A unique Heritage Centre detailing the Life & Influence of St. Kilian, the Apostle of Franconia.
St. Kilian was born in Mullagh, Co. Cavan in 640 A.D. in 686 A.D. he became a missionary to Wurzburg in Germany where he was martyred in 689 A.D. The exhibition, which is introduced by a 15 minute audio-visual presentation, deals with St. Kilian and his times, his work, martyrdom and subsequent cult.
It brings to life in maps, photographs, statuettes, manuscript facsimiles and art reproductions, a glorious era in Irish Church history and the work of Irish missionaries in Europe in the 6th and 7th centuries.
The exhibition also traces the development of gaelic script for the ogham writing of the 4th to the 7th centuries and the Wurzburg Glosses (the earliest example of written Irish c.750) to the illuminated script of the book of Kells.
St. Killian's Heritage Centre
Tel: (046) 924 2433
More to St. Kilian:
Saint Kilian, also spelled Killian or Cillian, was an Irish missionary bishop and the apostle of Franconia (nowadays the northern part of Bavaria), where he began his labors towards the end of the 7th century. There are several biographies of him. The oldest texts which refer to him are an 8th century necrology at Würzburg and the notice by Hrabanus Maurus in his martyrology. According to Maurus, Kilian was a native of Ireland, whence with eleven companions he went to eastern Franconia and Thuringia. After having preached the Gospel in Würzburg, he succeeded in converting to Christianity the local lord, Duke Gozbert, and much of the population. Killian eventually told the Duke that he was in violation of sacred scripture by being married to his brother's widow, Geilana. According to local tour directors in Würzburg, Geilana (whom Kilian had failed to convert to Christianity) heard of Kilian's words against her marriage, and was furious. Of noble blood herself, she had her own loyal troops. She dispatched these to the main square of Würzburg, where Kilian and his colleagues were preaching, and had Killian beheaded, along with two of his companions, Saint Colman (also called Colman, Colonan or Kolonat) and Saint Totnan. It is difficult to fix the date with precision, as Duke Gozbert and Duchess Geilana are only known of through these two somewhat imprecise Church records. The elevation of the relics of the three martyrs was performed by Burchard, the first Bishop of Würzburg. The skulls of the three martyrs were inlayed with precious stones and carefully preserved to this day. On St Kilian's day, a glass case containing the three skulls is removed from a crypt, paraded through the streets before large crowds, and put on display in the town's cathedral (Sankt-Kiliansdom). Statues of these three saints (among others) line the famous Saint's Bridge across the Main River.
Kilian was born in Mullagh, Co Cavan, Ireland and is the patron saint of the parish of Tuosist, near Kenmare County Kerry where he is believed to have resided before travelling to Germany. A church and holy well are named after him and his feast day, July 8th, is traditionally celebrated with a pattern when crowds visit the well for prayers, followed by evening social events.
The name can get confused in spelling (e.g. Chillian, Killian, Cilian, Kilian). In Ireland, the preferred spelling is Cillian; the name appears thus in the Irish liturgical calendar. Saint Killian's feast day is July 8th, and he is usually portrayed, as in his statue at Würzburg, bearing a bishop's crozier and wielding a sword. He is one of the patron saints for sufferers of rheumatism.
Kilian is still in use as a given name in South Africa, Ireland, the USA and the Franconian portion of Germany.