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St. Virgilius of Salzburg

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Feastday: November 27
Birth: 700
Death: 784

Benedictine bishop, also called Vergilius, Virgil, Ferghil, and Feargal. A native of Ireland, he entered a monastery and probably served as abbot of Aghaboe before setting out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He then spent two years in France, later going to Bavaria, Germany, where he assisted St. Rupert, the Apostle of Austria. He was elected abbot of the Benedictine abbey of St. Peter at Salzburg and bishop of the city about 765. A noted intellectual, he believed that the earth was a sphere, which brought him into conflict with St. Boniface of Mainz who twice denounced him to Rome. Both times Virgilius was exonerated, and his reputation as an Apostle of Carinthia (modern southern Austria), where he conducted missionary labors, was unblemished. Besides rebuilding the cathedral of Salzburg, he encouraged a vast missionary venture into Carinthia. Virgilius died after returning from one such mission on November 27, in Salzbwg. He was canonized in 1232.


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