Millennium of St. Bruno
On October 30th 1910, residents of Giżycko ceremonially consecrated a cross commemorating the martyr death of Saint Bruno of Quefurt. The cross was localized on a hill which, in the awareness of contemporary people, functions as St. Bruno Hill - the possible place of death of the bishop and the missionary and his companions but also the destination of annual processions and place of ecumenical meetings of Christians who live in or visit the Mazury region. St. Bruno was born in 974 in the Quefurt Castle near Merseburg. Having been related to the Ludolfing dynasty, already in his youth he met emperor Otto III. With his help, he went to Rome where in 999 he made monastic vows and took the name of Boniface. His contacts with Benedictine circles, and especially with Saint Rornuald decided of the last 10 years of his life. In 1001, he became involved in the idea of a new mission in Prussia which had been suggested by King Boleslav the Brave. Stopped by the outbreak of Boleslav's war with the new Emperor Henry II, but already as a mission metropolitan bishop. Saint Bruno started his activity in Hungary. In 1006, he reached Poland, and later Russia at the court of Vladimir the Great, with the task to establish a mission among the Pechenegs. He probably returned to Boleslav the Great's court already in 1008 with the intention to continue the mission of Saint Wojciech. Three of his written works date back to that period: the Life of Saint Bruno, A Letter to Emperor Henry II, the Life of Five Camaldolese Monks. At the same time, Saint Bruno became the first known author to not only write about Poland but also create in Poland. The fact whether he went to Prussian lands or that of Lytycy or Sudovia will probably remain a mystery for other generations of historians. According to reports by Wipert, the only surviving member of the expedition, Saint Bruno, the bishop and 18 of his companions died martyr deaths on March 9th 1009 having previously baptized the Nethimer leader and his closest circles. Saint Bruno was an advocate and consistent continuator of Otto's vision of reconciliation between the Eastern and Western civilizations, an advocate of peace among nations and a person who contributed enormously to evangelization of nations and development of culture.
Despite passing ages, the idea of reconciliation among nations, between the East and West, turned out to be the longest lasting heritage of Saint Bruno. It is proved by great numbers of people participating in the annual Saint Bruno Fair; residents of Giżycko and Quefurt also develop their partnership in this spirit with joint millennium celebrations aimed to be its symbolic coping stone.