Acharius of Noyon B (AC)
Died 640. In 621, Saint Acharius, a monk of Luxeuil under Saint Eustace, was chosen bishop of Noyon-Tournai. During his episcopacy he fostered the missionary efforts of Saint Amandus of Maestricht and obtained from King Dagobert I the erection of the see of Térouanne, in which he installed his friend Saint Omer as abbot (Benedictines).
Blessed Angelus Sinesio, OSB Abbot (PC)
Born in Catania, Sicily; died c. 1386. He joined the Benedictines at San Martino della Scala in Palermo, and influenced all the Sicilian Benedictine abbeys in restoring monastic observance (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Antony Kimura & Companions MM (AC)
(also known as Antony Chimura)
Died 1619; beatified in 1867. Blessed Antony Kimura, Bartholomew Xeki, John Ivanango, John Montajana, Leo Nacanixi, Michael Takexita, and Thomas Cotenda were all born into Japanese royal family of Firando. (Antony is also a relative of Blessed Leonard Kimura (November 18), who was burned to death at Nagasaki.) All six native laymen and four other companions were beheaded at Nagasaki. Antony was only 23; Michael, described as a man of most amiable character, only 25. Thomas was educated by the Jesuits and lived in exile at Nagasaki until his beheading (Benedictines).
Apollinaris of Monte Cassino, OSB, Abbot (PC)
Died 828. The 14th abbot of Monte Cassino, he governed the archabbey for 11 years. He has always been greatly venerated at Monte Cassino (Benedictines)
Barlaam & Josaphat (Joasaph) (RM)
Fictional characters. How should we understand the mythical saints? Puritanical people sometimes become indignant over them, but these fabulous saints have a profound significance. They are the nursery tales of the Church, they testify to its antiquity, and to the wonderful creative power which can take the old, deep things of human nature and consecrate them. "For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." They are the heirlooms of the Church, like the vestments which were once no stranger than the everyday clothing of a Roman gentleman.
Their names suggest that Barlaam and Josaphat came from the Far East, which indeed they did. Their story is a fable containing the entire text of the apologia for Christianity of the 2nd-century Saint Aristides the Athenian, which may otherwise have been lost. The present text of the story was included as a moral tale in Gesta Romanorum, traditionally assigned to Saint John Damascene and repeated by the wandering monks. It is a version of the legend of Siddhartha Buddha.
The story relates that Josaphat (Joseph) was the son of an Indian king, who kept the young man confined in close quarters to prevent him from becoming a Christian. He was nevertheless converted by an ascetic named Barlaam, who disguised himself as a merchant and converted the boy. Eventually Josaphat resigned his throne to become a hermit with Barlaam. There is a genuine Barlaam of Antioch, who was martyred c. 304 (Attwater, Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopedia, Sheppard).
You will recognize Barlaam in art as a man in a tree, clinging to it as he grasps at a beehive. Below him is a pit containing a dragon. A mouse gnaws through the tree. One painting shows the two saints praying in a cave (Roeder).
Basileus, Auxilius & Saturninus MM (RM)
Dates unknown. Basileus, a bishop of an unknown see, was put to death at Antioch, Syria, together with Auxilius and Saturninus. Nothing further is known about them (Benedictines).
Blessed Bernardinus of Fossa, OFM (AC)
(also known as Bernardino Amici)
Born in Fossa, diocese of Aquila, Italy; died in Aquila, 1503. In 1445, Bernardino Amici was received the Franciscan habit in the Obsesrvant branch. After filling successfully several offices in the order, he embarked on a career of mission-preaching throughout Italy, Dalmatia, and Bosnia, and died while engaged in this apostolate (Attwater 2, Benedictines).
Bilhild of Altenmünster, OSB Widow (AC)
Born near Würzburg, Germany, c. 630; died in Mainz, c. 710. Saint Bilhild married the duke of Thuringia. After his death, she became the abbess-founder of Altenmünster Abbey in Mainz (Mayence), where her uncle was the bishop (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Cungar, Abbot (AC)
(also known as Congar, Cumgar, Cyngar, Docco)
Born in Devon; 6th century; feast day formerly on November 7 (although this could be a different saint). There may be several saints with this name or only one with two names. It's difficult to determine because of the paucity of documentary evidence. His vita was not produced until the 9th century, and it is moralistic rather than historical in nature. Nevertheless the memory of Saint Cungar survives in the monasteries he founded at Budgworth, Congresbury (Somerset) and at Llangonys (Glamorgan). There are dedications to this Celtic saint in Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany, and legends that suggest his was one of the great monks who evangelized throughout the Celtic lands. It is amazing that his name survived the influx of the heathen Saxons in his day, which again leads to the conclusion that he was an especially great missionary preacher. He is to be identified with Saint Docuinus (Doguinus). This seems to be the name that was later corrupted into Oue and Kew. Saint Cumgar was buried at Congresbury according to many medieval records including pilgrim guides, to which town his own name was given. His feast is celebrated in the diocese of Clifton (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Farmer).
Edwold of Cerne, Hermit (AC)
Died 871; Farmer gives him two feast days: August 29 and the feast of his translation, August 12. Saint Edwold is reputed to be the brother of Saint Edmund the Martyr, king of East Anglia. He lived on bread and water as a penitential recluse near Cerne in Dorsetshire. He worked many miracles and was buried in his cell near which the abbey of Saint Peter's was built. His relics were later translated into its church (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer).
Facundus and Primitivus MM (RM)
Born at León, Spain; died c. 300. Saints Facundus and Primitivus were beheaded by the River Cea, where the town of Sahagun now stands. At a later period the great Benedictine abbey of Sahagun (Sant Facun) arose, around which grew the present township called after Saint Facundus (Attwater 2, Benedictines).
Fergus B (AC)
(also known as Fergustus, Fergusianus)
Died after 721; feast formerly on November 18. An Irish bishop, possibly of Downpatrick, and surnamed "the Pict," he went to Scotland as a missionary and preached in Caithness, Buchan (where there is a town called Saint Fergus), and Forfarshire. In Strogeth he founded three churches; in Caithness, two (presumably Wick and Halkirk). He may also have established churches at Inverugy, Banff, and Dyce.
He finally settled at Strathearn, Perthshire, where he exerted a powerful influence in the area between Aberdeen and Wick. Saint Fergus is buried at Glamis, a central location of William Shakespeare's Macbeth and where a cave and well bear his name. During the reign of James IV (1488-1513), the abbot of Scone removed the head of Fergus and built a splendid marble tomb for his body relic at Glamis. Aberdeen had an arm relic.
He may be the same as Fergustus, bishop of the Scots, who signed the Acts of the synod in Rome in 721, which condemned irregular marriages of various kinds, sorcerers, and clerics who grew their hair long.
In the Aberdeen breviary he is called Fergustian. The feast of Saint Fergus, who was highly venerated by the Scottish kings, is kept in the dioceses of Dunkeld and Aberdeen. Although the Reformers attempted to suppress his cultus, Montague states that it is still growing, especially in the area around Paisley in Renfrewshire. A new church has been dedicated to his memory and the nearby town of Ferguslie is reputed to have been named after him (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Montague).
Francis Antony of Lucera (RM)
(also known as Antony Fasani)
Born at Lucera, Apulia, Italy, on August 6, 1681; died November 29, 1742; beatified by Pope Pius XII on April 15, 1951; canonized by John Paul II April 13, 1986.
Donato Anthony John Nicholas Fasani was born into a family of farm laborers. Although he was baptized with this august name, he was known simply as Giovanniello (Johnny). His mother remarried after his father died while Giovanniello was still very young. It was Giovanniello's stepfather who sent him to the Friars Conventual for his education. At age 15, the little saint was sent to Monte Gargano to begin his novitiate. Upon making his profession as a Franciscan on August 23, 1696, he took the name Francis Antony.
In 1703, Francis Antony was sent to Assisi, where he was ordained to the priesthood on September 11, 1705. He completed his master's degree in theology at the College of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. From that time he was called "Father Master" in his hometown, where he taught theology from 1707. At the convent of Lucera, he also served as guardian, novice master, and minister provincial of the Province of Sant'Angelo.
Although his scholarship was great, he was better known for his preaching in both the city and countryside. He spoke in a way that all who heard him could understand and directed his catechetical efforts to the poor. He produced several volumes of sermons, which include some in Latin. Francis Antony was devoted to the downtrodden: the poor, the suffering, and the imprisoned. He often accompanied those condemned to death to their execution.
Francis Antony promoted devotion to the Immaculate Conception, which was his own special love at a time when the dogma had not yet been defined. He had brought from Naples a statue of the Immaculate Conception that he put in the church of Saint Francis, and he wrote hymns for the people to sing before it. This statue is still an object of veneration in Lucera. He also established a novena to Our Lady under this appellation. On November 29, the first day of this novena, Francis Antony died, a man revered and loved as another Saint Francis of Assisi (Attwater 2, Walsh).
Gallgo of Wales, Abbot (AC)
6th century. A Welsh saint, founder of Llanallgo in Anglesey (Benedictines).
Goustan, OSB (AC)
Died 1040. Saint Goustan, a Benedictine at Saint-Gildas, originated in Ouessant, Brittany (Encyclopedia).
Gregory of Sinai
Born near Smyrna, c. 1290; died in Bulgaria, 1346; canonized by the Orthodox Church.
After being carried off from his home in a raid by Seljuk Turks, and ransomed by his neighbors, this Gregory joined the monks of Mount Sinai. In consequence of disagreements he left there, and while in Crete learned the practice of mental prayer from another monk. Coming to Mount Athos, he was disappointed to find its inhabitants knew little of 'true silence and contemplation,' so he set about teaching his ideas on prayer to the monks and solitaries. Then another piratical raid drove him away from Athos.
At length, about 1325, he established a monastery on Mount Paroria, near Sozopol on the west coast of the Black Sea; he lived there for the rest of his life, though not without further disturbance from the Turks. Gregory wrote little, but his teaching had considerable influence in the Orthodox Church. He emphasized the importance of physical aids (e.g., rhythmical breathing) to perfect concentration in mental prayer, which was part of the technique of Palamite Hesychasm (Attwater).
Hirenarchus (Hiernarchus), Acacius & Comps. MM (RM)
Died c. 305. Martyrs of Sebaste in Armenia. They include Acacius, a priest, seven women, and Hirenarchus, converted on witnessing the courage of the other martyrs (Benedictines).
Blessed Humilis of Bisignano, OFM (AC)
Born in Bisignano, Calabria, Italy, 1582; died 1637; beatified in 1882. Humilis was an Observant Franciscan lay-brother so widely known for his sanctity that he was called to Rome, where both Pope Gregory XV and Urban VIII consulted him. In addition to his wisdom, Humilis possessed the gift of working miracles (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
James Intercisus M (RM)
Died 421. 'Intercisus' means 'cut to pieces,' which is precisely what happened to James, a courtier of the Persian King Yezdigerd I in 421. How much of the legend is true, we're not sure. It seems that it is comprised of the stories of three martyrs who died about the same time: James Intercisus, Mar Peros, and James the Notary. Once again we are reminded of the opening line of H. P. Van der Speeten's The Life of Saint Catherine of Alexandria: "Legend knows what history doesn't."
King Yezdigerd began to persecute Christians in 420. To his later shame, James of Beit decided it was politically expedient to apostatize from Christianity. When Yezdigerd died, the parents (or mother and wife) of the faithless courtier wrote to their son:
"We have been told that you have abandoned the eternal God so that you might win the favor of an earthly king and the possession of the perishable riches of this world. We have only one question to ask you, and please answer it. This king, for whom you made so great a sacrifice, where is he now? He is dead, like any other man. He is dust. What can you expect to receive from him now? Can he save you from eternal torture? If you persevere in your apostasy, you will, like him, fall into the hands of an avenging God, and we will withdraw from you just as you have withdrawn from God. We ourselves want nothing more to do with you. It is all over. We no longer exist for you."
Ashamed, James quit the court of Yezdigerd's successor, King Bahram. Learning the James had become a Christian again, Bahram debated with his counsellors what to do with James, and they decreed that unless he once again denied his faith, the saint should be hung from a beam and his body slowly cut to pieces. Those commissioned to perform this cruel deed tried to make him give way. "This supposedly painful death is but little to pay for eternal life," replied James.
In 448, when the Christian Mar Peros apostatized to save his skin, he was treated by his family in the same way. Filled with remorse, he loudly proclaimed his Christian faith, was denounced, and executed.
Those are the principal variants of the great legend of James Intercisus, though, he never really had to repent because he never denied his faith.
James of Karka was a good-looking, 20-year-old notary to king Bahram V. His heart was dedicated to God and he remarked, off-handedly as people do, that he would rather be cut into small pieces than to say "yes" to men and "no" to God. One day he and 15 others were imprisoned for the faith, interrogated and tortured. But James stood his ground and so did the others thanks to his example.
All winter they had to care for the king's elephants--quite a change from court life. In the spring, after celebrating Lent and Easter in the silence of their prison cells, they were sent to work on the new road that was being built to the king's summer residence. They worked like slaves, cutting rocks and breaking stones, whipped and harassed by the overseers. "I would rather be cut up into small pieces. . . ." James would remind himself.
When the king ordered them to apostatize, they bowed down with oriental politeness, but refused. After this, their punishments were increased. They were made to work barefoot and given less to eat. But the crew of Christians stood firm. Then they were handed over to Mihrschabur, who boasted that he would make them renounce their faith without the help of blows or executions.
One night he stripped them naked, bound them hand and foot, and left them on a mountain. After a week many had lost consciousness and their resolve was weakened. Mihrschabur repeated, "Worship the sun, or you will be dragged by your feet through the mountains, and your bodies will be torn to pieces on the stones until only your bones will be left at the end of the rope."
"But what does that matter?" thought James. "Christ died for us, and he lives in us. Some of his companions relented and worshipped the sun (though they later repented). Soon only James was left resolute in his faith.
He, however, was released with the apostates and with energized zeal went to comfort the bishops who had suffered in the persecutions. His house was used as a secret church until the day when a spy among his friends told the king that James had not abjured the faith.
And so one day the police knocked on James' door. "So you still have not given up your faith?" "God preserve me from doing so! I never denied it, and never will. My faith is my life, just as it was the life of my fathers." And so James was again arrested.
In prison he was beaten unmercifully and tortured in other ways, but he still refused to deny Christ. According to the Syrian text this took place during the winter, when the skies were heavy with rain. When ordered by the judge to worship the sun, he responded, "Are you blind? Show me the sun that you want me to worship."
"And where is the God that you worship," asked the judge.
"You are not worthy to know it. But so that you won't think me a fool, let me tell you that my God is invisible in his nature and divinity. He shows himself to his people by his grace, providence, and aid. He lives in the souls of those who believe in him."
"Silence!" shouted the judge. "Do you refuse to worship the fire which you can see before you?"
"Order your people to carry the fire out into the rain. If it continues to burn, and is not put out by the rain, then I will admit that you are right. But if the clouds hide the sun and the rain puts out the fire, then the sun and the rain are not God, they are only our servants."
Furious the judge replied, "You are insulting the king who worships and serves fire!"
James answered calmly, "Let the king worship the God who gave him his life, his crown, and his power."
When King Bahram heard of this, he had James brought before him and said: "Haven't you abjured the faith of the Nazarene?"
"No," replied James, calmly and resolutely, "I have not, and I never will. I would rather be cut up into small pieces. . . ." Then the king interrupted with authority, "Very well, you shall be delivered to the torture of the nine deaths."
James didn't flinch for he had been preparing himself to bear witness to Jesus. He humbly reminded the king that his father, Jezdgerd, had also persecuted the Christians and that he had died abandoned by everyone and without burial, a terrible fate.
The writ was signed--it had been prepared a long time ago. James, the rebel against Mazdaism, was handed over to a eunuch assisted by two high priests and a secretary. Along the road that led to the place of torture (the road of Slik-Charobta) the crowd called out for him to obey the king and save his life.
Their efforts were futile for James had long preferred the eternal life of Jesus Christ to the pleasures of short-lived youth. The little group of Christian brothers followed the turbulent crowd in silence. When they arrived at the place of torture, a song rose up, like a choir of old, the song of the Church at prayer:
"O Lord, mighty God, you who give strength to the weak and health to the sick, you who give life to the infirm and the dying, you who save those who are perishing, come to the aid of your servant and make him emerge the victor of this fearful fight. May he triumph for your glory, O Christ, Prince of victors, King of martyrs!"
James prayed in silence and then offered his body to the executioner. So they began slowly to cut pieces from his body. When they cut off his thumb, he began to pray: "O Savior, receive a branch of this tree. Let it die, corrupt in the grave and bud again, before being covered in glory."
His fingers were cut off--the first death. Many Christians and others in the crowd begged James to give way. But the saint said, "When I had all my fingers and could write and work I did not abjure my faith. Why should I now?"
They cut off his toes--the second death; and his hands, the third. Still James continued to pray, offering each hacked off piece of his body to God. Raising his amputated wrists to heaven, he offered to God everything that was good that this divine gift of human hands could perform--the hands of artists, workers, doctors, priests, mothers--and united with Christ expiated all the evil done by human hands, including thief and murder. He saw two hands lying on the ground and thought of Christ's hands pierced for the salvation of the world.
The fourth death entailed the severing of his feet. He thought of the blessedness of those who bring the Gospel, and the evil of the feet of conquerors and invaders. Then his arms were cut off at the elbow--the fifth death--and his legs at the knees, the sixth death. The martyr, full of pain and the love of God, did not utter a cry. He looked at his bleeding limbs, then at the crowd of fainting women, crying children, laughing youths, and praying Christians. And as the Christians prayed, they thought that tomorrow it might be their turn, but that the way of the Cross was always firmly fixed in the life of a saint, in his heart and in his flesh, and that nothing was spared those who followed in the footsteps of our crucified Master.
The seventh death took his ears; the eighth, his nose. Yet the saint refused mercy and continued to pray:
"O God, you see me here with my limbs scattered. I have no fingers to clasp in prayer to you; I have no hands to stretch towards you; I have no feet nor legs nor arms. I am like a ruined house, whose walls are all that remain. O Lord, turn your anger from me and from your people! Give peace and rest to your flock that are persecuted and scattered by tyrants. Gather them together from the ends of the earth. Then I, the least of your servants, will bless and praise you with all the martyrs and confessors, from the East and from the West, from the North and from the South. Praise be to God, the Son, and Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen!"
As he said "Amen!" his head was cut off--the ninth and last death. His dead body lay in no fewer than 28 pieces, but his soul was then born into heaven. He was dead to all the sweet sights, sounds and smells of the world that give joy to life, but he was alive in God.
After his death, the Christians offered a considerable sum to obtain the martyr's relics, but were not allowed to redeem them. Nevertheless, they waited for an opportunity and carried them off by stealth. They placed all 28 pieces with the trunk and linen covered with his congealed blood into a chest or urn. The faithful buried his remains in a place unknown to the heathens.
The price of love is high. It costs little to love a little. It costs a lot more to love a lot; it costs everything to love God above all. May we all come to know this and willingly give up everything for the love of our Redeemer (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Bentley, Coulson, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Saint James is portrayed as a young man cut to pieces before the Persian king; at times he is bearded and wears a Persian cap (Roeder).
John Angeloptes B (AC)
Died 433. Bishop Saint John of Ravenna, Italy (430-433) was appointed by the pope metropolitan of Aemilia and Flaminia. The nickname Angeloptes means "the man who saw an angel." It was given to him because, according to the legend, an angel visible to him alone once came and assisted him in the celebration of Mass (Benedictines).
Maximus of Riez B (RM)
Born at Decomer (Châteauredon near Digne), Provence, France; died 460. Saint Maximus was baptized in infancy and raised in a Christian home, where he lived a reclusive life at home in order to mortify his senses and train his will. Finally he decided to enter religious life in the community of Lérins, which was then under the direction of its founder, Saint Honoratus.
When Honoratus was consecrated archbishop of Arles in 426, Maximus was chosen to be the second abbot of Lérins to succeed its founder. Saint Sidonius records that the monastery acquired a new luster because the prudent conduct and bright example of Saint Maximus were such that the monks did not mind the severities of the rule; they obeyed him cheerfully and quickly.
Maximus was also favored with the gift of working miracles which supplemented his reputation for great sanctity. So many came to consult him that he eventually had to hide in a forest to escape those seeking to make him bishop of Fréjus. Later he was promoted to the see of Riez in Provence and much against his will, in 434, received the episcopal consecration from Saint Hilary. (He had fled to the coast of Italy in an attempt to shun the dignity.) He was one of the most prominent prelates of the church of Gaul in his time. Throughout his episcopacy, he continued to wear his hair shirt and habit, and observe the monastic rule as far as it was compatible with his episcopal functions.
Among the sermons wrongly attributed to Eusebius Emisenus are several now ascribed to Saint Maximus. He attended the councils of Riez in 439, Orange I in 441, and Arles in 454. His body now rests in the cathedral of Riez, which is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and Saint Maximus (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Husenbeth).
Seachnall of Dunshauglin B (AC)
(also known as Secundinus, Sechnall)
Born c. 375; died 447. Sechnall was sent from Gaul in 439(?) to assist his uncle, Saint Patrick, in Ireland, together with Auxilius and Iserninus. He became the first bishop of Dunslaughlin in Meath, and then auxiliary bishop of Armagh. He wrote several hymns, notably the alphabetical hymn Audites, omnes amantes Deum (the oldest known Latin hymn written in Ireland) in honor of Patrick and the earliest Latin hymn in Ireland, and Sancti, venite, Christi corpus sumite (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney, Husenbeth).
Severinus of Paris, Hermit (RM)
Died c. 540. At first Saint Severinus lived as a hermit in Paris, then in a cell at Novientum near Paris (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Siffred of Carpentras B (AC)
(also known as Siffrein, Syffroy, Suffredus)
Born at Albano (near Rome); died 540 (or 660?). The Italian Saint Siffred became a monk at Lérins. Later he was bishop of Carpentras, Provence, where he is now venerated as the principal patron saint of the diocese (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Valerian of Aquileia B (RM)
Died 389. Saint Jerome called the energetic Bishop Saint Valerian of Aquileia (northern Italy) "papa." Valerian was one man whom the irascible saint admired without his usual reservations. Valerian succeeded immediately after an Arian bishop and his pontificate (369-389) was spent in combatting that heresy (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Virgil of Salzburg, OSB B (RM)
(also known as Feargal, Fearghal, Fergal, Virgilius)
Born in Ireland; died in Salzburg, Austria, November 27, c. 781-784; canonized 1233 by Pope Gregory IX.
Virgil was an Irish monk, possibly of Aghaboe, who went abroad about 740 intending to visit Palestine. With him were Dobdagrec, later abbot of a monastery at Chiemsee, and Sidonius, afterwards bishop of Passau. His learning and ability attracted the attention of Blessed Pepin the Short, who kept him at the Merovingian court for two years. About 743, Pepin sent Virgil with letters of recommendation to his brother-in- law, Duke Odilo of Bavaria, who, c. 745, appointed Virgil abbot of Saint Peter's Monastery at Salzburg, with jurisdiction over the local Christians, while Dobdagrec served its episcopal functions.
Instead of visiting Palestine he remained in Bavaria to help Saint Rupert, the apostle of Austria. For 40 years he labored to convert Teutons and Slavs, founded monasteries, churches, and schools. (In 774, the council of Bavaria issued its first pronouncement on the establishment of schools.)
Virgil appears to have been a somewhat difficult character and he incurred the strong disapproval of Saint Boniface, who seems to have detested him. (Perhaps because of differences in the interpretations of Roman observance or jurisdiction, or because Virgil succeeded John whom Boniface had as abbot of Saint Peter's, or just personal differences.) Boniface twice delated him to Rome. On the first occasion Pope Saint Zachary decided in Virgil's favor. Through carelessness or ignorance, a priest had used incorrect Latin wording during a baptism. Virgil and Sidonius ruled that the baptism was valid and need not be repeated; Boniface of Mainz disagreed. Zachary was surprised that Boniface should have questioned it and issued a statement to that effect.
The other case concerned Virgil's cosmological speculations and their implications, which, as reported to Zachary by Boniface, the pope found very shocking. In 748, the pope directed Boniface to convene a council to investigate the questionable views, but the council was never convened. The incident has been the subject of much discussion and has been used and exaggerated for polemical purposes, but in fact it is far from clear what Virgil's ideas really were. It appears that Virgil postulated that the world was round and that people might be living in what would now be called the Antipodes. He was both a man of learning and a successful missionary, and even after his cosmological views were called into question, he was consecrated bishop of the see of Salzburg (c. 766), whose cathedral he rebuilt.
Saint Virgil brought relics and the veneration of Saints Brigid and Samthann of Clonbroney to the areas he evangelized. In fact, Saint Samthann, who may have provided Virgil with his early education, is better known in Austria than in her homeland.
Among his other good works, Virgil sent fourteen missionary monks headed by Saint Modestus into the province of Carinthia, of which he is venerated as the evangelizer. He baptized two successive dukes of Carinthia at Salzburg (Chetimar and Vetune). His influence is revealed by the issuance during the time of duke Chetimar of a Carinthian coin, an old Salzburg rubentaler, with the images of Saint Rupert, who built Saint Peter's monastery, and Virgil. He fell ill and died soon after making a visitation in Carinthia, going as far as the place where the Dravo River meets the Danube.
His feast is kept throughout Ireland, although he is buried at St. Peter's in Salzburg. Virgil is widely venerated in southern Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, and northern Italy (Attwater, Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, D'Arcy, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Fitzpatrick, Gougaud, Healy, Husenbeth, Kenney, Montague).
Sometimes he is paired with Saint Rupertus in artwork (Roeder). Virgil is the patron of Salzburg, Austria (Farmer).
About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on www.saintpatrickdc.org with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.