St. Kilian (c. 640-689 A.D.), also known as St. Cillian, was born to a noble family in Ireland. As a child he was known for his piety and love of study, which led him to the priesthood. He became a traveling bishop on the island, and in 686 A.D. left Ireland with eleven companions to travel throughout Gaul (present day France and parts of Germany) to preach the Gospel. From there he traveled to Rome to get official sanction from the Pope to become a missionary. Once obtained, St. Kilian returned north and settled in Würzburg as his base of activity along with two of his original companions. He began his work evangelizing the pagans in large parts of Franconia and Thuringia (north and central Germany), earning the name 'Apostle of Franconia.' Saint Kilian converted the Duke of Würzburg and convinced him to end his unlawful marriage. This greatly angered the Duke's wife, who resisted St. Kilian's attempts to convert her. While her husband was away, she had St. Kilian and his two missionary companions beheaded as they were preaching. A cathedral was built on the spot of their martyrdom by the first bishop of Würzburg. On St. Kilian's feast his relics, along with those of his two companions, are paraded through the streets and put on display in the Würzburg Cathedral, which is dedicated to him. St. Kilian's feast day is July 8th.
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