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Saint Benno

Saint Benno was the Bishop of Meissen and is credited for bringing ecclesiastical reforms and greatly expanding the number of churches in his Diocese.

Saint Benno was born in 1010 AD in Hideshiem, then part of the Duchy of Saxony. He was likely educated at the monastery of Saint Michael in the town and he was a canon of the Goslar chapter. King Henry IV nominated him to the see of Meissen in 1066. Because of his support of the Saxon rebellion in 1073, King Henry had him exiled in 1075 but did allow for his safe return the following year. As Bishop he implemented the Hildebrandine model to his diocese and displayed a great zeal for church building and missionary activities.

During a controversy known as the Investiture Controversy, Saint Benno supported Pope Gregory and aided in the election of the AntiKing Rudolf of Rheinfelden in 1077, When Rudolf died, he supported Hermann of Salm and was punished by an excommunication handed down at the 1085 synod of Mainz. Saint Benno traveled to Archbishop Guibert of Ravenna and after a lengthy repentance he received absolution and restored as Bishop.

Saint Benno died on June 16th, 1106. The laity and clergy of his diocese venerated him early on as they were greatly impressed by the reforms implemented and the expansion of churches. In 1539 the Wittelsbach dynasty named him the patron saint of Munich and Old Bavaria. A famous legend tells that during the excommunication Saint Benno told one of his canons to throw the keys to the cathedral into the river Elbe; a fisherman pulled the keys out with a lucky hook and returned them to Saint Benno. Because of this story, Saint Benno is often considered the Patron Saint of anglers. His feast day is celebrated on June 16th.

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