Pre-Schism Orthodox Western Saints
12th May (NS) — 29th April (OS)
29th April O.S.
AGAPIUS and COMPANIONS (MARTYRS of CIRTA), a group of clergy and laity martyred in Cirta in Numidia (present-day Tunisia), during the persecutions under Valerian (r. A.D. 253 – 260). According to the Roman Martyrology those martyred with St. Agapius were: Antonia, Emilian, Secundinus, Tertula, and a woman and twin children whose names are no longer known.
AVA (AVIA), a niece of King Pepin the Short (r. A.D. 751 – 768), who was miraculously healed by St. Rainfrede (8th October) of blindness which she had suffer since childhood. In time St. Ava, received monastic tonsure at Denain Abbey in Hainault, and later serving as its Abbess. St. Ava reposed circa A.D. 845.
DANIEL, (Ninth Century), according to a legend of suspect veracity, St. Daniel was native of Asia Minor who became a hermit at an unknown location in present-day Spain. He is listed as a martyr, though the circumstances and location of his martyrdom are unknown.
DICTINUS, (Fifth Century), St. Patrick’s (17th March) first convert in Ireland, St. Dictinus was the son of an Irish chieftain and a swineherd in his youth. He gave St. Patrick the land at Saul for his first church.
ENDELLION, (Sixth Century ?), St. Endellion was one of the daughters of St. Brychan of Brycheiniog (6th April) and sister of St. Nectan (17th June). According to legend she was the Goddaughter of King Arthur. St. Endellion lived as an anchorite in Cornwall and is commemorated by the church and village of St. Endellion in north Cornwall, England.
FIACHAN (FIANCHINE), (Seventh Century), St. Fiachan was a monk under St. Carthage the Younger (14th May) at the famous Lismore Abbey in Co. Waterford. He is especially remembered for his obedience and gift of prayer.
GUNDEBERT, (Eighth Century), the husband of St. Bertha (1st May) and brother of St. Nivard (1st September). Towards the end of his life, St. Gundebert separated from St. Bertha by mutual consent. He then went to Ireland where he received monastic tonsure. St. Gundebert met his martyrdom when his monastery was sacked by pagans, and he was killed.
PAULINUS of BRESCIA, a sixth century A.D. Bishop of Brescia. Consecrated circa A.D. 524 he served the See until his repose in A.D. 545.
SENAN, (Seventh Century), St. Senan was a hermit in northern Wales about whom there is no information extant.
SEVERUS, an early fifth century A.D. Bishop of Naples. A renowned wonderworker, St. Severus once brought a man back to life, so he could testify on behalf of his wife who was facing unfounded charges. St. Severus reposed in A.D. 409.
TORPES, although the subject of many early Lives, which are almost complete devoid of fact, little is actually known of St. Torpes. As far as is known he was martyred in Pisa, circa A.D. 65, during Nero’s (r. A.D. 54-68) persecution of Christians. The town of Saint-Tropez in France is named for him.
WILFRID the YOUNGER, after receiving his education at Whitby Abbey under St. Hilda (17th November), St. Wilfrid attached himself to St. John of Beverley (7th May). He later succeeded St. John as the last Bishop of York, as the See was elevated to an archbishopric during the time of his successor. St. Wilfrid resigned the See in A.D. 732, retiring to Ripon until his repose in A.D. 744. He was buried at Ripon, though it is possible his relics were later translated to Canterbury in the mistaken belief they were those of his more famous namesake (12th November).
12th May N.S.
DIOMMA, (Fifth Century), St. Diomma is the patron saint of Kildimo in Co. Limerick, Ireland and was the teacher of St. Déclán of Ardmore (24th July) amongst others. Nothing further is known about him.
DIONYSIUS, uncle, and guardian of St. Pancras (vide infra), both of whom travelled from their native Asia-Minor to Rome. Pagans when they arrived in Rome, they were baptised and soon martyred for their faith during the Diocletianic Persecution A.D. 304.
ÆTHELHARD (ETHELHARD), St. Æthelhard was the fourteenth Archbishop of Canterbury. Little reliable information of his early life exists. It seems that he was a native of Louth in Lincolnshire England and entered the monastery there, becoming Abbot before being consecrated Bishop of Winchester. He served that See until A.D. 793 when he was elevated to Canterbury. His time as Archbishop was one of political upheaval as King Offa of Mercia was attempting to bring the church under his secular control, much in imitation of Charlemagne on the Continent. St. Æthelhard reposed A.D. 805.
FLAVIA DOMITILLA, EUPHROSYNA, and THEODORA, (Second Century), St. Flavia Domitilla, a member of the Roman aristocracy, granddaughter, or niece of several emperors, and married to the nephew of one as well. Banished by her great uncle Emperor Domitian (r. A.D. 81 – 96) to the Island of Pontia (present-day Ponza, Italy) for being a Christian, there she converted her foster sisters SS. Euphrosyna and Theodora. Though the details are fuzzy, all three were most likely martyred by being burnt alive at Terracina south-east of Rome.
Prior to the Schism the Patriarchate of Rome was Orthodox, and fully in communion with the Orthodox Church. As Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco +1966 said “The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable Liturgy is far older than any of her heresies”.
MODOALD, a courtier at the Court of the Merovingian King Dagobert I (r. A.D. 603 – 639) who was consecrated thirty-first Bishop of Trier A.D. 622. One of St. Modoald’s great achievements while Bishop was getting King Dagobert to abandon his life of intemperance, repent, and spend the rest of his life as a devout Christian. St. Modoald reposed A.D. 640. He was originally buried in the church of Autun Abbey, and in the early twelfth century A.D. his relics were translated to Paderborn, Germany.
NEREUS and ACHILLEUS, two members of the Praetorian Guard who having been baptised, it is thought by St. Peter the Apostle (29th June), were banished to the Island of Pontia (present-day Ponza, Italy) and later beheaded at Terracina south-east of Rome circa A.D. 100.
PANCRAS, a youth martyred with his uncle (vide Dionysius supra) during the Diocletianic Persecution A.D. 304. In the mid-seventh century A.D. Pope St. Vitalian (27th January) translated some relics of St. Pancras from Rome to the British Isles so that new churches there would have relics for their altars. St. Augustine of Canterbury subsequently dedicated the first church in England to St. Pancras. Over time other churches in England were dedicated to St. Pancras, and he has always enjoyed popularity there.
PHILIP of AGIRONE, (Date Unknown) venerated in Sicily as its first missionary. There is a shrine to him in the village of Agirone. Although there are many legends about St. Philip, nothing further of any veracity is known about him.
RICTRUDIS, a member of the Gascony nobility, St. Richtrudis married fellow noble St. Adalbald (2nd February) with whom she had four children: SS. Maurontius (9th January), Eusebia (20th September), Clotsindis (30th June) and Adalsindis (25th December). Following the murder of St. Adalbald (A.D. 652), she was pressed to marry again, but with the help of her spiritual father St. Amandus (6th February) her relations relented, and St. Rictrudis received monastic tonsure from St. Amandus. St. Rictrudis then entered, and for some time served as Abbess of, the double monastery at Marchiennes in the north of present-day France which she her husband had help found. There St. Rictrudis was joined by three of her children – SS. Adalsindis, Clotsindis, and Maurontius. St. Rictrudis reposed A.D. 688.