Saint Othmar

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Saint Othmar, O.S.B. (or Otmar)
Otmar von St-Gallen2.jpg
Born c. 689
supposedly near Saint Gallen, Switzerland
Died c. 759
Werd Island, Lake Constance, Switzerland
Honored in

Roman Catholic Church,

Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized 864, Constance, Switzerland by Solomon I, Bishop of Constance
Major shrine Saint Gallen
Feast 16 November
Attributes Crozier and wine barrel
Patronage City of Saint Gall (together with Saint Gallus)

St. Othmar, O.S.B., (c. 689 – c. 759) was a monk and priest appointed as the first abbot of the Abbey of St. Gall, a Benedictine monastery around which grew up the town of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Othmar rebuilt the hermitage in which the Irish monk Saint Gall had lived and he is called the founder of the monastery at that site. As part of the Carolingian dynasty's reform movement of Church institutions, he introduced the Benedictine Rule, which was in effect until the secularization and closure of the monastery in 1805. It is also assumed that he founded the monastery school of the abbey, which was to become the foundation upon which the famous Stiftsbibliothek (Monastery library) was built. Abbot Othmar also provided for the needs of the surrounding community, building an almshouse and a hospital, as well as the first leprosarium in Switzerland.

He died in exile on the small island of Werd in Lake Constance due to false accusations by two neighboring nobles. He is buried in St. Gallen, where his body was secretly moved ten years after his death. It is said that his body was still completely intact when he was taken over Lake Constance to the town of Steinach and farther on to St. Gallen. As the weather was very hot when the men rowed his body over the lake, they became extremely thirsty. Legends say that the only barrel of wine they had left did not become empty, regardless of how much they drank. Therefore the wine barrel became one of his attributes (beside the abbot's crozier).

He was canonized in 864 by Solomon I, Bishop of Constance, and his feast day is celebrated on November 16.[1]

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