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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

St. Kilian

Ordinary Time: July 8th

St. Kilian was an Irish monk, who migrated to Germany. Having been consecrated Bishop, he set out with his 11 companions to evangelise the land. One of his converts was the Duke of Würzburg. During one of St. Kilian's absences from the country, the duke married unlawfully, and when on his return Bishop Kilian rebuked the two strongly, the illicit wife ambushed Bishop Kilian, his faithful Priest Colman, and his faithful Deacon Totnan, and killed them. They reposed in 689 and there is record of them from the 8th century onward.

The elevation of their sacred Relics was performed by Bishop Burchard, first bishop of Würzburg. Their skulls, inlaid with precious stones, have been preserved to this day. On St Kilian's day, a glass case containing the three skulls is removed from a crypt, paraded through the streets before large crowds, and put on display in Würzburg Cathedral, which is dedicated to St. Kilian. Statues of these three saints (among others) line the famous Saints' Bridge across the river Main.

All three martyrs are revered, especially amongst German folk, on their feast of July 8, which in German lands was kept with a vigil. An Anglo-Saxon Missal formerly preserved in Germany but now destroyed gives propers for St. Kilian and the vigil day.


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