Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Modestus

MODESTUS, Saint (fl. 777), missionary to the Carinthians and regionary bishop, was an Irishman by birth (Ep. vii. quoted by Dempster, Hist. Eccles. Gent. Scot. xii. No. 920). He was a disciple of St. Fergil or Virgilius [q. v.], bishop of Salzburg, who sent him with a band of missionaries to preach among the Carinthians, then under the rule of Chetmar. Modestus received authority as a bishop, but probably, after the Irish custom, was without a definite see. It is only in the late anonymous life of Gebehard (Mon. Germ. Scriptores, xi. 38 1. 38), that he is called bishop of Liburnia. Modestus and his companions founded one church at S. Maria in Solio, now Maria-Saal, another at a place called Liburnia or Tiburnia, the site of which is probably now marked by a field called Lurnfeld, in Spital, Upper Carinthia, and a third at a place, Adandrinas or Undrimas, spelt by the manuscripts in a variety of ways, believed to be a valley situated between S. Vitus and Maria-Saal (ib. xi. p. 71. 30 and p. 87; Eichhorn, Beiträge zur Gesch. Kärnthen, ii. 95). Modestus is said to have baptised St. Domitian, a Carinthian prince, at Milstadt, which may, perhaps, be identical with Adandrinas (Hansitz, Ger. Sac. ii. 92; Acta SS. 1 Feb. 700). According to the older manuscripts, Modest us stayed in Carinthia till his death; one late manuscript says he died in France (Hansitz, ib.), but his tomb is shown at Maria-Saal (Eichhorn, p. 112, §4). His feast is celebrated on 5 Dec. (Dempster, Menology, in Forbes, Kal. Scottish Saints, p. 221). Dempster calls him a companion of St. Boniface [q. v.], and Ferrarius says he is mentioned in Boniface's life (Cat. Gen. SS. qui in Martyrol. Rom. non sunt, 1625, p. 468). It is probable that in both cases St. Fergil was meant.

A manuscript by him, 'ad ecclesiam suam,' was said to be at Salzburg, and a volume of his letters at Strasburg (Dempster, Hist. Gent. Scot. loc. cit.) Neither manuscript can now be traced.

[Gresta Archiep. Salisbury; the Life of St. Virgilius, by a disciple of Eberhard; the anonymous Life of St. Gebehard, all in Pertz's Mon. Grerm. Scriptores, vol. xi.; Tanner's Bibliotheca Britannica.]

M. B.