Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Virgil of Ireland, Bishop of Saltzburg, Confessor

[Saint Virgilius of Salzburg]Article

Saint Virgil was born in Ireland, and distinguished at home for his learning and virtue. Travelling into France in the reign of King Pepin, he was courteously received by that prince, who kept him two years near his person, till the see of Juvave, since called Saltzburg, falling vacant, he recommended him to that bishopric, and wrote in his favour to Odilo, Duke of Bavaria, his friend and brother-in-law. Virgil trembled at the prospect, and, for two years, commissioned Dobda, a bishop whom he had brought with him from Ireland, to perform the Episcopal functions, reserving to himself only the office of preaching and instructing, till he was compelled by his colleagues to receive the episcopal consecration in 766. He rebuilt magnificently the abbey of Saint Peter at Saltzburg, of which he had been himself for some time abbot, and he translated thither the body of Saint Rupert founder of that see. This church became afterwards the cathedral. Saint Virgil baptized at Saltsburg two successive dukes of Carinthia, Chetmar, and Vetune, and sent thither fourteen preachers under the conduct of Modestus, a bishop who planted the faith in that country. Having settled the affairs of his own church, he made a visitation of that of Carinthia, as far as the borders of the Huns, where the Drave falls into the Danube. Soon after his return home he was taken ill of a slow fever, and, after a fervent preparation, cheerfully departed to our Lord on the 27th of November 784. Among the many saints who governed the see of Saltzburg, whose lives Canisius has collected, there is none to whom that church and its temporal principality are more indebted than to Saint Virgil. See his life in Canisius, and in Mabillon. Also Ware’s Writers of Ireland; Colgan, etc.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Virgil of Ireland, Bishop of Saltzburg, Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 26 November 2013. Web. 23 September 2014. <>