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March 6

St Ollegarius Barcelona Cathedral Interior - March 6

Saint Ollegarius

Bishop, Archbishop

(Around 1060 – 1137)

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Saint Ollegarius

Saint’s Life Story

His Life 

Olegari (as known as Ollegarius, Olaguerand, Olegarius and Oldegar) Bonestruga was born to a noble family of Barcelona around 1060 in Barcelona, Spain. His father was a follower of Ramon Berenguer I, Count of Barcelona and his mother was Guilla (or Guilia). At the age of ten, Ollegarius entered the guild of canon priests of the Cathedral of Barcelona. Later, he served as superior (provost) of the canonries of Barcelona. At Sant Adrià de Besós, Ollegarius was a regulra canon from 1095 until 1108. Then, even later, Ollegarius served as abbot of the Augustinian monastery of Saint-Ruf (Saint Rufus) in Avignon (1113–1118).  As abbot of Saint-Ruf, Ollegarius had mediated the Mediterranean alliance between the Republic of Pisa, Kingdom of Cagliari, County of Provence, and Barcelona against the Almoravid pirates based on the Balearic Islands, resulting in the expedition of 1113 through 1115.

Bishop of Barcelona

At some point, Ollegarius joined the cofradía (confraternity) of San Pedro de la Portella. Raymond Berenguer III named Ollegarius Bishop of Barcelona in 1116. He was consecrated by Cardinal Boso of Sant’Anastasia in the cathedral of Maguelone in Occitania during the pontificate of Paschal II. In 1117, Ollegarius went to Rome to pay homage to Pope Gelasius II.


Ollegarius was know for his reform and was often present at papal synods. He attended Toulouse in 1119, Rheims in 1120, First Lateran in 1123, Narbonne in 1129, Clermont in 1130, and Rheims in 1131. At First Lateran Ollegarius had been declared papal legate over the Crusade in New Catalonia (i.e., the province of Tarragone). He began to take the title dispensator or rector of Tarragona. At Narbonne, the council confirmed the interprovincial archconfraternity (confratrium) for the restoration of the church of Tarragona which Ollegarius had established on a more local level a year earlier. Members of the confraternity, lay and ecclesiastical, noble or otherwise, paid membership dues which went to Ollegarius’ archdiocese.

At Clermont, he probably met Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and his arguments were influential in the condemnation of Antipope Anacletus II. In the 1120s, Ollegarius reformed the monastery of Santa Eulàlia outside Barcelona, turning it into a community of Augustinian canons. Indeed, he was extensively involved in the Augustinian reform of the Catalan monasteries. In 1132, Ollegarius excommunicated the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll over the right to exercise justice for crimes committed on the monastery’s land. In 1133, he granted the sheets and beds of all deceased clergy to the hospital of En Guitard in Barcelona.

Archbishop of Tarragona

On March 8, 1118, after Tarragona was reconquered from the Moors, Ollegarius was consecrated Archbishop of Tarragona (remaining bishop of Barcelona) by Pope Gelasius, who as a monk had lived at Saint-Ruf under Olegarius. Ollegarius received the bull of confirmation and the pallium on March 21, 1118. He was granted full jurisdiction over Tarragona and its countryside by Ramon Berenguer III.  Ollegarius accompanied the Count of Barcelona as pontifical legate in the war which terminated in the imposition of a tribute upon Tortosa and Lérida.. He was a close counsellor to Ramon Berenguer III and Ramon Berenguer IV.

In 1124, at some point after the Battle of Corbin, a great Catalan defeat, Ollegarius is said to have gone on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He cut his stay short at Antioch because of concern for Tarragona and had returned by 1127.

Rebuilding Tarragona

Between 1126 and 1130, Ollegarius was very active in rebuilding Tarragona, its churches especially. He also actively encouraged resettlement and colonization. For the new territory’s defenses, Ollegarius labored to bring in knights and other soldiers. Ollegarius “conferred benefices regularly”, according to his vita. In 1126–1127, the period of his greatest activity in New Catalonia, he began encouraging a second Crusade effort. Ollegarius began by compensating William V of Montpellier for the knights he had lent to Barcelona in 1124–1125. He also reconciled William with his son, Bernard IV of Melgueil, in order to strengthen the anti-Almoravid alliance. On March 14, 1129, Ollegarius ceded this secular authority in the district of Tarragona to Robert Bordet, with whom he had an antagonistic relationship. Instead, Ollegarius concentrated on restoring the metropolitan. The diocese of Tarragona, Ollegarius successfully raised from the condition of neglect and decay into which it had fallen during the Moorish domination. 

Investiture Controversy

In 1129, Ollegarius was drawn into the Investiture Controversy that was raging between Papacy and Empire. He returned to southern France to be with the pope in exile. In 1130, Ollegarius was briefly in Barcelona and then in Castile (at San Zoilo) before returning to France. Ollegarius successfully petitioned for a restoration of the tithe on the revenues from Barcelona’s port, which a new treaty he had negotiated with the Republic of Genoa had recently augmented.

Ollegarius helped establish the Knights Templar in Catalonia “to serve God and fight in our land” in 1134 He played an important role in December 1134 when, at Zaragoza, he brokered a peace between Ramiro II of Aragon and Alfonso VII of Castile. He also negotiated the marriage alliances between Douce I, Countess of Provence and Ramon Berenguer III and of Petronila of Aragon to Ramon Berenguer IV.

St Ollegarius in Barcelona Cathedral Interior

His Death

Ollegarius died on March 6, 1137. There are no details where he died. Since he was Archbishop of Tarragona and Bishop of Barcelona, Ollegarius may have died in either Tarragona or Barcelona, Spain. Ollegarius is interred in the side chapel of Christ of Lepanto, Cathedral of Barcelona, Spain and his body is incorrupt.

Born:                   Around 1060 in Barcelona, Spain

Died:                   March 6, 1137

Beatified:           May 25, 1675 by Pope Clement X

Canonized:        Not Available

Feast Day:         March 6

Patron Saint:    None



Saint Ollegarius, you grew up in a noble family that never lacked for anything. Those priviledges did not stop you from entering the guild of canon priests at the age of ten. You went on to become Bishop of Barcelona and Archbishop of Tarragona.  Saint Ollegarius, you revived and rebuilt the diocese of Tarragona from the sorry state in to which it had fallen during the Moorish occupation.

What priviledges do you have? What can you “walk” away from to serve God? While you may not become Bishop or Archbishop, you can “revive” people you encounter by the example of your Christian life of faith, hope and love.


Saint Ollegarius, you were very active in rebuilding the churches of Tarragona. May you  intercede for us as we try to “rebuild” and strengthen our own churches through a more vibrant and active Catholic life. May the joy of the Eucharist at Mass and the gratitude of a God that provides his mercy through Reconciliation, shine a bright light out to all that we encounter everyday in need of God’s love.

Saint Ollegarius, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Cathedral de Barcelona – Saint Olegarius

Catholic Online – St. Ollegarius

CatholicSaints.Info – Blessed Ollegarius of Tarragona

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Ollegarius (Oldegar, Olegari) of Tarragona, O.S.A., Bishop by Katherine I Rabenstein

John Dillon – A Saint for the Day (March 6): St. Olegarius of Tarragona

New Advent –  Tarragona

Wikipedia – Olegarius

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