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When St. Gall, the companion of St. Columbanus, died in Switzerland in 640, a monastery was built over the place of his burial. This became the famous monastery of St. Gall, one of the most influential monasteries of the Middle Ages and the center of music, art, and learning throughout that period.

About the middle of the ninth century, returning from a visit to Rome, an Irishman named Moengul stopped off at the abbey and decided to stay, along with a number of Irish companions, among them Tuathal, or Tutilo. Moengul was given charge of the abbey schools and he became the teacher of Tutilo, Notker, and Radpert, who were distinguished for their reaming and their artistic skills. Tutilo, in particular, was a universal genius: musician, poet, painter, sculptor, builder, goldsmith, head of the monastic school, and composer.

He was part of the abbey at its greatest, and the influence of Gall spread throughout Europe. The Gregorian chant manuscripts from the monastery of St. Gall, many of them undoubtedly the work of St. Tutilo, are considered among the most authentic and were studied carefully when the monks of Solesmes were restoring the tradition of Gregorian chant to the Catholic Church. The scribes of St. Gall supplied most of the monasteries of Europe with manuscript books of Gregorian chant, all of them priceless works of the art of illumination. Proof of the Irish influence at St. Gall is a large collection of Irish manuscripts at the abbey dating from the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries.

Tutilo was known to be handsome, eloquent, and quick-witted, who brought something of the Irish love of learning and the arts to St. Gall. He died in 915 at the height of the abbey's influence, remembered as a great teacher, a dedicated monk, and a competent scholar.

Medieval Sourcebook:
Ekkehard of St. Gall: Three Monks of St. Gall

Another Life

Died at Saint-Gall, Switzerland, c. 915. The handsome, eloquent, quick-witted Saint Tutilo was a giant in strength and stature and a friend of Saint Notker Balbulus, with whom he received musical training from Moengal. Tutilo, a monk of Saint-Gall, may have been Tuathal, a younger member of the party of the Irish Bishop Marcus and his nephew who stopped at the abbey on their return from Rome.

Tutilo was a painter, musician and composer of music for harp and other strings, poet, orator, architect, metal worker, mechanic, head of the cloister school, and sculptor, but he is best known for his obedience, recollection, and aversion to publicity. Some of his paintings can be found in Constance, Metz, Saint-Gall, and Mainz. The chapel in which he was buried, dedicated to Saint Catherine, was later renamed for him (Attwater2, Benedictines, D'Arcy, Encyclopedia, Fitzpatrick2).

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