Saint Maximilian of Celeia

2nd patron saint of the bishopric of Passau

Commemoration day: October 12th

Name: in Latin: the Greatest

Attributes: Saint Maximilian is shown with pontifical vestments, holding a sword and a crucifix or a book in his hands.

Preliminary remark:

The statements in the "Vita Sancti Maximiliani" (written about 1290) cannot be proved. The vita itself shows strong parallels to the vita of Saint Pelagius.

Biography (according to the "Vita Sancti Maximiliani"):

Maximilian was born as the only child of noble, rich and pious parents in Celeia (Celje, Slovenia). After the death of his parents he distributed his goods and chattels among the poor and released the slaves.

With the wish of becoming a missionary he made a pilgrimage to Rome. Pope Sixtus II. (died 258) send him as missionary to Noricum and Pannonia. Maximilian became bishop of Lorch at the Enns, the capital of the province Norucum.

After 20 years of being a missionary he returned to his home town Celeia for preaching.

As he refused of taking part in idolatry, he was beheaded on order of governor Eulasius on October 12th. His body was buried outside the town.

Historical facts:

8th century

In the goods lists of the church of Salzburg a chapel, which was built above the grave of Saint Maximilian inBischofshofen ( is mentioned for the first time.


King Karlmann donates the collegiate church of Altötting( besides other things the remains of St. Maximilian; the depository and the origin of the relics is not founded in documents before 878.


Burkhard abbot of the palatinate chapter Altötting becomes bishop of Passau; the chapter becomes own cloister of the bishops of Passau

between 976 and 985

Bishop Pilgrim of Passau transfers the relics of Maximilian to Passau.


In a document of emperor Otto III. Maximilian is mentioned for the first time as the second saint patron of Passau besideSt. Valentin.


The "Vita Sancti Maximiliani" is probably written by a canon of Passau; with this vita reinstating the cult.

1289 -1291

Bishop Bernhard orders erecting a sepulchre for the patron saints at the gothic Cathedral.


St. Maximilian becomes family patron of the Habsburg.


Procession with the relics of Maximilian and Valentin to prevent Passau from the plague.


After the great city fire the sarcophagus of the patrons is opened but the remains, except for some relic particles are missing.

1782 - 1962

Saint Maximilian is patron saint of the bishopric of Linz.

An altar in the transept of the baroque cathedral is dedicated to the patrons of Passau.

The altarpiece by Frans de Neve shows among other things the decapitation of Saint Maximilian.

The admiration of the Saint Maximilian is spread particularly in the foothills and alpine country.


Working and translation: Ruth Weber

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