Emilian of Cogolla

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Our venerable and God-bearing father Emilian of Cogolla, (Spanish; San Millán de la Cogolla), also Aemilian, or Emilian of the Cowl, was a hermit and priest in La Rioja, Spain of the sixth century whose life as a hermit attracted a following of laity and led to the founding of a mountain hermitage that became the Mozarabic Monastery of San Millan de la Cogolla. He is commemorated on November 12.


Emilian was born about 472 in La Rioja, Spain. He was a shepherd who upon reaching maturity decided to become a hermit. After spending several years with Felix an experienced hermit, Emilian took up residence in the mountains.

Several years later, Emilian was called by Didymus, Bishop of Tarazona, to be ordained a priest and assigned to the parish of Berceo. As a priest, Emilian generously distributed the funds from the parish to the poor. The extent of his generosity was such that his fellow priests found fault and opposed him a situation that finally led to his being allowed to return to a hermitic life in the mountains.

In the wilderness, Emilian lived a life that attracted many people from among the laity. This in turn resulted in the growth of a small monastic community of which he became their abbot. His mountain hermitage became the Monastery of San Millan de Suso. In the eleventh century, the de Suso monastery merged with the Monastery of San Millan de Yuso under the supervision of the same abbot. The combined monastery is known as the Monastery of San Millan de Cogolla.

Emilian lived to a venerable age and reposed about the year 574. He was buried in his cell. He is a patron saint of Castille and Aragon.