Saint Benno: The Iconography
St. Benno will be seen with a bishop's crozier and mitre; his attributes are a fish and a key. He was Bishop of Meissen, in Germany, in the 11th century. He did much to reform his diocese and supported the Pope against Emperor Henry IV.

According to a popular legend, when the Emperor came to the Meissen cathedral for communion St. Benno, knowing that Henry was excommunicate, locked up the cathedral and had the key thrown in the river. When the Emperor left in frustration, the saint then had a fisherman throw his net into the river and one of the fish thus captured had the key (Emser, 168). We see this story pictured in the second image at right.

Prepared in 2014 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University, revised 2015-09-19.


St. Benno with his episcopal vestments, attributes, and seal (Source: Acta Sanctorum, June vol. 3, 150)

The miracle of the fish (See the description page)


  • Lived 1010-1106


  • Jerome Emser's Latin Vita of St. Benno is in Acta Sanctorum, June vol. 3, 150-173.
  • In English, see Butler, II, 555-56.