Western Saints of the Orthodox Church 29th November
BLAISE and DEMETRIUS, (Date Unknown), martyrs at Veroli in Lazio, of whom no further information is extant.
BRENDAN of BIRR, founder of the Abbey of Birr in Offaly, which was the location of the Synod of Birr in 697, at which the Lex Innocentium, better known as Cáin Adomnáin (Law of Adomnán) was promulgated. The Abbey is also where the MacRegol or Rushworth Gospels, were produced c. 800.
St. Brendan began his monastic life as a disciple of St. Finian (12th December) at that great Irish nursery of saints of Clonard Abbey in present-day Co. Meath. At Clonard, St. Brendan was one of the group of students who went on to be known as the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland”, and is often known as St. Brendan the Elder to distinguish him from his better-known namesake and fellow student at Clonard St. Brendan the Voyager (16th May).
Despite being one of the lesser-known Apostles of Ireland, St. Brendan was an eminent church figure, as is evidenced by the epithet he was given of ‘Prophet of Ireland’. His eminence was further demonstrated by his defence of his close friend St. Columba (9th June) at the Synod of Meltown (in all likelihood c. 562), which prompted the synod to give St. Columba a sentence of exile, rather than excommunication over his role in the Battle of Cúl-drebene. Another consequence of St. Brendan’s long friendship and support for St. Columba was the development of close connexions between Birr and the various monasteries founded by St. Columba.
St. Brendan reposed circa 572, and at the moment of his repose St. Columba had a miraculous vision of St. Brendan’s soul carried by angels to Heaven.
Troparion of St. Brendan of Birr — Tone VIII
Most glorious ascetic and chief of Ireland's
Prophets, O Father Brendan, thou a bright beacon in the western isle guiding many to
salvation. At thy heavenly birthday the Angels rejoiced and miraculously announced their joy
to our Father Columba. The prayers of the
righteous avail much for us sinners. Wherefore
O Saint, pray to God for us that He will find
us a place in the Mansions of the Blest.
EGELWINE (ETHELWINE, AYLWINE), (Seventh Century), a prince of the House of Wessex, St. Egelwine abandoned the world and lived in great holiness as an anchorite at Athelney, Somerset, England.
HARDOIN, a Briton who travelled to Brittany where he lived as a hermit and later served as Bishop of St. Pol-de-Léon. One legend states St. Hardoin was transported from the British Isles to Brittany in a stone boat propelled by angels. St. Hardoin reposed circa 650.
ILLUMINATA, a maiden, and possibly a martyr, in Todi, Umbria. St Illuminata reposed in the early fourth century.
RADBOD, consecrated fifteenth Bishop of Utrecht 900, he was forced to spend his final years in exile after his diocese was invaded by Vikings. St. Radbod reposed at Deventer in present-day Holland 917.
Troparion of St. Sadwen — Tone VIII
The remoteness of the Welsh mountains was
thy desert, O Father Sadwen, where thou didst
serve God in fasting and humility.
May thy continual intercession avail
for us sinners that our souls may be saved.
SADWRN (SADWEN), (Sixth Century), brother of St. Illtyd (6th November) and disciple of St. Cadfan (1st November). As is the case with his brother, nothing known of St. Sadwrn’s life and without the existence of churches in Wales dedicated to him, his existence might have been completely overlooked.
SATURNINUS (SERNIN), sent to help revitalise Christianity in Gaul following the Decian Persecution (250 – 251). St. Saturninus worked mainly in Toulouse and environs, serving as the first Bishop of Toulouse. He was martyred (circa 257) by the area’s pagan priests for his refusal to worship idols. There are several legends which link him with evangelism in other parts of Gaul and the Iberian Peninsula however, these are not historically verifiable.
SATURNINUS and SISINIUS, though there are no reliable details extant, it is thought that St. Saturninus was a native of Carthage who served as a priest in Rome. There, he, and his deacon Sisinius, were arrested during the persecutions under Emperor Maximian. They were then either sentenced to hard labour and worked to death, or were tortured and beheaded circa 257, and then buried on the Via Saleria, Rome.
WALDERIC, under the patronage of King Louis the Pious, St. Walderic founded and served as first Abbot of a monastery at Murrhardt, Swabia. St. Walderic reposed circa 817.
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”.