Saint of the Day – 24 September – Saint Gerard Sagredo OSB (980-1046) Bishop and Martyr, “The Apostle of Hungary,” Venetian nobleman, Benedictine monk, Prior of San Giorgio, Missionary to Hungary, Adviser to King Saint Stephen, Tutor to Prince Saint Emeric, Hermit, Bishop of Csanád, Writer, Reformer and Martyr, murdered by pagans on this day in 1046. Born on 23 April 980 in Venice, Italy and died by being stabbed to death with a lance on 24 September 1046 at Buda, Hungary. Also known as Gerard of Hungary, Collert, Gerardo, Gellért.
At Baptism he received the name Jorge and belonged to a family from Dalmatia, which is descended from the Sagredo lineage. At the age of 5 he had a serious fever that his parents implored the grace of Saint George to heal.
Once cured and he had reached the required age, he entered the Benedictine Monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore on the Maggiore Island in Venice and in memory of his recently deceased father, he took the name Gerard. After a few years he was elected Prior of the Monastery and later Abbot but shortly after he resigned because he wanted to go on pilgrimage to Bethlehem.
He left in a ship, reached Zara, from where instead of continuing to the Holy Land, he went to Hungary where he settled. He was persuaded by Saint Stephen of Hungary to work in the evangelisation of the Magyars. However, he did not want to stay at the Court and for seven years he lived as a Hermit in the Beel.
Later he was Tutor to Prince Saint Emeric and in 1035, he was elected the first Bishop of Csnád; he worked with the utmost zeal, especially in liturgical observance and in the evangelisation of the people; they called him the Apostle of Hungary.
During the pagan reaction to the death of King Saint Stephen, he was martyred in Buda, where he was stoned and pierced by spears, locked in a barrel, he was thrown into the Danube from the top of a hill that today is called “Gellerthegy” – “Mount of San Gerard”; Gerard had refused to crown idolatrous kings.
He wrote several works among which the “Commentary on Daniel” is the most higly revered. He is considered the Apostle and Protomartyr of Hungary.