Saint of the Day – 17 January – Blessed Joseph of Freising (Died 764) the 3rd Bishop of Freising from 747/8 until his death., Founder of Churches and Monasteries. Died 17 January 764 of natural cause, Germanys. Also known as – Joseppus/Josef of Verona.
There is no direct evidence of Joseph’s place of origin, or place of birth. It is sometimes claimed that he was a native of Verona in Italy, whence his alternative name but it is equally possible that he was from Bavaria or northern Austria, or perhaps the Tyrol.
He is presumed to have been a Monk in St Corbinian’s new foundation, Freising Abbey before being appointed at the Bishop of Freising, the third to hold the office. The previous Bishop, St Erembert is believed to have been his Tutor and to have brought him up in the Monastery of St Corbinian.
As Bishop, Joseph paid special attention to increasing the possessions of his Diocese – a document dated in the year 750 has been preserved which records the donation to Joseph, of the area around Erching – today’s district of Hallbergmoos – by Bavarian Duke Tassilo III.
Joseph was also active as a founder of Churches and religious houses. In particular, he founded Isen Abbey in 752 and dedicated it to Saint Zeno of Verona.
After 760, he was closely involved, with the respective founders in the establishment of Schäftlarn and Scharnitz Abbeys. At Schäftlarn the founders gave him the power of supervision of the Monastery and the right to appoint the Abbots. Here, his first appointment was Aribo, Joseph’s successor as Bishop. At Scharnitz he appointed Atto, Aribo’s successor as Bishop of Freising, also to be highly successful in the acquisition of estates for the Diocese.
After his death on 17 January 764, Joseph was buried in the Church of Isen Abbey, founded by himself, where his tomb was restored in 1743. The Church survived the secularisation of Bavaria in 1802-03 and is still in service as St Zeno’s, the Parish Church of Isen.