St. Tutilo was a medieval monk who fully embodied the culture and learning of his day and presented it beautifully in his works of art.
He was born in Ireland and educated in a Benedictine monastery. He grew into a large, powerful body, and it is said that he was a formidable boxer. He joined the monastery as a monk and took on a role teaching the classics; he could preach in either Latin or Greek.
Tutilo was handsome, quick-witted, and eloquent, and it is apparent he was also a genius because he is described as a poet, orator, architect, painter, sculptor, metal worker, and mechanic. Music, apparently, was his real passion, and he learned to play all of the instruments that the abbey held. He was also an accomplished illustrator of texts, and he carved the ivory cover of the book of the Gospels shown here.
Despite his command of the arts, he was exceedingly humble. His works were of great interest, even to kings, and tried to avoid notice when he had to travel to large cities where he shared his music or applied his talent to the building of churches. He died in the year 915.
St. Tutilo, the boxing man of letters who reflected God’s beauty in his works of art, pray for us!