Today is the feast day of St. Rupert of Salzburg, who died on Easter Sunday in 718. He was bishop of Worms and Salzburg and was well known for his piety, and thus people flocked to him for direction and counsel.
While he was bishop of Worms, the duke of Bavaria (Theodo II), who had heard of Rupert’s holy reputation, called upon him to spread the Gospel to his territories. And so Rupert became bishop there, and as bishop, he was quite successful in this endeavors and converted flocks and flocks of people living on the Danube.
Rupert continued his efforts and felt called to revive the town of Juvavum, which had been Catholic but with the rise of Arianism was now falling apart; people stopped believing, and because the town was once marked so much by its Catholic identity, the people no longer wanted anything to do with it. The Theodo then gave Rupert control of this now decrepit town.
The town came to life under Rupert. Probably mostly by his prayers and example, the Catholic identity was strengthened and the people fell more and more in love with the Church.
Starting around 696, Rupert installed in Juvavum a church and monastery, a convent, a school, etc. The church and monastery he called St. Peter’s (a good saint to invoke!). For years and years, Rupert was both abbot of St. Peter’s and bishop of Juvavum, thus starting a tradition that lasted hundreds of years.
St. Peter’s abbey still stands today and is pictured to the right.
That said, Juvavum was renamed to Salzburg sometime during Rupert’s life–probably just before or right after he did all his restoration work there. Why, you ask? Catholic Exchange shares the reason:
Saint Rupert is also responsible for establishing the salt-mining industry in the city from which it is named, Salzburg. Because of his connection with this, he is often portrayed in Christian art holding a container of salt.
Interesting! So that’s what is in the container which he is holding in the picture above.
St. Rupert teaches us many lessons about the important role of piety and the importance of spreading the Word. Let’s entrust ourselves to his prayers!