Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Burckard, First Bishop of Wurtzburg, Confessor


[in Latin, Herbipolis, in Franconia] Saint Boniface standing in need of fellow-labourers powerful in words and works in the vast harvest which he had on his hands in Germany, about the year 732, invited over from England Saint Lullus and Saint Burckard, who seem by this circumstance to have come from the kingdom of West-Sex: they were both persons of an apostolic spirit. Saint Boniface consecrated Saint Burckard with his own hands the first bishop of Wurtzburg in Franconia, where Saint Kilian had preached the word of life, and suffered martyrdom about fifty years before. This whole country was by his ministry converted to Christ. Excessive fatigues having, in ten years time, exhausted his strength, with the consent of King Pepin, and by the approbation of Saint Lullus, (Saint Boniface being gone to preach in Friesland,) he resigned his bishopric to Megingand, a monk of Fritzlar, and disciple of Saint Wigbert, in 752. Retiring into a solitude in that part of his diocess called Hohenburg, he spent the remaining part of his life with six fervent monks or clergymen in watching, fasting, and incessant prayer. He died on the 9th of February, 752, and was buried near the relics of Saint Kilian at mount Saint Mary’s or Old Wurtzburg, where he had built a monastery under the invocation of Saint Andrew. Hugh, bishop of Wurtzburg, chancellor to the emperor Otho IV. authorized by an order of Pope Benedict VII about the year 983, made a very solemn translation of his relics; the 14th of October, the day on which this ceremony was performed, has been regarded as his principal festival. Out of veneration for his sanctity, King Pepin, in 752, declared the bishops of Wurtzburg Dukes of Franconia, with all civil jurisdiction. The emperor Henry IV. alienated several parts of Franconia, but the bishops of Wurtzburg retain the sovereignty of this extensive diocess, though it was much larger before Saint Henry II erected the bishopric of Bamberg. The life of Saint Burckard is written by an anonymous author above two hundred years after his death; and again, from uncertain memorials, by Egilward, a monk of Wurtzburg.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Burckard, First Bishop of Wurtzburg, Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 14 October 2013. Web. 26 January 2022. <>