Gebhard of Constance

Gebhard III of Constance was bishop from 1086 to 1105.

Saint Gebhard of Constance (Latin: Gebhardus Constantiensis; German: Gebhard von Konstanz; 949 – 995 AD) was a bishop of Constance from 979 until 995. He founded the Benedictine abbey of Petershausen in 983. His feast day is 27 August.

Saint Gebhard of Constance
Merazhofen Pfarrkirche Chorgestühl rechts Gebhard.jpg
St. Gebhard
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast27 August
Attributesbishop reaching his staff to a lame man; bishop with a skull wearing a papal tiara near him or on a book; bishop with the Virgin Mary appearing to him
PatronageConstance; Vorarlberg


Gebhard was born about 949, at Hohenbregenz Castle. He was the son of Count Ulrich of Bregenz.[1] He was educated in Constance under Bishop Conrad. In 979, Holy Roman Emperor Otto II appointed him Bishop of Constance. The diocese was suffragan to the Archdiocese of Mainz.

Gebhard was concerned with monastic reform. In 983 he founded on the northern shore of the Rhine river opposite to the episcopal residence, a Benedictine abbey dedicated to Pope Gregory the Great. It later came to be called Petershausen Abbey.

In 990, Bishop Gebhard initiated a program on the episcopal estate to encourage the serfs to learn crafts, the better to support themselves.

After this he called his serfs together and chose the best among them and declared that they should be cooks and millers, victuallers and fullers, cobblers and gardeners, carpenters and masters of every craft, and he decreed that, on the day on which they took care of the brethren, they should be refreshed with the bread of the brethren, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Moreover in order that they might work for their master swith a good will he added a gift of this kind, namely, that, if any of them, or of their successors, who is of their stock, should die, their goods should not be confiscated but their heirs might take the whole of the inheritance: but if any one of another family should succeed, he shall be deprived of this gift.[2]

Gebhard founding Petershausen


Gebhard began to be honoured as a saint soon after his death, and became patron of the city of Constance.[3]

Hohenbregenz Castle is now divided into two parts. The lower portion contains the Gerbhardsberg Castle Restaurant, named after St. Gebhard. The upper castle houses the pilgrimage church of St Gebhard and St George. The relics of St. Gebhard lie at Petershausen, with the exception of an arm given by the abbey to the castle chapel in 1821.

In 1949, the Republic of Austria issued a stamp displaying St. Gebhard.


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