Henry of Latvia

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Henry of Latvia is known in the English speaking world as Henry of Livonia (Latin: Henricus de Lettis, German: Heinrich von Lettland, Latvian: Latviešu Indriķis, Estonian: Läti Henrik; before 1188, Magdeburg, Landgraviate of Thuringia – after 1259 in Papendorf, Livonia (currently Rubene, Kocēni parish, Kocēni Municipality, Latvia)) was a priest, missionary and historian. He wrote the Livonian Chronicle of Henry which describes the evangelization of the regions which are now part of Estonia and Latvia during the Northern Crusades.

The chronicles say that Henry was a Catholic priest who witnessed most of events described. Henry is thought to have been born between 1180 and 1188. Henry was probably German, bearing a German forename and consistently referring to Germans as "we", but it is also possible that he came from Livonia. He had a thoroughly German and Catholic education and as a youth was attached to the household of the Prince-Bishop Albert of Buxhoeveden, was ordained a priest in 1208, founded a parish and lived out his life in peace.

Henry's Chronicles are written from a clerical point of view, that the history of the Church was the essential history of Livonia. The Chronicles may have originated as a report to the papal legate, William of Modena, to whom he was assigned as interpreter 1225 through 1227. The legate, one of the papacy's most able diplomats, was in Livonia to mediate an internal church dispute between the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, and the territorial claims of the Catholic bishops of Livonia.

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