SAINTS

MARCH 27: ST. RUPERT OF SALZBURG

(660- 710)

Tradition states that Rupert was a descendent of the first kings of France (the Merovingians). Though regarded for his wisdom and devoutness, he was forced to leave his post as bishop of Worms by the largely pagan population there.

He was invited by the duke of Bavaria to spread Christianity among the people of his land and so he moved to place called Altotting and began his missionary work.

Using the Danube as his highway, he traveled its course making converts along the way. When he ran into the warlike conditions along the Bavarian border, he proceeded along an ancient Roman road which took him to the ruined city of Juvavum. There he established a base and renamed the place Salzburg.

Rupert was able to build on early Christian traditions that already were in place. He re-established the monastic community at St. Peter’s Abbey and laid the foundations of Salzburg Cathedral, which was finished by his successor Vergilius. He also founded the Benedictine nunnery of Nonnberg beneath the Festungsberg fortifications (later Hohensalzburg Fortress), where his niece Erentrude became the first abbess.

Rupert also introduced higher education and other reforms. From Duke Theodo of Bavaria his bishopric received estates around Piding and Reichenhall, where he promoted the development of the local saltworks. Rupert’s mission work also spread into the Alps, where the first monastic cell (Cella Maximiliana) was founded at present-day Bischofshofen about 711.

Some chroniclers say that Rupert died on Easter Sunday circa 710. According to other sources, he returned to his hometown of Worms, where he died in 717. His mortal remains were transferred to Salzburg Cathedral by Bishop Vergilius on Sept. 24, ­­­774.

Rupert is the patron saint of the state of Salzburg, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg (together with his successor Vergilius), and of the adjacent Bavarian Rupertiwinkel region. He is also known as the “Apostle of the Bavarians” and is patron of several settlements, such as Sankt Ruprecht in Styria and Šentrupert in Slovenia, and of numerous church buildings.

Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: Online, C. (n.d.). St. Rupert of Salzberg – Saints & Angels. Catholic Online. Retrieved March 15, 2021, from https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=893