The Martyrs of Ebsdorf
The winter of 880 was one of such extreme severity that the Rhine and the Main were frozen hard. The young king Louis III, who spent Christmas at Frankfurt, has great difficulties in contending with incursions of Northmen, who were forming settlements on the Scheldt and pressing south. An army under Duke Bruno, the queen's brother, was caught on the heath of Lüneburg at Ebsdorf in Saxony and hemmed in by melting ice and snow. The pagan Northmen descended upon them where there was no place to give battle and utterly overwhelmed them, killing Bruno, together with Theodoric, or Dietrich, the saintly old bishop of Minden, and Bishop Marquard of Hildesheim, as well as eleven nobles and fourteen of the king's bodyguard and their attendants. The rest of the army were either driven into the swamps and drowned or taken prisoners. Some of the accounts say that two other bishops, Erlulf of Werden and Gosbert of Osnabrück, were among those massacred, but they were actually martyred at an earlier date. Other records give seven martyred bishops, but the whole episode has been so much mixed up with legend that it is impossible to arrive at any certainty. The relics of the martyrs were regarded with the greatest veneration in the church of the Benedictine abbey which was subsequently erected on this spot.
See J. E. Stadler, Heiligen-Lexikon, vol. v, pp. 460 seq.
Butler's Lives of The Saints, Herbert J. Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater
Nihil Obstat: PATRICIVS MORRIS, S.T.D., L.S.S., CENSOR DEPVTATVS.
Imprimatur: E. MORROGH BERNARD, VICARIVS GENERALIS
WESTMONASTERII: DIE XXIII FEBRVARII MCMLIII