Abbot and martyr; b. Lombardy, Italy, early ninth century; d. Teano, Campania, Italy, Oct. 22, 884. He was received into the benedictine order at monte cassino by Bassacio, whom he succeeded as abbot in 848. He enriched the abbey church with precious vessels and Gospel Books, and when he entertained Emperor Louis II in 866, he obtained many privileges for his monastery. From Pope john viii he secured the exemption of Monte Cassino from episcopal jurisdiction. Bertharius encouraged the development of sacred studies and saw many of his students raised to the episcopate. Although he was in his own time a well-known author and medical writer, most of his writings have not survived; but a homily on St. scholastica (d. 543) and a poem on the life, death, and miracles of St. benedict (Patrologia Latina, 217 v. [Paris 1878–90] 126:975–990) do exist. When the Saracens overran southern Italy, Bertharius and a group of monks were martyred in the abbey church at Teano, where they had sought refuge. In 1514, after several transfers, his remains were placed under the altar of a chapel constructed in his honor at Monte Cassino. Pope benedict xiii approved his cult on August 26, 1727.
Feast: Oct. 22.
Bibliography: Acta Sanctae Sedis Oct. 9:663–682. Bibliotheca hagiograpica latina antiquae et mediae aetatis (Brussels 1898–1901) 1107–09, 1271. Biblioteca Casinensis, 5 v. (Monte Cassino 1873–94). e. carusi, "Il Memoratorium dell’abate Bertario," Casinensia 1 (1929) 457–548. g. penco, Storia del monachesimo in Italia (Rome 1961).
[b. d. hill]
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