Aegidius (saint)

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St. Aegidius in the right outer wing of the triptych of the Passion Altar of Lübeck Cathedral by Hans Memling , approx. 1491

The holy Giles (* around 640 in Athens , † September 1 710 to 724, probably 720 in today's Saint-Gilles ) was a Greek merchant and later abbot of the abbey of Saint-Gilles in southern France . He is one of the fourteen emergency helpers and was one of the most popular saints in Europe in the Middle Ages . His feast day is September 1st.

other names

In the German-speaking world , Egidius is also known as Aegidius , Egidius , Egydius , Ilg , Ilgen , Jilg , Gilg , Gilgian or Gilgen .

In French it is called Saint Gilles , in Greek Aigigios (“the shield holder”) or Aigeides (Αἰγείδης, “the doe”), in Italian Sant'Egidio , in English Saint Giles , in Polish Święty Idzi , in Hungarian Szent Egyed and im Czech Svatý Jiljí .

Biography and Legends

Romanesque representation of the legend of Aegidius in the Church of St. Rupert in Weißpriach

Aegidius was probably born around 640 to a noble Athenian family. He left his Greek homeland and lived for years in the diocese of Nîmes as a hermit in a cave at the mouth of the Rhone in the Mediterranean.

Development to the Holy

The Legend of him nourished by God's joining a doe with her milk. During a hunt by the Visigoth King Wamba (r. 672–680), this doe fled to Aegidius, who stood protectively in front of the animal and was accidentally hit by an arrow . Recognizing that virtue was perfected in weakness, he asked God that health should not return to him while he was on earth. It is more likely that despite desperate wound care and prayers, he was unable to heal the wound. So the wound stayed with him until the end of his life. To forgive his guilt for the hunting accident, the king had a monastery built under Aegidius' direction. In 680 he founded the abbey of Saint-Gilles, which was later named after him . During his lifetime the place was still called Pons Aerarium , as in the Burdigalense Itinerarium from 333. He was the abbot of the monastery until his death.

More legends

  • According to another legend, Aegidius is said to have brought the son of the prince of Nîmes back to life.
  • In Rome he is said to have thrown the doors of carved cypress wood given to him by the Pope for his monastery in the Tiber under prayer ; on his return he found them in the harbor of his hometown.
  • When a friar doubted the virginity of Mary and wrote three questions in the sand, three white lilies bloomed on the arid ground in response to Aegidius .
  • Charlemagne - who lived almost 100 years later - is said to have sought the intercessions of Aegidius: An angel then placed a note on the altar with the confirmed forgiveness of sins, where Aegidius performed his office. Since then, Aegidius has been regarded as an aid to good confession and forgiveness and as such is one of the fourteen helpers in need. The intercession of the saint for the emperor is depicted on one of the stained glass windows in Chartres Cathedral . The Karlsschrein in Aachen Cathedral shows Egidius and Karl in a confessional talk .
  • At the burial of the asleep, those present heard the choirs of angels who carried his soul to heaven.


The grave of St. Aegidius in the crypt of the Saint-Gilles abbey church
The Egidienstein in the
Eltersdorf district of Erlangen
Master of Saint Gilles : The Miracle of Saint Gilles
Sculpture of St. Aegydius, part of the tabernacle of the Aegydius Chapel in Fischbach, Styria, Austria

Burial place and churches

The grave of St. Aegidius is in the crypt of the abbey church of Saint-Gilles , Gard. Pilgrimages to his grave were just as popular in the 11th century as those to Rome or Santiago de Compostela . The Benedictine monastery was almost completely destroyed in the Huguenot Wars of the 16th century.

To St. Numerous churches and so-called Egidiensteins are dedicated to Egidius throughout Europe .

Local patronage

Numerous places bear the name of the saint, mostly because the first church there was dedicated to him. In the German-speaking area, for example, there are the Saxon municipality of St. Egidien , the Lower Austrian market municipality of St. Aegyd am Neuwalde , Sankt Aegidi in Upper Austria, the municipality of Sankt Gilgen am Wolfgangsee, places called Gilgenberg and Sankt Ilgen , Gillenberg , Gillersheim , Gilden , Gillersdorf , Ilgesheim , Ilgenberg , or the Aegidienberg district of the city of Bad Honnef, the Innsbruck district of Igls .

In several cities, streets and squares are named after the Egidienkirche there, such as Aegidienstrasse in Bonn and Lübeck , Egidienstrasse in Erlangen , Aegidientorplatz in Hanover, Egidienplatz in Regensburg , Egidienplatz in Nuremberg and the Aegidienmarkt in Braunschweig .

The Aegidius cult was also very widespread in medieval Poland. The first Polish chronicle by Gallus Anonymus reports that the only son of the Polish prince Władysław I Herman and his wife Judith - Bolesław III. Wrymouth - thanks to the intercession of St. Aegidius ( Polish Idzi ) was born. The ruler sent the saint a golden child statuette in St. Gilles and received the son as a "gift in return". Several Romanesque Aegidius churches in Poland ( Breslau , Cracow , Inowłódz, Tarczek) date from the time of Władysław and Bolesław , most likely donated by these two rulers. In later times z. B. the Egidius churches in Breslau, Krobia, and Wyszków.

The municipalities of Ilija in Slovakia and Šentilj in Lower Styria, Slovenia, also have the names of Egidius.

The church and the Dominican monastery in Prague's old town bear his name: Kostel svatý Jiljí (St. Aegidius Church).

Saint Aegidius is the patron saint of Graz , Klagenfurt and Edinburgh . He is also the patron saint of the former municipality of Pötzleinsdorf in Vienna and is shown on the coat of arms.


The former monastery of Sant'Egidio in the Roman district of Trastevere is eponymous for the community of Sant'Egidio in the Roman Catholic Church.


Aegidius is the only one of the fourteen helpers who did not endure martyrdom. He is the patron saint of nursing mothers and shepherds . As the protector of beggars and cripples , his intercession is invoked in the event of plague , leprosy and cancer , drought , storm and conflagration , in spiritual need and abandonment , against epilepsy , mental illness and sterility of humans and animals.


In pictures, Aegidius is mostly shown as a hermit or Benedictine monk , hit with a crook and an arrow , and accompanied by a doe .

Remembrance day

The St. Gilgentag even Ägidiustag (September 1) is, in many places a day of folk festivals.

On a pilgrimage to St. Aegidius also goes back to the third largest Bavarian folk festival, the Gillamoos in Abensberg. The name is derived from "St. Gilg am Moos ”.

Farmer rules

Several pawn rules deal with Aegidius :

  • "If Aegidius is a bright day, a good autumn follows."
  • "If Aegidi is a bright day, I bid you a nice autumn."
  • "If it is in St. Aegidi, it will be like this until 'Michaelis'."
  • "As the stag enters the rut on Aegidi, it emerges again at 'Michaelis'"
  • "Take care of Aegidius, he'll tell you what September is doing."
  • "When St. Aegidius blows the horn, it means: Farmer sow your grain."
  • "Aegidius Regen - comes inconvenient"


Web links

Commons : St. Aegidius  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Aegidienkirche Breslau, founded before the city became German, see also , Aegidienkirche and House of the Cathedral Chapter
  2. St. Aegidius on the pharmacy's website for St. Aegidius
  3. ^ " Michaelis ": September 29th