Virgilius of Salzburg

c.710-784. Early medieval Irish scholar, abbot, and bishop. Little is known of his early life. He began his career in Ireland where he served as abbot of the monastery of Aghaboe and gained a reputation for geographical knowledge. In 743 he went to the court of Pepin,* who later sent him to Bavaria to become bishop of Salzburg. Virgilius, however, refused consecration and administered only the temporal affairs of the diocese. He soon came into conflict with his archbishop, Boniface,* who disapproved of the arrangement. Boniface first directed Virgilius to rebaptize all who had been baptized by a priest who had utilized a grammatically incorrect version of the baptismal formula. Virgilius appealed to Pope Zacharias and was upheld. In 748 Boniface charged Virgilius with holding a heretical view on the spherical shape of the earth, and with making intrigue against him. No trial seems ever to have been held, and Virgilius was not condemned. In 767 he finally accepted consecration, and among the significant services he rendered the church was the conversion of the Alpine Slavs in 772. He was canonized in 1233 by Gregory IX.