ST. BURCKARD, C., FIRST BISHOP OF WURTZBURG
(IN LATIN, HERBIPOLIS, IN FRANCONIA.)
ST. BONIFACE standing in need of fellow-laborers
powerful in words and works in the vast harvest which he had on his
hands in Germany, about the year 732, invited over from England St.
Lullus and St. Burckard, who seem by this circumstance to have come
from the kingdom of West-Sex: they were both persons of an apostolic
spirit. St. Boniface consecrated St. Burckard with his own hands the
first bishop of Wurtzburg in Franconia, where St. Kilian had preached
the word of life, and suffered martyrdom about fifty years before.
This whole country was by his ministry converted to Christ. Excessive
fatigues having, in ten years time, exhausted his strength, with the
consent of king Pepin, and by the approbation of St. Lullus. (St.
Boniface being gone to preach in Friesland,) he resigned his
bishopric to Megingand, a monk of Fritzlar, and disciple of St.
Wigbert, in 752. Retiring into a solitude in that part of his diocese
called Hohenburg, he spent the remaining part of his life with six
fervent monks or clergymen in watching, fasting, and incessant
prayer. He died on the 9th of February, 752, and was buried near the
relics of St. Kilian at Mount St. Mary’s, or Old Wurtzburg,
where he had built a monastery under the invocation of St. Andrew.
Hugh, bishop of Wurtzburg, chancellor to the emperor Otho IV.,
authorized by an order of pope Benedict VII. about the year 983, made
a very solemn translation of his relics; the 14th of October, the day
on which this ceremony was performed, has been regarded as his
principal festival. Out of veneration for his sanctity, king Pepin,
in 752, declared the bishops of Wurtzburg dukes of Franconia, with
all civil jurisdiction. The emperor Henry IV. alienated several parts
of Franconia, but the bishops of Wurtzburg retain the sovereignty of
this extensive diocese, though it was much larger before St. Henry
II. erected the bishopric of Bamberg. The life of St. Burckard is
written by an anonymous author above two hundred years after his
death; and again, from uncertain memorials, by Egilward, a monk of
Wurtzburg. See Fabricius,1. Salutaris Lux Evangelii toti orbi
exoriens sive Notitia Historica et Geographica propagatorum per orbem
Christianorum Sacrorum, c. 19, p. 419; Eyring, Diss. de Ortu et
progressu religion Christ. in Francia Orientali, edit. Lipsiæ,
1704. Ignat. Groppius a Benodictin, Scriptores Rerum Wircerburg, p.
489, (edit. 1741,) and Hansizius, a Jesuit, German. Sacra, t. 2.