St Rupert is believed to have been born around the year 660 in the Gaulterritory which is in modern France. He was a member of the Merovignianroyal line. He gave a lot to the poor and spent most of his time fastingand praying. He was possibly related to the Robertians, and probably adescendant of Count palatine Chrodbert II.
Rupert did his missionary work in Germany and was accompanied by StChuniald and St Gislar. Rupert was known to be wise and a devoutdignitary when he was bishop at Worms. However, he was forced out of thecity at the end of the 7th Century by the pagan community who brutallybeat him.
After this painful rejection, Rupert made a pilgrimage to Rome and 2years later his prayers were answered. Duke Theodo of Bavaria invitedRupert to his residence at Regensburg to help restore, correct andspread the Christian faith among the Bavarian tribes. He knew thereputation of Rupert as a holy man and a good teacher of Christianity.
Rupert sent his messengers to assess the conditions in Bavaria. When helearnt that the situation in Bavaria was suitable for preaching thegospel, he accepted the Duke’s offer. The bishop who had been savagelyexiled from Worms was received with honor in the Bavarian city ofRegensburg.
Beginning of Missionary Work
Rupert started his missionary work in Altotting where he preached to thelocals. Through hard work and dedication, he managed to convert a largepopulation along the Danube River. He sailed down the river reaching theBavarian border with the Pannonian lands which were under the rule ofthe Avar Khaganate.
He lived in Lorch, the former Roman city of Lauriacum where an earlychurch already existed. Rupert abandoned his plans of work in theterritories of the Pannonian Avars because of the hostile warlikeconditions in the borderlands. He moved to the ruined city of Juvavumand established his base which he named Salzburg.
Existing Christian traditions gave him a proper foundation to establishthe Salzburg Cathedral. This work was completed by his successorVergilius. He re-established the monastic community at St Peter’sAbbey. Rupert also established the Benedictine nunnery of Nonnberg andhis niece Erentrude became its first abbess. He introduced highereducation and other reforms which promoted the development of the localsalt works.
Rupert’s missionary work spread into the Alps where he founded thefirst monastic cell at present-day Bischofshofen. His energeticdedication to establishing churches and monasteries earned Rupert thename Apostle of Bavaria and Austria. He left his mark as a successfulevangelist of the region which includes Bavaria, the homeland of PopeBenedict XVI.
Bavaria in Rupert’s days was neither fully pagan nor solidly Catholic.Although missionaries evangelised the region in the past, the localreligion tended to mix portions of the Christian faith with paganbeliefs and practices.
Death of Rupert
He died on Easter Sunday around the year 710. However, other sourcesstate that he returned to his hometown of Worms where he died in theyear 717.
- The Lutheran Calendar of Saints state that March 28 is the Feast Day
of St Rupert. However, in Austria, Feast Day is celebrated on September
- The day commemorates the transfer of his mortal remains to Salzburg
Rupert is the patron saint of the state of Salzburg and severalsettlements such as Sankt Ruprecht in Styria and Sentrupert in Slovenia.He is also the patron of salt miners.
5 Interesting Facts About St. Rupert
- St Rupert’s mortal remains were transferred to Salzburg Cathedral by
Bishop Vergilius on 24 September 774.
- Rupert served as both the bishop of Salzburg and the abbot of the
Benedictine monastery he established. This traditional pairing of the
two roles was passed on by St. Rupert’s successors until the late 10th
- Rupert, was born of a noble and royal family of the Franks, but he
was far nobler in faith and devoutness.
- He died on Easter Sunday after preaching and celebrating Mass.
- His feast day is celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on March
Prayer to St. Rupert
Dear Lord Jesus, Your holy bishop, Saint Rupert, built many sacredplaces and enabled many to learn about You and their faith through thenuns and monks that resided in these holy institutions. Through theintercession of Saint Rupert, we pray that we will build up the faiththrough our actions and love of others. Amen.