Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Emmeran, Bishop and Martyr

Saint Emmeramus of RegensburgArticle

The holy bishop and martyr, Saint Emmeran, was a native of Poitiers, in France. Having arrived at manhood, he was raised to the dignity of bishop on account of his virtues and knowledge. When he had been informed that in Hungary there were still a great number of idolaters, he determined to go and convert them, as his heart was burning with the desire to gain souls for heaven. To this end he went to Germany, and came to Ratisbon in Bavaria, whence he desired to continue his journey on the Danube to Hungary. Theodo I, Duke of Bavaria, informed of the bishop’s arrival, requested him most earnestly to remain, in his domains, and take care of the salvation of his subjects, as many of them were still blinded by idolatry, and others very imperfectly instructed in Christianity. The Saint, considering that he might be able to work in Bavaria for the salvation of souls as well as in Hungary, acquiesced in the Duke’s request, and immediately began to exercise his apostolic mission in the Capital. By his daily exhorting, preaching and instructing, the Christians soon had a better knowledge of their faith, while they were also inspired to perform, with more devotion, all those duties which the Church demands of her children. Those who were still in the darkness of paganism, he brought by the same means into the right path, leading them entirely away from their errors. As soon as Saint Emmeran perceived that the Capital was in an improved condition, he went into the other towns, villages and hamlets of the Duke’s dominions. Laboring there as he had done in the Capital, he saw, with great joy, that, by the grace of the Ah mighty, the result was the same. After the holy man had thus labored with unwearied zeal for three years, important affairs called him to Rome; but on his way thither, he ended his life by a cruel martyrdom. The circumstances were as follows. Uta, a daughter of the duke, had been seduced by Siegbald, a wicked youth of the nobility. As soon as she became aware of the greatness of her crime, she went to the holy bishop, and confessing her misdeeds to him, she begged him to assist her. The Saint, having first admonished her to do penance, advised her to leave her country for a time and take refuge in Italy, where he would take care of her until he had reconciled her with her father. This advice, which he had given her with the kindest intentions, he revealed to a pious priest, that the latter might know the reason why Uta followed him. After the holy bishop had commenced his journey, the unhappy Uta secretly left her home, but was soon overtaken and called to account. She confessed her intentions and her reasons for acting thus; but she laid the blame on Saint Emmeran, in order to save Siegbald from a cruel death, which would otherwise have been in store for him. She did not suppose that her father would punish the bishop; because he was already far on his journey, and on account of his high dignity. Perhaps she also thought that this falsehood would sooner secure her pardon. Landbert, a brother of Ufa blinded by rage, determined immediately to revenge the disgrace of his sister and the ducal house. Mounting his horse, he hastened after the bishop and found him at Helfendorf, still on Bavarian territory. It was three o’clock in the morning, and the Saint was at his devotions with his companions, when Landbert, with a torrent of invectives, rushed up to him. The holy bishop, to whom heaven had revealed what was to happen to him, endeavored to protest his innocence. He appealed to the Pope, saying that it was he who might judge him; but Landbert refused to listen. He had the holy man bound on a ladder, and limb after limb cut from his body, so as to make his death slow and his suffering excruciating. The unmerciful executioners did as they were ordered. They cut one finger after another from the hands of the Saint; then they cut off his ears and nose; cut out his eyes; tore his tongue from his mouth; then lopped off his hands and feet, and left him thus mutilated and weltering in his blood.

The holy bishop manifested during this barbarous martyrdom an invincible patience, prayed to God for his tormentors, and implored His aid as long as speech was left him. When Landbert and his executioners were on their way home, the companions of the bishop, who had fled, returned, and with the assistance of the inhabitants of H elf endorf, placed the body of the Saint into a vehicle and thus transported it to Aschheim, where it was buried with all due honors. God soon after brought the innocence of the bishop to light; and the many miracles which were wrought at his shrine gave incontestable evidence of it. Duke Theodo, deeply repenting of his suspicion and crime, had the holy relics brought to Ratisbon, and was present when they were placed in the chapel of Saint Gregory. He tried thus to make amends, in some measure, for the great wrong done to the Saint. Some years later, a magnificent church and monastery were erected at Ratisbon, in honor of Saint Peter and Saint Emmeran, which still exist and are widely celebrated. Uta, the slanderer, was sent by the Duke into banishment; and passed the remainder of her life in great suffering. Landbert, the ferocious man. fled to Hungary, where he died in great misery.

Practical Considerations

Saint Emmeran, desiring to win souls for heaven, travelled into foreign lands, and labored there until his end for the salvation of men. God does not demand of you that you should journey into foreign lands for the same reason; you can gain, in your own house, or at the place where you live, many a soul, by leading others to follow your example in the right path, and keeping them from evil. Should you not have opportunity to do this, save, at least your own soul and secure your future life by your Christian conduct. Let neither inordinate love for your own body, nor any other temptation induce you to place your soul in danger of losing everlasting life. For if your soul is unhappy, your body will be unhappy. And what will all else that you have acquired with so much pains, avail you, if your soul goes to perdition? If it is once lost, no help can reach it. “Nothing is more precious than the soul of man,” says Saint Lawrence Justinian, “because it is adorned with the likeness of the Almighty, and bought with the blood of Christ. Whoever has once lost it, cannot in all eternity regain it.” “For what does it profit a man,” are the well known, but never sufficiently pondered words of the Saviour, “what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Matthew 16) What does it profit? “What hath pride profited us?” say the condemned in hell, “or what advantage hath the boasting of riches brought us? All those things are passed away like a shadow.” (Wisdom 5) The reprobates now understand well that the gain of a whole world is nothing in comparison with the loss which we suffer in our souls by sin. The gain passes, but the loss remains for ever. This knowledge has however, come too late and is of no use to them. Do you take advantage of it, as it may still be of use to you. Desire nothing that may injure your soul, as you may eternally and uselessly regret it with the condemned in hell.

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Emmeran, Bishop and Martyr”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 6 May 2018. Web. 22 January 2019. <>