LIUDGER, lud'ger (LUDGER), SAINT: Missionary to the Frisians and first bishop of Münster; b. in Frisia, probably between 740 and 750; d. at Billerbeck (15 m. w.n.w. of Münster) Mar. 26, 809. He was educated at Utrecht, and thence went, about 767, to York, where for a year he enjoyed the instruction of Alcuin and was ordained deacon. After remaining there for some time longer, he returned to Frisia and was employed as a missionary among his fellow countrymen by


Alberic, the successor of his old teacher Gregory. When Alberic was consecrated bishop of Utrecht at Cologne in 777, Liudger was ordained priest and spent seven years at Dockum, although he passed the autumn of each year at Utrecht as a teacher in the school of that city. An invasion of the Saxons under Widukind in 784 forced him to leave Frisia, and he went to Rome and Monte Cassino, where he spent two and a half years in the famous monastery, although he himself did not become a monk. On his return, Charlemagne, to whom he was recommended by Alcuin, gave him as a new sphere of activity the five Frisian districts of Hugmerchi, Hunusga, Fivilga, Emisga, and Federitga, as well as the island of Bank. There he worked with eminent success, extending his labors as far as Fosetesland (Heligoland), his center of administration being the abbey of Lotusa (doubtless the modern Zele, 14 m. e. of Ghent). After the country of the Saxons had become so far pacified that the establishment of bishops became feasible, Liudger, who seems previously to have declined the bishopric of Treves, was consecrated to the see of southern Westphalia with his episcopal seat at Mimigernaford, the modern Münster, his diocese including the five Frisian districts in which he had formerly labored. The precise date of this event is uncertain, but in Jan., 802, a document terms him abbot, the first to designate him bishop being dated Apr. 23, 805. Of his episcopal activity little is known. He built a cathedral at Mimigernaford and probably erected a church of the Virgin at Ueberwasser. His chief foundation, however, was the monastery of Werden on the Ruhr, but here again the date is unknown, although a document of May 1, 801, shows that the relics which he had brought from Rome were already there. The only literary work of Liudger was his biography of his teacher Gregory (ASB, Aug., v. 254).

Later tradition made Liudger a Benedictine and asserted that he baptised Widukind, calling him by his own name. A reminiscence of this legend is found in the third "adventure" of the Nibelungenlied, where the Saxon duke is called Liudegêr. He is also connected traditionally with the diocese of Halberstadt, of which his brother Hildegrim, really bishop of Châlons and rector of Werden, is said to have beenbishop, while Liudger himself is described as establishing the Liudgeristift in Helmstadt, although this seems to have been merely a colony from Werden, founded in the beginning of the tenth century with Liudger as its patron saint.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Special study has been made of the sources by W. Diekamp, who has collected the early Vitæ in Geschichtsquellen des Bisthums Münster, vol. iv., Münster, 1881, also published separately, ib. 1882. The Vitæ are collected with less completeness, with commentary, in ASB, Mar., iii. 626-661; in MPL, xcix. 769-796; and ed. G. H. Pertz, in MGH, Script., ii (1829), 403-425. Modern discussions are: C. Krimphove. Leben und Wirken des heiligen Ludgerus, Münster, 1860; idem, Der heilige Ludgerus, ib. 1886; A. Hüsing, Der heilige Liudger, ib. 1878; L. T. W. Pingsmann Der heilige Liudgerus, Freiburg, 1879; K. F. von Richthofen, Untersuchungen über friesische Rechtsgeschichte, ii. 1, pp. 376 sqq., 398 sqq., Berlin, 1882; G. F. Maclear Apostles of Mediæval Europe, pp. 143-150, London, 1888; E. Knodt, Sturm, Ansgar, Liudger, Gütersloh, 1900 Histoire littéraire de la France, iv. 359-362, v. 659-661; Hauck, KD, ii. 317 sqq., 369 sqq.; DCB, iii. 729-731; Neander, Christian Church, iii. 79-81; Ceillier, Auteurs sacrés, xii, 218, xiii. 66.



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