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Santa Matilde di Germania Regina – 14 marzo

Santa Matilde di Germania Regina

14 marzo

Engern, Sassonia, 895 circa – Quedlinburgo, Sassonia, 14 marzo 968

Da lei e da suo marito Enrico I (duca di Sassonia e più tardi re di Germania) discende la casata che conterà quattro imperatori: la famosa dinastia sassone. Educata nel monastero di Herford, in Westfalia, dove sua nonna era badessa, Matilde sa leggere e scrivere, un fatto non frequentissimo nelle grandi casate del tempo, e non si mantiene estranea alle vicende della politica. Quando nel 936 muore suo marito Enrico, lei non è molto favorevole al primogenito Ottone come successore e tenta di far proclamare re il più giovane Enrico. Si arriva a un conflitto tra i due fratelli. Dopo l’incoronazione imperiale di Ottone a Roma (962) la famiglia è riconciliata. Matilde si ritira nel monastero di Nordhausen, dove, dopo essersi spesa per i poveri e i malati, si ammala, e più tardi si trasferisce in un altro monastero: a Quedlimburgo, in Sassonia dove morirà. (Avvenire)

Etimologia: Matilde = forte in guerra, dal tedesco

Emblema: Corona, Globo, Scettro, Borsa di denaro, Modellino di chiesa

Martirologio Romano: A Quedlinburg in Sassonia, in Germania, santa Matilde, che, moglie fedelissima del re Enrico, fu insigne per umiltà e pazienza e si prodigò generosamente nell’assistenza ai poveri e nella fondazione di ospedali e monasteri.

Santa Matilde, discendente del duca Viduchindo, che aveva guidato i sassoni nella loro lunga battaglia contro Carlo Magno, nacque verso l’895 presso Engern in Sassonia da Teodorico, un conte della Westfalia, e da Rainilde, originaria della real casa danese. Ben presto Matilde fu affidata alle cure della nonna paterna, badessa di Herford, sotto la cui guida crebbe sana e forte, divenendo una donna bella, istruita e devota. Felice si rivelò il matrimonio con il figlio del duca Ottone di Sassonia, Enrico, detto “l’uccellatore” per la sua passione nella caccia del falco. Subito dopo la nascita del loro primogenito Ottone, Enrico succedette al padre e verso il 919, quando re Corrado di Germania morì senza prole, eredito anche il trono tedesco.

A causa delle frequenti guerre Enrico si allontanava spesso da casa e sia lui che i suoi sudditi attribuivano le vittorie conseguite alle preghiere ed al coraggio della regina Matilde, che nel suo palazzo conduceva a tutti gli effetti una vita monacale, generosa e caritatevole verso tutti. Suo marito nutriva nei suoi confronti una cieca fiducia e difficilmente si prendeva la briga di controllare le sue elemosine o si risentiva per le sue pratiche religiose. Nel 936, rimasta vedova, Matilde si spogliò immediatamente di tutti i suoi gioielli rinunciando ai privilegi tipici del suo rango.

Dall’unione tra Enrico e Matilde erano nati cinque figli: Enrico il Litigioso, il futuro imperatore Ottone I, San Bruno arcivescovo di Colonia, Gerburga moglie del re Luigi IV di Francia ed Edvige madre di Ugo Capeto. Enrico avrebbe preferito lasciare il trono al fratello Ottone, ma Matilde tentò di convincere i nobili ad eleggere comunque lui, suo prediletto, ma infine la spuntò Ottone. Enrico inizialmente si ribellò al fratello, ma infine riconobbe la sua supremazia e questi allora, per intercessione di Matilde, lo perdonò e lo nominò duca di Baviera. Suo figlio divenne poi imperatore col nome di Enrico II alla morte di Ottone I.

La regina Matilde conduceva una vita assai austera ed a causa delle sue ingenti elemosine si attirò le ire dei figli: Ottone la accusò infatti di sperperare il tesoro delal corona, le richiese un rendiconto delle sue spese e la fece spiare per tenere sotto controllo ogni suo movimento, ma con suo grande dolore anche il figlio favorito Enrico si schierò con il fratello appoggiando la proposta di far entrare la madre in convento onde evitare ulteriori danni al patrimonio familiare. Matilde sopportò con estrema pazienza tuttò ciò, constatando amaramente come i suoi figli si fossero riappacificati solo per perseguire i loro interessi a suo discapito. Lasciò allora tutta la sua eredità ai figli e si ritirò nella residenza di campagna ove era nata.

Era però destino che la Germania non potesse fare ameno di questa santa donna: appena partita, infatti, Enrico cadde ammalato e sorsero nuovi problemi politici. Sotto pressione del clero e dei nobili, la moglie di Ottone convinse questi a chiedere perdono alla madre, a restituirle il maltolto e richiamarla a partecipare agli affari di stato. Matilde tornò così a corte e riprese anche le sue opere di carità. Enrico continuò comunque ad essere per lei fonte di tormenti: si ribellò nuovamente al fratello Ottone e soppresse in modo sanguinoso una ribellione dei suoi sudditi bavaresi. Nel 955, quando Matilde lo vide per l’ultima volta, ne predisse la morte ed invano lo invitò a tornare sui suoi passi prima che fosse troppo tardi. Ottone invece mostrò rinnovata fiducia nella regina madre, lasciando a lei tutto il potere quando nel 962 dovette recarsi a Roma per ricevere la corona imperiale.

L’ultima riunione di famiglia ebbe luogo tre anni dopo a Colonia, in occasione della Pasqua, poi Matilde si ritirò definitivamente nei monasteri da lei fondati, in particolare a Nordhausen. Verso la fine del 967 una febbre che la disturbava ormai da tempo si aggravò ulteriormente e Matilde, presagendo la sua prossima fine, mandò a cercare Richburga, sua ex dama di compagnia ed ora badessa di Nordhausen, per spiegarle che doveva partire per Quedlinburg, luogo scelto con suo marito per la loro sepoltura. Nel gennaio 968 dunque si trasferì e suo nipote, Guglielmo di Magonza, le fece visita per darle l’assoluzione e l’estrema unzione. Desiderando ricompensarlo, non le restò però che donargli il suo sudario prevedento che ne avrebbe avuto bisogno prima lui: Guglielmo morì infatti dodici giorni prima di lei.

La santa regina spirò il 14 marzo 968 e le sue spoglie mortali erano state appena deposte in chiesa quando giunse una coperta intessuta d’oro mandata dalla figlia Gerburga per adornare il feretro. Il corpo di Matilde venne sepolto accanto a quello del marito e subito iniziò la venerazione popolare nei suoi confronti. Nelle diocesi tedesche di Paderborn, Fulda e Monaco è ancora oggi particolarmente vivo il suo culto. L’iconografia è solita raffigurare Santa Matilde con in mano il modelino di una chiesa o una borsa di denaro, simboli della sua generosità e delle sue fondazioni monastiche, quali Poehlde, Enger, Nordhausen e ben due presso Quedlinburgo.

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