Catholic Encyclopedia – Saint Othmar


(Audomar) Died 16 November 759, on the island of Werd in the Rhine, near Echnez, Switzerland. He was of Alemannic descent, received his education in Rhaetia, was ordained priest, and for a time presided over a church of Saint Florinus in Rhaetia. This church was probably identical with the one of Saint Peter at Remus, where Saint Florinus had laboured as a priest and was buried. In 720 Waltram of Thurgau appointed Othmar superior over the cell of Saint Gall. He united into a monastery the monks that lived about the cell of Saint Gall, according to the rule of Saint Columban, and became their first abbot. He added a hospital and a school; during his abbacy the Rule of Saint Columban was replaced by that of Saint Benedict. When Karlmann renounced his throne in 747, he visited Othmar at Saint Gall and gave him a letter to his brother Pepin, recommending Othmar and his monastery to the king’s liberality. Othmar personally brought the letter to Pepin, and was kindly received. When the Counts Warin and Ruodhart unjustly tried to gain possession of some property belonging to Saint Gall, Othmar fearlessly resisted their demands. Hereupon they captured him while he was on a journey to Constance, and held him prisoner, first at the castle of Bodmann, then on the island of Werd in the Rhine. At the latter place he died, after an imprisonment of six months, and was buried. In 769 his body was transferred to the monastery of Saint Gall and in 867 he was solemnly entombed in the new church of Saint Othmar at Saint Gall. His cult began to spread soon after his death, and now he is, next to Saint Maurice and Saint Gall, the most popular saint in Switzerland. His feast is celebrated on 16 November. He is represented in art as a Benedictine abbot, generally holding a little barrel in his hand, an allusion to the alleged miracle, that a barrel of Saint Othmar never became empty, no matter how much he took from it to give to the poor.

MLA Citation

  • Michael Ott. “Saint Othmar”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 November 2013. Web. 22 February 2019. <>