Saint Othmar

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St. Othmar, O.S.B., (also Audomar, c. 689 – c. 759) was a Medieval monk and priest. He served as the first abbot of the Abbey of St. Gall, a Benedictine monastery near the town of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Saint Othmar, O.S.B. (or Otmar)
Otmar von St-Gallen2.jpg
Bornc. 689
supposedly near Saint Gallen, Switzerland
Diedc. 759
Werd Island, Lake Constance, Switzerland
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized864, Constance, Switzerland by Solomon I, Bishop of Constance
Major shrineSaint Gallen
Feast16 November
AttributesCrozier and wine barrel
PatronageCity of Saint Gall (together with Saint Gallus)

Othmar rebuilt the hermitage in which the Irish monk Saint Gall had lived. He is known as the founder of the monastery at that site. As a part of the reform movement of Church institutions in Alamannia, he introduced the Benedictine Rule in 747, which was to remain in effect until the secularization and closure of the monastery in 1805. Apparently he founded the abbey's monastery school, which became the foundation upon which the famous Stiftsbibliothek (Monastery library) was built. 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 completely intact when he was taken over Lake Constance to the town of Steinach and then 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]