Saints of the Day – Coloman of Stockerau (of Melk)

detail of a fresco of Saint Koloman, Collegiate Church of Klosterneuburg, Lower Austria, date unknown, artist unknown; photographed on 5 February 2014 by BSonne; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

(also known as Colman, Colomannus)

Died in Stockerau, Austria, on October 18, 1012. Saint Coloman, an Irish or Scottish monk of royal lineage who began a penitential pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was stopped at Stockerau, about six miles from Vienna. At that time there were continual skirmishes between Austria, Moravia, and Bohemia. So the stranger, who spoke no German, was accused of being a spy and, after various tortures, hanged to death with several robbers.

For 18 months Coloman’s body remained on the gibbet, uncorrupted and unmolested by the birds and beasts – a miracle. The scaffolding itself was said to have taken root and sent forth green branches, one of which is preserved under the high altar of the Franciscan church at Stockerau. Many miracles were wrought by his incorrupt body.

Three years after Coloman’s death, Bishop Megingard translated his relics to Melk (then called Mark, the capital of the ancient Marcomans near Moravia), at the request of Marquis Saint Henry of Austria, who built a tomb for him in the imposing abbey on the Danube River in western Austria. Four popes have granted indulgences to those who pray at the shrine of Saint Coloman (or Colman?) at Melk (Paschal II, Clement VI, Innocent VI, and Leo X). Melk burned a 70-pound wax candle in 1713 in petition for the saint’s prayers against the plague that was devastating the land.

Many churches and chapels in Austria, Swabia, the Palatinate, Hungary, and Bavaria bear his name. On his feast day in Melk, hundreds of horses and cattle are brought to the abbey for Coloman’s blessing. Dozens of neighboring parishes made a pilgrimage to his chapel near W├╝rtemberg on Whitsunday until the 18th century (Benedictines, D’Arcy, Encyclopedia, Fitzpatrick, Gougaud, Husenbeth, Kenney, Tommasini).

In art, Saint Colman is a pilgrim monk with a rope in his hand. At times he may be shown (1) hanged on a gibbet; (2) with tongs and rod; and (3) as a priest with a book and maniple. He is venerated in Melk and Ireland. Colman is the patron of hanged men and horses. He is invoked against plague (Roeder) and for husbands by marriageable girls (D’Arcy).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 July 2020. Web. 19 October 2021. <>