Bishop and patron of Benevento; b. Cerreto Sannita, Italy, early seventh century; d. Benevento, Italy, Feb. 19,682. Little is known of his life until he succeeded Hildebrand as bishop of Benevento in 663, but he devoted his attention both before and after his election to stamping out the remains of pagan superstitions in his diocese. It was reported that he won the support of his people by predicting both the calamities that would occur because of the invasion in 663 of the army of Emperor constans ii and the later lifting of the siege. In 681 he attended the sixth general council, constantinople iii; he died not long after he returned from this meeting. He is especially venerated in Benevento, where his body is buried under the main altar of the cathedral. There is a tendentious life of Barbatus dating from the ninth century (ed. G. Waitz, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum Langobardicarum [Berlin 1826— ] 556–563).
Feast: Feb. 19.
Bibliography: Bibliotheca hagiograpica latina antiquae et mediae aetatis (Brussels 1898–1901) 973–975. a. p. frutaz, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 1:1238. g. cangiano, Origini della chiesa Beneventana (Benevento 1923) 40–51; "Sulla leggenda della 'vipera longobarda' e delle 'streghe,'" Atti della Societá storica del Sannio 5–7 (1927–29) 84–96. a. m. jannacchino, S. Barbato e il suo secolo (Benevento 1902).
[r. e. geiger]