Dr. John (Ellsworth) Hutchison-Hall

Writings on Orthodox Christian theology and related miscellanea.

Writings on Orthodox Christian theology and related miscellanea.

Western Saints of the Orthodox Church — 20th March

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BENIGNUS, an Abbot of the Abbey of St. Wandrille of Fontenelle Normandy. Having been exiled from Fontenelle, St. Benignus retired to the Abbey of St. Germer of Fly in Picardy. There he was chosen by the monks to be their Abbot. He was later able to return to Fontanelle, where he remained until his repose in A.D. 725.

CUTHBERT, our father among the saints Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, Wonderworker of Britain, was a monastic missionary and bishop during the seventh century A.D. in Scotland and the north of England, where he is still widely venerated.

Troparion of St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne — Tone III

While still in your youth, you laid aside all worldly cares,
and took up the sweet yoke of Christ,
and you were shown forth in truth to be nobly radiant
in the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, God established you as a rule of faith and shepherd of His radiant flock,
Godly-minded Cuthbert, converser with angels and intercessor for men.

Kontakion of St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne — Tone I

Having surpassed your brethren in prayers, fasting and vigils,
you were found worthy to entertain an angel in the form of a pilgrim;

and having shown forth with humility as a bright lamp set on high,
you received the gift of working wonders.
And now as you dwell in the Heavenly Kingdom, our righteous Father Cuthbert,
intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

There are several conflicting legends regarding St. Cuthbert’s early life. The general consensus is that he was a shepherd who had a vision at the moment of the death of St. Aidan (31st August), seeing that saint rising in glory to Heaven, which led him to embrace the monastic life. He was tonsured at Melrose under St. Eata (26th October), and was taught by St. Boswell (23rd February). After several years, there, where he was held in awe by his fellow monks for his fasting and vigils, St. Eata selected several monks to join him and St. Cuthbert, on a journey to a new monastery at Ripon. However, due to the disagreement over the Celtic versus Roman practices of calculating the date of Pascha, they returned to Melrose. Following the Synod of Whitby, St. Cuthbert seems to have accepted the Roman liturgical practices, and after St. Columba (9th June) and his monks left Lindisfarne, SS. Cuthbert and Eata went to Lindisfarne, where St. Cuthbert eventually became abbot.

Icon of St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

Icon of St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

During his first years at Lindisfarne, St. Cuthbert actively continued his missionary work, travelling southward to Northumberland and Durham, though he sincerely desired the life of an anchorite. In A.D. 676 he retired to a cave, and then into a cell he built on the isolated island of Inner Farne, south of Lindisfarne. Alas, his solitude was not to last, as the king implored him to accept episcopal consecration, and St. Cuthbert was made Bishop of Lindisfarne in A.D. 684. Whilst maintaining an ascetic life, St. Cuthbert led his diocese, caring for the sick, distributing alms, and working the many miracles that earned him the title of Wonderworker of Britain. Then in late A.D. 686, in declining health, he resigned his office and retired to his cell on Inner Farne Island where he reposed, 20th March A.D. 687. He was buried at Lindisfarne, though in the ninth century A.D. the Viking threat prompted the Lindisfarne community to move his body, which was found to be still incorrupt, to a safer site, first to Chester-le-Street, and finally to Durham. Important sanctuary rights developed early around St. Cuthbert’s body, and his cult, surviving both the Scandinavian and Norman conquests, emerged as one of the most important in medieval England. His pectoral cross, portable altar, coffin-reliquary, and other objects survived the destruction of his shrine in A.D. 1539-40, and were recovered when his tomb in Durham Cathedral was opened in A.D. 1827.

HERBERT, according to St. Bede the Venerable (25th May), he was a disciple of St. Cuthbert (vide supra), who lived as an anchorite on what is now called St. Herbert’s Island in Lake Derwenwater, in the Lake District of England. He reposed on the same day as his holy master, 20th March, A.D. 687.

MARTIN of BRAGA, a native of Pannonia (in present-day Hungary), who became a monk in the Holy Land, but later went to Galicia on the Iberian Peninsula where he introduced coenobitic monasticism. St. Martin is also credited with converting the Suebi from Arianism to Christianity. He later served as Bishop of Mondoñedo, in north-western present-day Spain, and then of Braga, in north-western present-day Portugal. St. Martin reposed in A.D. 580, several of his writings are still extant.

REMIGIUS, an Alsatian nobleman, son of Hugh, Duke of Alsace, and cousin of St. Odilia of Alsace (13th December). St. Remigius was educated at the Abbey of St. Gregory of Munster, near Colmar in Alsace. After completing his education St. Remigius received monastic tonsure at the Abbey and later served as its Abbot. In A.D. 776 St. Remigius was consecrated twenty-fourth Bishop of Strasbourg, serving until his repose in A.D. 783.

TERTRICUS, the son of St. Gregory of Langres (4th January), and uncle of St. Gregory of Tours (17th November). Tertricus succeeded his father as Bishop of Langres circa A.D. 540, and reposed in A.D. 572. Nothing further is known of St. Tertricus’ life.

URBITIUS, a fifth century A.D. Bishop of Metz. St. Urbitius is credited with building a church in honour of St. Felix of Nola (14th January), which became the church of the fourteenth century A.D. Abbey of Saint-Clément of Metz. St. Urbitius reposed circa A.D. 420.

WILLIAM (GUILLERMO) of PEÑACORADA, fleeing his abbey in Satagún with his fellow monks, just ahead of the Saracens in A.D. 988, St. William settled at Peñacorada. There he built the monastery of Santa Maria de los Valles. St. William reposed circa A.D. 1042.

WULFRAM, as a reward for services to Clotaire III St. Wulfram was consecrated an intruder Archbishop of Sens in A.D. 682. However, in A.D. 685, St. Wulfram resigned in favour of the licit Archbishop. Assisted by monks from Frontenelle Abbey, St. Wulfram spent many years evangelising the Frisians. He then retired to Frontenelle, where he reposed in A.D. 720.

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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”.

Details of British Saints excerpted from Orthodox Saints of the British Isles.
Details of continental saints from these sources.

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