lundi 28 mars 2016

Saint TUTILO (TUTILON, TUTILO) de SAINT-GALL, moine bénédictin

Saint Tutilon

moine et artiste de l'abbaye de Saint Gall en Suisse ( v. 915)

Tutilo ou Tuathal.

Moine de Saint Gall en Suisse, il était adroit de ses mains, éloquent de sa parole, d'une remarquable intelligence, excellent poète, musicien, peintre et ciseleur. L'empereur Charles le Gros regrettait qu'on eût enseveli dans un cloître un si bel homme. Il était d'une grande humilité et d'un grand recueillement. Mais saint Tutilon donnait à tous la richesse de ses dons. On l'appelait au loin pour peindre des saintes images, il élevait les enfants dans la beauté du chant liturgique, il ciselait les objets liturgiques. On ne conserve de lui que quelques élégies et une hymne.

Tutilo de Saint Gall né en Irlande vers 850, mort vers 915 moine et artiste.

Il était de forte stature et passa sa vie dans l'abbaye bénédictine de Saint Gall en Suisse où il était ami de Saint Notker le Bègue.

Il était bon orateur, poète, musicien, peintre, architecte, sculpteur....

Très talentueux, il pouvait jouer de tous les instruments utilisés pour la liturgie y compris la harpe. 

Peu de ses œuvres nous sont parvenues mais des peintures et sculptures existent encore.

Il fut reconnu saint pour ses qualités d'humilité et de dévotion à Dieu par la prière et par ses œuvres.

Tutilo of Saint-Gall, OSB (AC)

Died at Saint-Gall, Switzerland, c. 915. The handsome, eloquent, quick-witted Saint Tutilo was a giant in strength and stature and a friend of Saint Notker Balbulus, with whom he received musical training from Moengal. Tutilo, a monk of Saint-Gall, may have been Tuathal, a younger member of the party of the Irish Bishop Marcus and his nephew who stopped at the abbey on their return from Rome. Tutilo was a painter, musician and composer of music for harp and other strings, poet, orator, architect, metal worker, mechanic, head of the cloister school, and sculptor, but he is best known for his obedience, recollection, and aversion to publicity. Some of his paintings can be found in Constance, Metz, Saint-Gall, and Mainz. The chapel in which he was buried, dedicated to Saint Catherine, was later renamed for him (Attwater2, Benedictines, D'Arcy, Encyclopedia, Fitzpatrick2). 


Feast: March 28

When St. Gall, the companion of St. Columbanus, died in Switzerland in 640, a monastery was built over the place of his burial. This became the famous monastery of St. Gall, one of the most influential monasteries of the Middle Ages and the center of music, art, and learning throughout that period.

About the middle of the ninth century, returning from a visit to Rome, an Irishman named Moengul stopped off at the abbey and decided to stay, along with a number of Irish companions, among them Tuathal, or Tutilo. Moengul was given charge of the abbey schools and he became the teacher of Tutilo, Notker, and Radpert, who were distinguished for their reaming and their artistic skills. Tutilo, in particular, was a universal genius: musician, poet, painter, sculptor, builder, goldsmith, head of the monastic school, and composer.

He was part of the abbey at its greatest, and the influence of Gall spread throughout Europe. The Gregorian chant manuscripts from the monastery of St. Gall, many of them undoubtedly the work of St. Tutilo, are considered among the most authentic and were studied carefully when the monks of Solesmes were restoring the tradition of Gregorian chant to the Catholic Church. The scribes of St. Gall supplied most of the monasteries of Europe with manuscript books of Gregorian chant, all of them priceless works of the art of illumination. Proof of the Irish influence at St. Gall is a large collection of Irish manuscripts at the abbey dating from the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries.

Tutilo was known to be handsome, eloquent, and quick-witted, who brought something of the Irish love of learning and the arts to St. Gall. He died in 915 at the height of the abbey's influence, remembered as a great teacher, a dedicated monk, and a competent scholar.

Thought for the Day: Beauty is one of the names of God, and we often forget that the cultivation of beauty can give glory to God. "O Lord, I have loved the beauty of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells." St. Tutilo loved God deeply and expressed it in a thousand beautiful ways, leading many people to God. Beautiful things can lift our minds to God.

From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': ". . . The good soil represents honest, good-hearted people. They listen to God's words and cling to them and steadily spread them to others who also soon believe."—Luke 8:15

Taken from "The One Year Book of Saints" by Rev. Clifford Stevens published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, IN 46750

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Saint Tutilo of Saint Gall

6 May 2009, 6:48 pm

Also known as
  • Tutilo von Gallen
  • Tutilo of Gall
  • Tuathal….

A large, powerfully built man. Educated at Saint Gall’s monastery in Switzerland where he stayed to become a Benedictine monk. Friend of Blessed Notkar Balbulus. A renaissance man before the term was coined. Excellent student, he became a sought after teacher at the abbey school. Noted speaker. Poet and hymnist, though nearly all of his work has been lost. Architect, painter, sculptor, metal worker, and mechanic; some of his art continues to grace galleries and monasteries around Europe. Composer and musician, playing several instruments including the harp. No matter his talents or works, he preferred the solitude and prayers of his beloved monastery.


Tutilo was an Irish man who, while visiting the renowned Benedictine Abbey of St. Gall in present-day Switzerland, delayed his departure – and stayed his whole life.

Said to have been a large, powerful, handsome and quick-witted Irishman, Tutilo was also genial in that he was a teacher, an orator, a poet, an architect, a painter, a sculptor, an accomplished illuminator, a musician, even a mathematician and astronomer.

His numerous talents and gifts led to his being much in demand and, by permission of his abbot, he fulfilled many artistic commissions outside the monastery. One of these was his sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Cathedral at Metz, considered to be a masterpiece.

He was a member of the abbey at the zenith of its influence throughout all of Europe. Many of the Gregorian chant manuscripts that survive to this day, and some of the most authentic, are undoubtedly Tutilo’s own work.

Of all his many talents, the one Tutilo loved the most was music.

According to tradition, he could play and teach all of the instruments in the monastery and had a fine musical voice.

King Charles had a great admiration for the gifted monk and remarked that it was a great pity for so much talent to be hidden away in a monastery.

But the saint himself shrank from publicity and when obliged to go to the great cities he strove to avoid notice and compliments.

All he wanted was to use his gifts for the service of God.

Though Tutilo was the epitome of today's "Renaissance man", sanctity was his real crown.

Tuotilo, the Monk of St. Gall

Hugh O'Reilly

The chronicler, Eckehard IV, tells about Tuotilo, monk of St. Gall (850-915). Born in Ireland around 850, he was educated at the Abbey of St. Gall in St Gallen, present day Switzerland. He remained to become a monk there. 

A man of great physical strength and stature, he was a painter, sculptor, musician, poet and composer of music for harp and other strings and head of the cloister school. Eckehard also praises his skill in casting out demons. But he is best known, he tells us, for his obedience, recollection and aversion to publicity. 

Eckehard describes him thus: 

“Tuotilo was eloquent, clear of voice, a polished workman in carving and paint. He was musical, even as his companions were, but surpassing all in every kind of string and pipe, and he taught the cithara also to the sons of the nobles in a building that the abbot had set apart for them. 

“He was endowed by nature with a strong body and mind, and with a ready command of both Latin and German; entertaining both in the serious and in the jocund vein but the sight of anything unseemly never failed to excite his indignation. 

“But with all these qualities he had one more excellent: in secret prayer he had the gift of tears. He was chaste, as a disciple of (the famous schoolmaster) Marcellus (of St. Gall), who shut his eyes before women.” 

The only woman for whom he professed a great love was the Virgin Mary, and to her he had a deep and tender devotion. And she also had a great love for this monk, as we can see from the following story. 

While Tuotilo was working at his sculpture in Metz, two pilgrims came to him as he carved a statue of the Blessed Virgin and begged for alms. 

He slipped some money into their hands, and as they moved outside the room where he was working, they said to a cleric who passed by, “God bless that man who has been so merciful to us today. But was that his sister? That lady of wondrous beauty who is so serviceable to hand him his chisels and teach him how to use them?”

The cleric marveled at their words, for he had but lately parted from Tuotilo and had seen no such lady. Wherefore, he went back, and for one quick moment, he saw what they had described. 

Then he and the pilgrims went to Tuotilo and said, ‘Father, blessed art thou of the Lord, who has so great a lady to instruct you in your work.” 

But Tuotilo replied that he did not know what they were talking about, and he forbade them most strictly to say any such thing to others. But the temptation to tell what they had seen was too great, and the next morning many persons had heard the report of this glorious thing. So Tuotilo withdrew himself from them and departed, nor would he ever thenceforward continue his work in that city. 

But on the gilded nimbus, where he left a plain flat surface, some other hand has since carved these letters, ‘This holy object was carved by Holy Mary herself’ Hoc panthema pia celeverat ipsa Maria.

Although it has disappeared from sight, this statue was still extant in his time. Eckehard, who was writing 100 years after the monk Tuotilo’s death, describes it: “The image itself, seated, and seeming as though it were living, is an object of all beholders even unto this day.” 

Finally, Eckehard expresses his belief that Tuotilo received the reward of his blameless life in the next world. He was buried in the Chapel of St. Catharine, which later on was dedicated to St. Tuotilo. It is uncertain whether he was formally declared a saint, although he was considered as one in the Monastery of St. Gall - for had he not exorcized the devils and wrought other wonders? 

At right above, you see an ivory plate that he sculpted, which is the cover of the Evangelium Longum. It pictures the Assumption of the Virgin and St. Gall sleeping by the fire and St. Gall giving bread to the bear.

Adapted from G. G. Coulton, Art and the Reformation, NT: Alfred Knopf, 1928, pp.55-57

Posted February 16, 2013