Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Biographies


Saint Gallus (Gall), enlightener of Switzerland

( 640)


A sincere attempt is being made with this new series by our website, to now acquaint our readers with the lives of the Orthodox Saints and Martyrs of the original One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of our Lord, who, like some of the Orthodox Saints of the British Isles, lived and propagated the Faith in the Western territories of the European Continent during the first millennium of Christianity and prior to the Great Schism of 1054 AD.


Saint Gallus (Gall) was born in Ireland to wealthy parents, who sent him to be educated at the Monastery of Bangor.

There he embraced the ascetical life and became a monk. He was one of the twelve monks who traveled with his spiritual father St Columbanus (November 23) as missionaries to Gaul.

In time some of the group traveled into pagan lands, up the Rhine river to Lake Zurich. The monks settled on Lake Constance around a chapel dedicated to St Aurelia, which had been taken by the pagans as a shrine; they cleansed and re-consecrated the chapel, which became the center of their new monastery.

Saint Gall lived as a hermit, serving the brethren by making nets and catching fish.

In 612 Saint Columbanus went on to Italy with most of his disciples, leaving Saint Gall and a few others to continue their life.

When Saint Gall delivered Frideburga, the daughter of a local duke, from a demon, he offered the saint a tract of land on the shores of Lake Constance; here was founded the monastery that in later times bore Saint Gall's name.

At various times, the holy Gall refused calls to become a bishop, or to take over the abbacy of the great monastery at Luxeuil. To all such requests he answered that he would rather serve than command.

He continued living in his isolated monastic community until he reposed in peace in 640, at the age of ninety-nine.

In later years, and continuing well into the middle ages, the Monastery of Saint Gall became famed for the holiness of its monks and for its library.


Article published in English on: 14-5-2010.

Last update: 14-5-2010.