henri, connaissant la vertu de son épouse, repoussa d’abord ces rapports avec indignation ; mais la perfidie des ennemis de sainte Cunégonde finit par le convaincre et il en vint à mépriser sa sainte épouse et à ne lui plus parler.

Un jour, la reine eut le courage de l’aborder et de lui protester de sa parfaite innocence ; elle fut même la première à proposer de s’en remettre au jugement de Dieu, comme on le tolérait encore à cette époque demi-barbare : « Faites chauffer à blanc, lui dit-elle, douze socs de charrue ; pieds nus, je marcherai sur ces fers ardents, me confiant en la bonté de mon Dieu, qui connaît le fond de mon cœur ».

Le jour venu, les douze socs, chauffés à blanc, furent placés dans la basilique, au milieu d’une foule nombreuse accourue pour être témoin de cet étrange spectacle. La reine allait s’avancer sur ce pavé brûlant, quand saint Henri lui dit : « Je crois à votre innocence ; je vous en prie, ne persistez pas dans votre projet ».

Sainte Cunégonde voulait la preuve complète : « Plus ce feu est terrible, plus mon innocence éclatera » dit-elle. Levant donc les yeux au Ciel, elle s’avança pieds nus sur les fers rouges, en disant : « Seigneur mon Dieu, protégez votre humble servante ! »

Quand elle fut arrivée au douzième, elle y resta debout comme sur un trône d’honneur. La multitude, frémissante, se précipitait pour vénérer la sainte et courageuse reine, et, de son côté, saint Henri se jeta aux pieds de sainte Cunégonde en la suppliant de lui conserver son amour et en jurant de travailler à réparer son erreur jusqu’au dernier jour de sa vie : « Ô roi, mon seigneur, dit la reine, c’est Dieu seul qu’il vous faut aimer, et non pas moi ; mon respect et mon affection pour vous sont sans bornes, il en a toujours été ainsi depuis que j’eus l’honneur de devenir votre épouse, et il en sera de même jusqu’au dernier soupir ».

Après la mort de son royal mari, elle entra dans un couvent, où elle prit le voile et vécut dans la plus parfaite humilité jusqu’en 1040, Benoît IX étant pape, Henri III empereur du saint empire romain germanique et Henri Ier roi de France.

SOURCE : http://www.cassicia.com/FR/Vie-de-sainte-Cunegonde-imperatrice-morte-en-1040-Fete-le-3-mars-Epouse-de-saint-Henri-II-roi-de-Baviere-puis-empereur-du-saint-empire-romain-germanique-Un-des-beaux-exemples-de-mariage-josephin-No_1243.htm

Sainte Cunégonde

Impératrice germanique ( 1040)

Avec le consentement de son époux, l'empereur saint Henri II, elle garda la virginité qu'elle avait vouée avant son mariage. A sa mort, elle se retira dans un monastère à Bamberg, oubliant et s'efforçant de faire oublier sa première dignité. Elle fut canonisée en 1200. 

À Kaffungen en Hesse, vers l’an 1033 ou 1039, sainte Cunégonde. Avec son époux, l’empereur saint Henri, elle combla l’Église de bienfaits et, après sa mort, se retira comme moniale dans le cloître, faisant du Christ son héritier, et c’est là qu’elle mourut. Son corps fut déposé avec honneur près de celui de saint Henri, à Bamberg. 

(Au Luxembourg : sa mémoire est célébrée le 13 juillet avec celle de saint Henri.)



Martyrologe romain



Saint Henri et sainte Cunégonde couronnés par le Christ (en haut),
 miniature du livre des Péricopes d'Henri II

March 3

St. Cunegundes, Empress

From her life, written by a canon of Bamberg, about the year 1152: also the Dissertation of Henschenius, p. 267.

A.D. 1040

ST. CUNEGUNDES was the daughter of Sigefride, the first count of Luxemburgh, and Hadeswige his pious wife. They instilled into her from her cradle the most tender sentiments of piety, and married her to St. Henry, duke of Bavaria, who, upon the death of the emperor Otho III. was chosen king of the Romans and crowned at Mentz on the 6th of June, 1002. She was crowned at Paderborn on St. Laurence’s day, on which occasion she made great presents to the churches of that city. In the year 1014 she went with her husband to Rome, and received the imperial crown with him from the hands of Pope Benedict VIII. She had, by St. Henry’s consent before her marriage, made a vow of virginity. Calumniators afterwards accused her to him of freedoms with other men. The holy empress, to remove the scandal of such a slander, trusting in God the protector of innocence, in proof of hers, walked over red hot plough-shares without being hurt. The emperor condemned his too scrupulous fears and credulity, and made her ample amends. They lived from that time in the strictest union of hearts, conspiring to promote in everything God’s honour, and the advancement of piety.

Going once to make a retreat in Hesse, she fell dangerously ill, and made a vow to found a monastery, if she recovered, in a place then called Capungen, now Kaffungen, near Cassel, in the diocess of Paderborn, which she executed in a stately manner, and gave it to nuns of the Order of St. Benedict. Before it was finished St. Henry died, in 1024. She earnestly recommended his soul to the prayers of others, especially to her dear nuns, and expressed her longing desire of joining them. She had already exhausted her treasures and her patrimony in founding bishoprics and monasteries, and in relieving the poor. Whatever was rich or magnificent she thought better suited churches than her palace. She had therefore little now left to give. But still thirsting to embrace perfect evangelical poverty, and to renounce all to serve God without obstacle, on the anniversary day of her husband’s death, 1025, she assembled a great number of prelates to the dedication of her church of Kaffungen; and after the gospel was sung at mass, offered on the altar a piece of the true cross, and then put off her imperial robes, and clothed herself with a poor habit: her hair was cut off, and the bishop put on her a veil, and a ring as the pledge of her fidelity to her heavenly spouse. After she was consecrated to God in religion, she seemed entirely to forget that she had been empress, and behaved as the last in the house, being persuaded that she was so before God. She feared nothing more than whatever could bring to her mind the remembrance of her former dignity. She prayed and read much, worked with her hands, abhorred the least appearance of worldly nicety, and took a singular pleasure in visiting and comforting the sick. Thus she passed the fifteen last years of her life, never suffering the least preference to be given her above any one in the community. Her mortifications at length reduced her to a very weak condition, and brought on her last sickness. Her monastery and the whole city of Cassel were grievously afflicted at the thought of their approaching loss; she alone appeared without concern, lying on a coarse hair-cloth, ready to give up the ghost, whilst the prayers of the agonizing were read by her side. Perceiving they were preparing a cloth fringed with gold to cover her corpse after her death, she changed colour and ordered it to be taken away; nor could she be at rest till she was promised she should be buried as a poor religious in her habit. She died on the 3rd of March, 1040. Her body was carried to Bamberg, and buried near that of her husband. The greater part of her relics still remain in the same church. She was solemnly canonized by Innocent III. in 1200. The author of her life relates many miracles wrought at her tomb, or by the intercession of this holy virgin and widow.

Few arrive at any degree of perfection amongst those who aspire after virtue, because many behave as if they placed it barely in multiplying exercises of piety and good works. This costs little to self-love, which it rather feeds by entertaining a secret vanity, or self-complacency, in those who are not very careful in watching over their hearts. It is a common thing to see persons who have passed forty or fifty years in the constant practice of penance and all religious exercises, and the use of the most holy sacraments, still subject to habitual imperfections, and venial disorders, incompatible with a state of sanctity or perfection. They give marks of sudden resentment, if they happen to be rebuked or despised: are greedy of the esteem of others, take a secret satisfaction in applause, love too much their own ease and conveniences, and seek those things which flatter self-love. How much are these souls their own enemies by not giving themselves to God without reserve, and taking a firm resolution to labour diligently in watching over themselves, and cutting off all irregular attachments, and purifying their hearts! The neglect of this fosters many habitual little disorders and venial sins, which incredibly obstruct the work of our sanctification, and the advancement of the kingdom of divine grace in our souls. These little enemies wilfully caressed, weaken our good desires, defile even our spiritual actions with a thousand imperfections, and stop the abundant effusion with which the Holy Ghost is infinitely desirous to communicate himself to our souls, and to fill them with his light, grace, peace, and holy joy. The saints, by the victory over themselves, and by making it their principal study to live in the most perfect disengagement and purity of heart, offered to God, even in their smallest actions, pure and full sacrifices of love, praise, and obedience. If we desire to cultivate this purity of heart, we must carefully endeavour to discover the imperfections and disorders of our souls, especially such as are habitual, and strenuously labour to root them out. Secondly, we must keep our senses under a strict guard, and accustom them to restraint by frequent denials. Thirdly, we must live as much as may be in a habit of recollection, and the practice of the divine presence, and, after any dissipating affairs, return eagerly to close retirement for some short time. Fourthly, we must, with perfect simplicity, lay open our whole interior to our spiritual director, and be most solicitous to do this, with particular candour and courage, in things in which we are tempted to use any kind of duplicity or dissimulation. Lastly, we must propose to ourselves, in all our thoughts and actions, the most perfect accomplishment of the will of God, and study to square our whole lives by this great rule, watching in all we do with particular care against motives of vanity, pride, sensuality, interest, and aversions, the great enemies to purity of intention.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.



Tilman Riemenschneider. Tombe de saint Henri II et de son épouse sainte Cunégonde de Luxemburg,
 1499-1513, Cathedrale de Bamberg 

Saint Cunegundes

Empress
(† 1040)

Saint Cunegundes was the daughter of Sigefried, the first Count of Luxemburg, and Hadeswige, his pious wife. From her cradle her virtuous parents instilled into their daughter the most tender sentiments of piety. When she was of an age to marry, they chose for her spouse Saint Henry, Duke of Bavaria, who at the death of the Emperor Otto III was named King of the Romans and crowned on the 6th of June, 1002. Queen Cunegundes was crowned at Paderborn on Saint Laurence's day.

In the year 1014 she went with her husband to Rome and received the imperial crown with him from the hands of Pope Benedict VIII. With Saint Henry's consent, before their marriage she had made a vow of perpetual virginity. Calumniators afterwards made vile accusations against her, and the holy Empress, to remove the scandal of such a slander, trusting in God to prove her innocence, walked over red-hot ploughshares without being hurt. The Emperor renounced and condemned his own too scrupulous fears and credulity, and from that time on they lived in the strictest union of heart, working together to promote piety and God's honor in every sphere.

Going once to make a retreat in Hesse, Saint Cunegundes fell dangerously ill, and she made a vow to found a monastery at Kaffungen, in the diocese of Paderborn, if she recovered. This she executed in a stately manner, and gave it to nuns of the Order of Saint Benedict. Before it was finished, Saint Henry died in 1024. She earnestly recommended his soul to the prayers of the empire, and especially to her dear nuns, and expressed her longing desire to join the Sisters. She had already exhausted her treasures in founding bishoprics and monasteries and in relieving the poor, and she had therefore little left to give. But intending to embrace perfect evangelical poverty, to renounce all things in order to serve God without obstacle, she assembled a great number of prelates at the dedication of her church of Kaffungen, on the anniversary day of her husband's death, 1025. After the Gospel was sung at Mass she offered on the altar a relic of the true cross, and then, putting off her imperial robes, clothed herself with a poor habit. Her hair was cut off, and the bishop gave her the veil and a ring as a pledge of her fidelity to her heavenly Spouse.

After she was consecrated to God in religion, she seemed to forget entirely that she had been an empress, and served as the last in the house, being persuaded that she was such, before God. She prayed and read a great deal, worked with her hands, and took singular pleasure in visiting and comforting the sick. In this way she passed the last fifteen years of her life.

When her last hour was drawing near, perceiving that they were preparing a cloth fringed with gold to cover her corpse after her death, she ordered it to be taken away; and she could not rest until the promise was given that she would be buried as a poor religious in her habit. She died on the 3rd of March, 1040. Her body was carried to Bamberg and buried near that of her husband. She was solemnly canonized by Innocent III, in 1200.

Reflection. Detachment of the spirit at least, is necessary for those who cannot undertake to enter religion. Every one of you, says Jesus Christ, who does not renounce all that he possesses, cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:33)

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Saint Cunegundes

Also known as
  • Chunigundis
  • Cunnegunda
  • Cunigunde
  • Cunegonda
  • Kinga
  • Kunegunda
  • Kunigunde
Profile

Daughter of Sigfrid, Count of Luxembourg. Received a religious education, and took a private vow of virginity. Married Saint Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, who agreed to honour her vow. On the death of Emperor Otho III, Henry was chosen King of the Romans, and Cunegundes was crowned queen at Paderborn, Germany in 1002. Holy Roman Empress in 1014, receiving the crown from Pope Benedict VIII.

At one point, gossips accused her of adultery, but she proved her innocence by asking for God‘s help, then walking over pieces of flaming iron without injury.

During his time as emperor, Henry gave away the bulk of his wealth in charity; when he died in 1024, Cunegundes was left relatively poor. On the 1025 anniversary of Henry‘s death, which coincided with the dedication of a monastery she had built for Benedictine nuns at Kaffungen, Cunegundes took the veil, and entered that monastery, spending her remaining 15 years praying, reading, and working beside her sisters.

Blessed Cunegundes

Poor Clare and patroness of Poland and Lithuania; born in 1224; died 24 July, 1292, at Sandeck, Poland. She was the daughter of King Bela IV and niece of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and from her infancy it pleased God to give tokens of the eminent sanctity to which she was later to attain. With extreme reluctance she consented to her marriage with Boleslaus II, Duke of Cracow and Sandomir, who afterwards became King of Poland. Not long after their marriage, the pious couple made a vow of perpetual chastity in the presence of the Bishop of Cracow; and Cunegundes, amidst the splendour and pomp of the royal household, gave herself up to the practice of the severest austerities. She often visited the poor and the sick in the hospitals, and cared even for the lepers with a charity scarcely less than heroic. In 1279, King Boleslaus died, and Cunegundes, despite the entreaties of her people that she should take in hand the government of the kingdom, sold all her earthly possessions for the relief of the poor and entered the monastery of the Poor Clares at Sandeck. The remaining thirteen years of her life she spent in prayer and penance, edifying her fellow religious by her numerous virtues, especially by her heroic humility. She never permitted anyone to refer to the fact that she had once been a queen and was foundress of the community at Sandeck.

The cultus of Blessed Cunegundes was approved by Pope Alexander VIII in 1690; in 1695 she was made chief patroness of Poland and Lithuania by a decree of the congregation of Rites, confirmed by Clement XI. Her feast is kept in the Order of Friars Minor on the 27th of July.

Donovan, Stephen. "Blessed Cunegundes." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 3 Mar. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04569a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Paul T. Crowley. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04569a.htm

Santa Cunegonda Imperatrice


† 3 marzo 1033

Le notizie che la riguardano sono tratte da fonti sparse, tramandate da cronisti contemporanei quali Tietmaro di Mersburgo e Rodolfo il Glabro, nonché da una vita composta da un canonico di Bamberga a oltre un secolo dalla morte. Da queste fonti sappiamo che Cunegonda venne cresciuta con una profonda educazione cristiana. A vent'anni circa sposò il duca di Baviera, che nel 1002 fu incoronato re di Germania e nel 1014 imperatore. Malgrado fosse sterile Enrico non volle ripudiare la moglie, scelta ammessa dal matrimoniale germanico, tollerato da Roma. Per la grande pietà e santità che riscontrava in lei preferì viverle assieme anche senza speranza di prole. Così nel 1002 a Paderborn fu incoronata regina e nel 1014 a Roma ricevette, assieme al marito, la corona imperiale da papa Benedetto VIII. Assecondata dal marito fece erigere il Duomo di Bamberga (1007) e il monastero benedettino di Kaufungen (1021) dove, rimasta vedova, si ritirò conducendo vita monastica. Morì il 3 marzo probabilmente del 1033 anche se qualcuno data la sua scomparsa sei anni dopo. (Avvenire)

Etimologia: Cunegonda = che combatte per la stirpe, dall'antico tedesco

Martirologio Romano: A Oberkaufungen nell’Assia, in Germania, santa Cunegonda: molti benefici arrecò alla Chiesa insieme al marito sant’Enrico imperatore, e, dopo la morte di costui, ella stessa migrò al Signore nel convento in cui come monaca si era ritirata, facendo di Cristo la sua eredità. Il suo corpo fu deposto con tutti gli onori accanto alle spoglie di sant’Enrico a Bamberga.

Le Chiese d’Oriente e d’Occidente in due millenni di cristianesimo hanno attribuito l’aureola della santità quale corona eterna a non poche imperatrici, e talvolta anche ai loro mariti, che sedettero sui troni di Roma, di Costantinopoli e del Sacro Romano Impero. Sfogliando le pagine dell’autorevole Bibliotheca Sanctorum e della Bibliotheca Sanctorum Orientalium possiamo trovare i loro nomi: Adelaide, Alessandra e Serena (presunte mogli di Diocleziano), Ariadne, Basilissa (o Augusta), Cunegonda, Elena, Eudossia, Irene d’Ungheria (moglie di Alessio I Comneno), Irene la Giovane (moglie di Leone IV Chazaro), Marciana, Pulcheria, Placilla, Riccarda, Teodora (moglie di Giustiniano), Teodora (moglie di Teofilo l’Iconoclasta), Teofano. Anche nel XX secolo non sono mancate sante imperatrici: Sant’Alessandra Fedorovna, moglie dell’ultimo zar russo canonizzata dal Patriarcato di Mosca, la Serva di Dio Elena di Savoia, imperatrice d’Etiopia, ed in fama di santità è anche Zita di Borbone, moglie del Beato Carlo I d’Asburgo ed ultima imperatrice d’Austria.

Santa Cunegonda, oggi festeggiata, è venerata anche insieme al marito, l’imperatore Enrico II, la cui festa è però celebrata separatamente al 13 luglio. Le fonti relative a questa santa sono purtroppo costituite da notizie sparse, tramandate da alcuni cronisti contemporanei quali Tietmaro di Mersburgo e Rodolfo il Glabro, nonché da una vita composta da un canonico di Bamberga oltre un secolo dopo la morte. I genitori diedero alla figlia, sin dai primi anni, una profonda educazione cristiana. All’età di circa vent’anni, Cunegonda sposò il duca di Baviera, Enrico appunto, che nel 1002 venne incoronato re di Germania e nel 1014 sacro romano imperatore.

Su questo matrimonio, specialmente al principio del XX secolo, sono sorte parecchie polemiche: in alcuni testi antichi infatti, tra i quali la bolla di papa Innocenzo III, si narra che i due coniugi fecero voto di perpetua verginità e si parlò così di “matrimonio di San Giuseppe” e per tale motivo a Cunegonda è stato talvolta attribuito il titolo di “vergine”, ma secondo altri autori moderni una simile qualifica non corrisponderebbe alle narrazioni di contemporanei come Rodolfo il Glabro. Secondo quest’ultimo, I fatti, Enrico si accorse della sterilità della moglie, ma nonostante il matrimoniale germanico ammettesse il ripudio, non volle usare questo diritto per la grande pietà e santità che riscontrava nella consorte e preferì continuare a vivere insieme a lei pur senza speranza di prole. Fu proprio ciò, unitamente alla fama di santità che circondò i due coniugi, a far nascere in seguito la leggenda del cosiddetto “matrimonio di San Giuseppe”.

Nella Vita e nella bolla pontificia di canonizzazione si legge che Cunegonda fu oggetto di una grande calunnia di infedeltà coniugale ed Enrico, per provarne l’innocenza, decise di sottoporla alla prova del fuoco. La moglie accettò e passò miracolosamente indenne a piedi nudi sopra vomeri infuocati. L’imperatore chiese perdono all’augusta consorte per aver dato troppo credito agli accusatori e da quel momento visse in piena stima e fiducia nei suoi confronti. Non ci è dato sapere quale validità storica abbia concretamente questo episodio, resta comunque il suo alto valore simbolico.

Il 10 agosto 1002 a Paderborn Cunegonda fu incoronata regina e nel 1014 si recò a Roma con il marito per ricevere la corona imperiale dalle mani di papa Benedetto VIII, il 14 febbraio di quell’anno. La vita dell’imperatrice costituì un mirabile esempio di carità, umiltà e mortificazione, virtù che la caratterizzarono in molteplici manifestazioni. Assecondata dal pio marito, nel 1007 fece erigere il duomo di Bamberga e nel 1021 il monastero di Kaufungen, fondato in seguito ad un voto fatto durante una gravissima malattia da cui uscì pienamente ristabilita. Proprio in questo monastero benedettino volle ritirarsi nel 1025, addolorata per la perdita del marito. Nel giorno anniversario della morte di Enrico II, Cunegonda convocò parecchi vescovi per la dedicazione della chiesa di Kaufungen, cui donò una reliquia della Santa Croce. Dopo la lettura del Vangelo, si spogliò delle insegne e degli abiti imperiali, si fece tagliare i capelli e vestì il rozzo saio benedettino.
Continuò, come già aveva fatto in precedenza, a spendere il suo patrimonio nell’edificazione di nuovi monasteri, decorando chiese ed aiutando i poveri. Intrapresa dunque la vita monastica, visse in assoluta umiltà come se mai fosse stata addirittura imperatrice. Prese a trascorrere gran parte delle sue giornate in preghiera e nella lettura delle Sacre Scritture, non disdegnando però i lavori manuali ed i servizi più umili. Un compito assegnatole che gradì particolarmente fu la visita alle consorelle ammalate per portare loro conforto ed assistenza. Si distinse inoltre per la pratica severa della penitenza: asumeva infatti esclusivamente il cibo indispensabile per sopravvivere, rifiutando ciò che poteva solleticare in qualche maniera il palato.

Sino al termine dei suoi giorni Cunegonda condusse questo stile di vita. Morì infine il 3 marzo di un anno imprecisato, generalmente viene preferito il 1033 anziché il 1039. Le sue spoglie mortali trovarono degna sepoltura presso quelle del marito nella cattedrale di Bamberga. Nei primi anni non fu oggetto di grande culto, ma dal XII secolo la venerazione nei suoi confronti crebbe grandemente fino a superare quella tributata già in precedenza ad Enrico. La causa di canonizzazione fu introdotta sotto il pontificato di Celestino III, ma solo Innocenzo III con bolla del 29 marzo 1200 ne approvò ufficialmente il culto. Nella diocesi di Bamberga nel XV secolo ben quattro solenni celebrazioni erano dedicate alla memoria della santa imperatrice: il 3 marzo (anniversario della morte), il 29 marzo (anniversario della canonizzazione), il 9 settembre (traslazione delle reliquie) ed il 1° agosto (commemorazione del primo miracolo).

SOURCE : http://www.santiebeati.it/dettaglio/43700


Autore:
Fabio Arduino