Pray with Today's Saint

St. Virgil of Salzburg


St. Virgil of Salzburg was actually from Ireland—he was a pilgrim on his way to the Holy Land who stopped in Salzburg and stayed as its bishop.

As abbot of a monastery in Ireland in the eighth century, he was one of the most learned men in Europe (people called him “The Geometer” for his knowledge of geometry). He decided to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and landed in France. He spent two years wandering and traveling, but did not get any farther than Bavaria.

During a stay in Salzburg, he was appointed abbot of a monastery, a role that included administrative duties for the bishop of that diocese. He performed admirably, and was compelled to accept an appointment as bishop.

He ran into trouble with St. Boniface, who disagreed with some of his decisions and teachings and complained to the pope. These disagreements came to nothing, however, and Virgil served as an effective bishop. He rebuilt the cathedral in Salzburg even larger and more grand than it had been originally, and sent missionaries to evangelize the surrounding regions.

Virgil himself traveled to preach the Gospel to new people, as far as Hungary, and is known as the Apostle to the Slovenes. When he returned from one such journey, he fell ill and died on this date in 784. He was known for his learning and his holiness, and his feast is celebrated in Ireland and central Europe alike. St. Virgil’s image is used here with permission from

St. Virgil of Salzburg, you were the Irish abbot who left for a Holy Land pilgrimage, stopped in Salzburg, and was named bishop, pray for us!