Othmar, St

Othmar, St.

(AUDEMAR, AUTOMARUS), is the name of one of the most celebrated monastics of the Middle Ages. He was the first real abbot of the convent of St. Gall, one of the most noted of ascetic asylums in Europe. As has been seen in the article ST. GALL SEE ST. GALL , the disciples of Gallus remained together after his decease, and appointed one of their own number as custos, or pastor Galli. Our Othmar was one of those whom his brethren delighted to honor, and he occasionally held that post. He was well fitted for places of distinction. He had been as thoroughly trained as was the custom of his times in Courland, and enjoyed the favors and protection of duke Waldram, whose family took great interest in the county of St. Gall. As this establishment was hindered in its progress by the Franks, duke Waldram concluded to make them take an interest in it by surrendering it to them in 720, and Othmar was appointed abbot. He now exerted himself greatly in establishing the convent on a permanent basis. By Pepin's orders the rule was changed from Columban's to Benedict's, in order to harmonize with the other Frankish convents. This change, however, did not prove quite successful, as the French wished to place the convent under the immediate dependence of the diocesan bishop, in order to have greater control over it — a step which the monks themselves strenuously resisted. The chronicles of St. Gall give very full accounts of these disputes. Othmar took a journey to the court of the Franks, and there obtained some advantage; but while on his way to it a second time he was arrested, accused of lewdness and, judged by enemies, was of course condemned. He was taken to the village of Bodman, on the lake of Constance, where he was subjected to severe fasting. He was afterwards transferred to the island of Stein, on the Rhine, where he died, Nov. 16, 759. He had filled his office during forty years, and his death proved a severe loss to the convent, as his successor was a willing instrument in the hands of its enemies. Othmar's remains were brought to St. Gall in 769, and are said to have worked miracles there. He was canonized in the 9th century by Salomo I, bishop of Constance (839-871), which canonization was afterwards confirmed by the Church of Rome. Othmar's biography was written almost a century after his death by Gozbertus Diaconus. It is exclusively based on tradition. It was afterwards revised by abbot Walafrid Strabo of Reichenau, and continued by Iso of St. Gall. We have the latter work complete, but that of Gozbert only with the interpolations of Walafrid. See Walafridi Strabi Liber de vita S. Otmari, in Pertz, Mon. Germ. SS. 2:41-47; Isonis Magistri De miraculis eiusdem libri ii, p. 47-54 (ibid.); Ekkehardi Rhythmi de S. Otmaro, p. 54-58 (ibid.); Ratperti Casus S. Galli, cap. ii, p. 62-63 (ibid.); A bbatum S. Galli catalogs, ed. D. Ildefons. ab Arx, p. 35 (ibid.); Gozberti Diaconi Continuatio libri ii de miraculis S. Galli-per Walafridum emendata, cap. 11-15, p. 23-24 (ibid.); Aunn. Sangall. maior. in Pertz, Mon. Germ. 1:73, note d, and p. 74; Trudp. Neugart, Cod. dipl. A lam. etc. (1791, 4to); Traditiones monast. S. Galli; Ildephons. von Arx, Gesch. d. Kantons St. Gallen (1810, 2 vols.);

Rettberg, Kirchengesch. Deutschlands, 2:107 sq.; Heber, Lebensbilder aus der altdeutschen Kirche vor Bonifacius, in Marriott, Wahrem Protestanten (1855, vol. iv, pt. 2-3); Nagel, Gesch. d.'KI. St. Gallen, etc., in the Programm des Pidagogiums zu Halle, 1852; Heber, Die vorkarolingischen christlichen Glaubenshelden am Rhein u. deren Zeit (Frankf. ad M. 1858, p. 248 sq.); Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lexikon, 7:802, 803; Herzog, — Real-Encyklop. 10:736.

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