Saint Donatus of Münstereifel

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Donatus in the church of Saint Gertrude in Barweiler, Germany, date and artist unknown; photographed on 19 July 2010 by Reinhard Hauke; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsMemorial


Son of Faustus, a non-Christian, and Flaminia, a Christian; his father was saved from a severe illness by the intercession of Saint> Gervasius, and Donatus grew up in the faith. When he was 17, he became a soldier, rose through the ranks, and in his mid-20’s he was a captain in the 12th imperial Roman legion. Around the year 166, his unit was fighting Germanic tribes along the Danube river. The Romans got surrounded and cut off from supplies, including water, for days. The pagan Romans pleaded with their gods for relief, but nothing happened. Donatus finally got all the Christian soldiers together (due to persecutions of Christians, they did not call attention to themselves) and prayed, and a storm blew in; the Romans captured all the water they needed, lightning struck the German camp, and the legion chased the tribes back across the river. However, being exposed as a Christian led to Donatus being executed. Martyr.

Later legand says that in thanks for the life-saving rain, Donatus promised to lead a single life devoted to God. For his victory against the Germans, Donatus was promoted to colonel in the personal guard of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. To solidfy his devotion to the emperor by family ties, Donatus was ordered to marry the emperor’s grand-daughter Alexandria. He refused because of his vow, and when he explained why, he was identified as a Christian and executed.






Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Donatus of Münstereifel“. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 July 2018. Web. 16 June 2021. <>