Orthodox Saints of the Pre-Schism See of Rome
ABUNDIUS of ROME, ABUNDANTIUS of ROME, MARCIAN of ROME, and JOHN of ROME, according to tradition SS. Abundius (a priest) and Abundantius (his deacon) had been condemned to death during the first years of the Diocletianic Persecution (303–313). Whilst being escorted to the place of their execution, SS. Abundius and Abundantius met St. Marcian, who was on his way to bury his recently deceased son St. John. St. Abundius prayed over St. John, raising him from the dead. This miracle caused both SS. Marcian and John to embrace Christianity, and they were immediately baptised. All four were subsequently beheaded. St. Marcian is one of the 140 Colonnade saints which adorn St. Peter's Square.
CORNELIUS, the twenty-first Pope of Rome (251–253). The leading issues of his papacy were how the Church should respond to those who apostatised during persecution, but wished to return to the Church, and the Novatian Schism. Pope St. Cornelius was exiled (circa 252) to Centumcellae (present-day Civitavecchia north-west of Rome), where he reposed 253. Early records state he died from the hardships experienced in his exile, however, later sources claim he was beheaded.
CUNIBERT of MAROILLES, a disciple of St. Humbert of Maroilles (25th March) at Maroilles Abbey (abbaye de Maroilles) near the present-day Belgian border in northern France. Following the repose of St. Humbert, St. Cunibert was made Abbot. St. Cunibert reposed circa 680.
CYPRIAN of CARTHAGE, born in North Africa, Thascius Cecilianus Cyprianus was a lawyer who was converted to Christianity at about the age of forty-six (circa 245). Two years after his baptism, St. Cyprian was ordained to the priesthood, and in 248 consecrated Bishop of Carthage (a present-day suburb of Tunis, Tunisia). St. Cyprian was an important figure on the side of Pope St. Cornelius (vide supra) during the Novatian Schism. A prolific author, St. Cyprian wrote a myriad of theological treatises, De Unitate Catholicae Ecclesiae undoubtedly being the most important of his works. One of the greatest of the Church Fathers, St. Cyprian was known for his compassion and fervour as a pastor. St. Cyprian survived the Decian Persecution (250–251) by going into hiding, only to be captured and beheaded in the persecution of Christians during the reign of the Emperor Valerian (r. 253–260).
DULCISSIMA of SUTRI, (Date Unknown), a virgin-martyr of whom nothing is known beyond her being patron saint of Sutri in present-day Italy.
Troparion of St. Edith of Wilton — Tone IV
Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one, and ardently
desiring to labour for Him alone, thou didst struggle in asceticism in
the royal convent at Wilton. And having acquired humility of soul
and spiritual stillness, thou didst pass over to the mansions of
paradise, where thou dost intercede for us O venerable mother Edith.
EDITH (EADGYTH) of WILTON, St. Edith of Wilton was the daughter of St. Edgar the Peaceful (8th July), King of England (r. 957–975) and St. Wulfthryth (13th September). She received monastic tonsure at Wilton Abbey (Wiltshire, England) at the age of fifteen and devoted her life to the care of the sick and the poor. Though it was offered many times, she refused the position of abbess. Her repose, foretold by St. Dunstan of Canterbury (19th May), occurred at the early age of twenty-three (984) and she was buried at Wilton in the new church of St. Denis. Eleventh century Benedictine hagiographer Goscelin [of Canterbury] († after 1107) wrote that about thirteen years after her repose St. Edith is said to have appeared to several people to enjoin them to exhume her incorrupt relics. This was done, and her relics were found to be incorrupt. Her relics were reinterred, though her thumb was enshrined separately and became an important relic. Goscelin went on to tell how Cnut (Canute) the Great, King of England, of Denmark, and of Norway (r. 1016–1035) encountered a terrible storm whilst crossing from England to Denmark; he sought St. Edith’s intercession and the storm calmed. Upon his return to England, King Cnut made a pilgrimage to Wilton to give thanks and commanded that a golden shrine to St. Edith be erected there. Allusions to numerous other, but unspecified, miracles are credited to St. Edith in various hagiographies, and a considerable number of churches throughout England are dedicated to her.
EUGENIA of HOHENBURG, daughter of Adalbert, Duke of Alsace, and the successor of her aunt, St. Odilia of Alsace (13th December), as Abbess of Hohenburg Abbey (Abbaye de Hohenbourg) on Mont Sainte-Odile in present-day Alsace, France. St. Eugenia reposed in 735.
LUCY of ROME and GEMINIAN of ROME, (Late Third Century), these saints have been venerated as martyrs of the Diocletianic Persecution (303–313) since ancient times. However, all that is known of them is from pious legend. It is highly likely that this St. Lucy is the same as St. Lucy of Syracuse (13th December), and St. Geminian a fictional character.
LUDMILLA of CZECHIA, a Bohemian princess and grandmother of Prince St. Wenceslas of Bohemia (28th September). Following the untimely repose of her husband, Boriwoi I of Bohemia, St. Ludmilla led an austere, pious life and continued to be concerned about the Church in Bohemia (western Czech Republic). However, following the death of her son and successor of her husband, her daughter-in-law, Dragomira, sought to use her influence over the young and inexperienced St. Wenceslas to re-introduce pagan customs back into the country. This, naturally, was met with opposition by St. Ludmilla, and Dragomira eventually sent two assassins to murder her, which they did, whilst St. Ludmilla was at prayer in her home in Tetín (Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic) on 15th September, 921. Her relics were initially buried at Tetín in the city wall, and numerous healings occurred at her grave. St. Wenceslas, later had her relics translated to church of St. George in Prague.
NINIAN, St. Ninian was a native Briton. According to St. Bede the Venerable (25th May), St. Ninian received his education and Episcopal consecration at Rome, and was then sent back to his native land as a missionary. St. Ninian founded the Episcopal See of Withern, or “Candida Casa” (so-called because St. Ninian’s Cathedral was built of white stone, the first to be so in Britain), at present-day Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway. This church, dedicated to St. Martin of Tours (11th November), is the first recorded Christian church to have been built in Scotland. From his cathedral, and the monastery attached to it, St. Ninian and his monks enlightened the northern Britons and the Picts, and St. Ninian became known as the Apostle of Cumberland and of the Southern Picts of Scotland. It is generally believed that St. Ninian reposed circa 432, though an eighth century poem, the Miracula Nynie Episcopi, claims he was a contemporary of a local king called Tudwal; a king of that name ruled at Dumbarton circa 550. St. Ninian was buried at his church. In the Middle Ages his tomb became a place of pilgrimage.
Troparion of St. Ninian — Tone I
O Ninian, thou faithful servant of Christ, equal of the apostles,
as a vessel overflowing with the love of Christ thou didst enlighten
the land of the Picts with the Faith; wherefore, we beseech thee most earnestly:
Entreat the life-creating Trinity, that the Scottish land
may regain its ancient piety, that peace be granted to the world,
and salvation to all who honour thy holy memory.
ROGELIUS of CÓRDOBA and SERVUS-DEI, St. Rogelius a monk, and St. Servus-Dei, his spiritual child, and possible Cell Attendant, were martyred in 852 at Córdoba (southern Spain) for publicly denouncing Islam (the official charge being blasphemy). They were the first martyrs under the Emir Muhammad I of Córdoba (r. 852–886) and are counted amongst the forty-eight Christians known as the Martyrs of Córdoba.
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”.