Albertus Magnus

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Saint Albert the Great

Albertus Magnus (1206 – November 15, 1280), also known as Albert the Great, was the Bishop of Regensburg. A German Dominican, a teacher, a scientist, philosopher, theologian and an extraordinary genius. Contemporary Ulrich Engelbert calls Albert "the wonder and the miracle of his age." [1] Albert was a teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas. He introduced Greek Arabic science and philosophy to medieval Europe. He also decisively positioned the Church toward Aristotle's philosophy of merging religion and science. Albert proved to the world that the Church is not opposed to the study of nature, and that faith and science may go hand in hand. He was designated a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI, in December 1931.

Early Years[edit]

St. Albert the Great was born in Lauingen on the Danube in Germany. His father served for Emperor Frederick II as military lord in the army. As a young man Albert studied at the University of Padua. An influential Dominican, blessed Jordan of Saxony, made tours of universities. His visit would be the deciding factor in Albert's becoming a Dominican. Despite fierce family opposition, he entered the Dominican novitiate.[2]


After several teaching assignments he came to the University of Paris in 1241. By 1248, he setup his studies in Cologne. A small band of budding theologians, among those his greatest pupil Thomas Aquinas, accompanied him to Cologne. Albertus was among the first and greatest of the natural scientists, gaining a reputation for expertise in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geography, metaphysics, and mathematics. Albert received his Doctorate in theology. In 1254, Albert was elected Provincial of his Order in Germany. In 1260, he was appointed bishop of Regensberg; when he resigned after three years, he was called to be an adviser to the Pope. He was sent on several diplomatic missions and took part in the Council of Lyons in 1274.


Albert wrote extensively on Alchemy; Metals and Materials; the Secrets of Chemistry; the Origin of Metals; the Origins of Compounds, Arsenic and other alchemy-chemistry topics titled Theatrum Chemicum. He has thirty-eight volumes containing topics such as logic, theology, botany, geography, astronomy, astrology, mineralogy, chemistry, zoology, physiology, and phrenology. A total of twenty-seven works on the Aristotelian scheme of the sciences.


He died a very old man in Cologne on November 15, 1280 and is buried in St. Andrea's Church in Cologne.[3] His writings are remarkable for their exact scientific knowledge. St. Albert is the patron of scientists and philosophers. Also known as the Universal Doctor.

See also[edit]


  1. St. Albertus Magnus Catholic Encyclopedia
  2. St. Albert the Great American Catholic