Saint Henry II., surnamed the Lame, emperor of Germany, great-grandson of the preceding, born May 0, 972, died at Grone, near Gottingen, July 13, 1024. His surname of the Lame was derived from an accident which befell him at Pavia in 1004. He succeeded his father as duke of Bavaria in 995, was elected successor to Otho III. at Mentz, June 6, 1002, and marched immediately against Hermann of Swabia, his competitor, whom he defeated. After ravaging Swabia, Thuringia, Saxony, and Lorraine, he had himself crowned a second time at Aix-la-Chapelle; he married Cune-gunda (Kunigunde), daughter of Sigfried, first count of Luxemburg, and had her crowned at Paderborn in 1003. In the following year he passed into Italy, defeated Arduin of Ivrea, who had assumed the title of Caesar, and on May 15 was crowned in Pavia with the iron crown of the Lombard kings. Returning to Germany, he drove the Poles out of Bohemia in 1006, confirmed Stephen of Hungary in his new royal dignity in 1007, and in 1008 bestowed the duchy of Lorraine upon Godfrey, count of Ardennes. The continued ill success of his arms against Boleslas of Poland inspired him in 1011 with the resolution to embrace a monastic life; but his counsellors dissuaded him from his purpose, and he soon afterward concluded a peace with Poland and secured the frontiers of Bohemia. At this time Cune-gunda, being publicly accused of adultery, underwent the ordeal of walking on red-hot ploughshares.
In 1013 Henry defeated Arduin a second time, and having restored Pope Benedict VIII., he and Cunegunda received at his hands the imperial crown at Koine, Feb. 14, 1014. Historians accuse him of having on this occasion promised fealty to the pope, thereby sowing the seeds of future dissensions between church and state. Having pacified Lombardy, Henry returned to Germany, and on his way assumed the monastic habit in the convent of St. Vannes at Verdun, and vowed obedience to the abbot. But the latter forthwith commanded him to resume his imperial state and attend to the government of the empire. He was defeated anew by the Poles in 1015, and the war with them continued till 1018. Henry was about retiring to the cloister, when at the solicitation of the pope in 1021 he returned to Italy to repel the Saracens. In 1022 he presided at the council of Seligenstadt, and in 1023, at an interview with the king of France near Sedan, he concluded an advantageous peace. He was buried in the cathedral of Bamberg founded by himself, and with him ended the imperial Saxon line. He founded many monasteries and schools, which became centres of learning.
He was canonized by Eugenius III. in 1152, and his feast is celebrated on July 14. Cunegunda was also canonized in 1201. Henry's life, written probably by Adebold, bishop of Utrecht, was inserted with the annotations of Basnage in the Thesaurus Monumentorum Ecclesiasticorum of Canisius (Antwerp, 1725), and is reproduced in the Acta Sanctorum for July.