Saint Rupert

Saint Rupert

On March 27, the Catholic Church celebrates Saint Rupert, a monk and bishop whose missionary efforts established the Church in two of its ancient strongholds, Austria and Bavaria.

In addition to being a tremendously effective evangelist of the areas, including Pope Benedict XVI's native Bavaria, Rupert was also an active founder of churches and monasteries throughout his lifetime.

Rupert's early life is little known, however, it is believed to have started in the Gaul region of present-day France circa 660. There is some evidence that he descended from the Merovingian royal line, but he lived a life of prayer, fasting, austerity, and charity for the poor.

This path of life culminated in his consecration as Bishop of Worms in modern-day Germany. Despite Rupert's reputation as a learned and pious bishop, the majority of the populace was unwilling to accept him, and after severely beating him, they drove him from the city.

Rupert traveled to Rome on a pilgrimage following this terrible rejection. Two years after his banishment from Worms, his prayers were answered by a message from Duke Theodo of Bavaria, who was aware of his reputation as a devout man and a reliable teacher of the faith.

In Rupert's day, Bavaria was neither firmly Catholic nor entirely pagan. Even though the area had previously been evangelized by missionaries, the local religion tended to blend traditional pagan beliefs and rituals with elements of the Christian faith, which are frequently misinterpreted along heretical lines.

The Bavarian duke asked Rupert for assistance in reviving, rectifying, and evangelizing his homeland. Rupert consented after dispatching messengers to report back on the situation in Bavaria. Regensburg, a Bavarian city, honored the bishop who had been cruelly banished from Worms.

Rupert embarked on a lengthy mission across Bavaria and parts of modern-day Austria with the assistance of a group of priests he brought along. Many people were converted as a result of his missionary travels, and he also performed many miracles, such as healing illnesses.

Rupert and his friends constructed a large church in Salzburg that they dedicated to St. Peter, as well as a monastery that followed St. Benedict's rule. Rupert's niece went on to become the abbess of a nearby Benedictine convent.

Rupert held the dual roles of abbot of the Benedictine monastery he founded in Salzburg and bishop of Salzburg. St. Rupert's successors carried on this custom of combining the two roles, which was also present in the Irish Church with the growth of monasticism, until the latter part of the tenth century.

On March 27, 718, Easter Sunday, St. Rupert died after preaching and celebrating Mass.

Following the saint's passing, numerous churches and monasteries were named in his honor. These included the Church of St. Rupert, which is thought to be Vienna's oldest surviving church building, and Salzburg's current Cathedral of St. Rupert, commonly referred to as the "Salzburg Cathedral."

Other Saints of the Day
Saint Augusta
Saint Alexander
Saint Philetus
Saint Matthew of Beauvais
Saint John of Egypt

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