Kilian or Kyllina, a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, and bishop of Wurzburg in the 7th century, was a native of Ireland, and a member of that distinguished body of Irish missionaries among the Teutonic nations to whose labors in the 6th and 7th centuries Christianity and civilization were so largely indebted in the southern and south-eastern countries of Europe. He was of a noble family, and while vet young entered the monastic life in his native country. Having undertaken, in company with several of his fellow-monks, a pilgrimage to Rome, he was seized, on his journey (A.D. 665) through the still pagan province of Thuringia, with a desire to devote himself to its conversion, and with his fellow-pilgrims, the presbyter Colman and the deacon Donattus, he secured for the project at Rome, in 687, the sanction of pope Conon, by whom he was ordained bishop. On his return he succeeded in converting the duke Gosbert, with many of his subjects, and in opening the way for the complete conversion of Thuringia. Unfortunately, however, Kilian provoked the enmity of Geilana, who, although the widow of Gosbert's brother, had been married to Gosbert, by declaring the marriage invalid, and having induced Gosbert to separate from her, he was murdered at her instigation, during the absence of Gosbert in 789, together with both his fellow-missionaries, and the Bible, Church monuments, and ecclesiastical vestments consigned to the flames. After Gosbert's return Geilana denied the deed, but both she and the murderer fell a prey to insanity, and Gosbert himself fell by the hands of a murderer, his son Hedan II was deposed, and, indeed, his whole family became extinct. Such are the oldest legends concerning Kilian's fate. One of them, written in the 10th or 11th century, is to be found in Mabillon, Act. Sanct. (ii, 991); another, with some arbitrary variations, in Surius (iv, 131). Yet this legend appears somewhat doubtful, since no mention is otherwise made of any British missionaries before Boniface. Rhabanus Maurus (Canisius, Lect. Atiq. ii, 2, p. 333) claims that Gosbert himself condemned Kilian in 847 on account of his preaching. As to the punishment said to have overtaken all the family of Gosbert, it is contradicted by history, for Hedan II was yet in peaceful possession of his dukedom in 716, remained in relation with the British missionaries, and gave St. Willebrord some land at Arnstadt and Miihlberg, near Gotha. The facts may be that Kilian belonged to the Anglo-Saxon Roman Church, and that his death was caused by his strict enforcement of the rules concerning matrimony. Before his appointment to Thuringia Kilian seems to have already distinguished himself in the ministry. Mosheim says, " He exercised his ministerial functions with great success among the Franks, and vast numbers of them embraced Christianity" (Eccles. History, i, 441). Hence he is sometimes denominated "the Apostle of Franconia." The Rev. Mr. DeVinne, a writer on the early Church history of Ireland, gives credence to the legend concerning Kilian's missionary efforts in Germany, and his sad fate, on the ground that " towards the close of the 7th century there appear to have been a great number of Irish ecclesiastics and scholars in Germany and other parts of Central Europe. Many of these, that they might be the more useful to the people, translated their names into Latin or German, and in all things not sinful identified themselves with the different nationalities among whom they labored. To this class belong Wiro, Rumbold, bishop of Mechlin, Florentius, bishop of Strasburg, Colman, Albinus, Clementus, and many others, of whom Mosheim said there were 'French and Irish who refused a blind submission, and gave much trouble to Rome' " (comp. De Vinne, Primit. Irish Ch.). See Ign. Gropp, Lebensbesch. d. heiligen Kiliani Bischo.fens u. dessen Gesellen (Wtirtzburg, 1738, 4to); J. Rion, Leben u. Tod d. heil. Kilian (Aschaffenburg, 1834); J. Ch. A. Seiters, Bon£facius, etc. (Mayence, 1845), p. 97 sq.; F. W. Rettberg, Kirchengesch. Deutschl. (Gottingen, 1848), ii, 303; Todd. Irish Church, p. 70 sq. (J. H. W.)

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