Orthodox Saints of the Pre-Schism See of Rome
AGILUS (AIL, AILE, AISLE, AYEUL), a young nobleman in the Frankish Court, who received monastic tonsure from St. Columbanus the Younger (21st November) at the Abbey of SS. Peter and Paul of Luxeuil (abbaye Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul de Luxeuil) in Burgundy (east-central France). St. Agilus in 612 accompanied St. Columbanus' successor, St. Eustace of Luxeuil (29th March), on his mission to Bavaria (southern Germany). Upon returning to Burgundy, St. Agilus was made Abbot of the Abbey of St. Peter of Rebais (l'abbaye Saint-Pierre de Rebais), in Rebais (north-central France). St. Agilus reposed in 650.
BONIFACE and THECLA of HADRUMENTUM, according to the most commonly accepted tradition, SS. Boniface and Thecla were martyred, along with their twelve children, at Hadrumentum (present-day Sousse, Tunisia) during the Decian Persecution (250–251). However, there are respected authorities who place the date of their martyrdom approximately fifty years later, asserting it took place during the Diocletianic Persecution (303–313). Still yet others are of the opinion that they survived both persecutions, reposing of natural causes at a later date. It has also been argued that their children are one and the same as the Twelve Holy Brothers commemorated on 1st September.
BONONIUS of LUCEDIO, a native of Bologna (northern Italy), and disciple of St. Romuald of Ravenna (19th June). Sent by St. Romuald to preach in Egypt and Syria, St. Bononio also spent some time as a hermit in the Sinai before returning to Italy. He spent his later life as Abbot of a monastery near Trino in Piedmont (north-western Italy). St. Bononius reposed in 1026.
FANTINUS the WONDERWORKER, a native of Calabria (southern Italy) who received monastic tonsure at the age of thirteen, and later served as an abbot, but spent much of his life as an anchorite. Towards the end of his life he was forced to flee to Greece after Saracens sacked his monastery. St. Fantinus preached in Corinth, Athens, Larissa, and Thessalonica, before reposing peacefully at an advanced age, towards the end of the tenth century, in Greece. Both before and after his death St. Fantinus was renowned for his wonderworking.
FELIX and ADAUCTUS of ROME, martyrs beheaded in Rome most likely during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (r. 284–305). St. Felix was a priest who refused to make an offering to pagan gods, and so was ordered beheaded by the Prefect Dracus. As he was being led to execution, an unknown bystander proclaimed his own belief in Christ, and was rewarded with martyrdom along with St. Felix. The name of this person has never been known, hence he has been called Adauctus (Latin for ‘increase’).
FIACRIUS (FIACRE, FIAKER, FÈVRE), claimed by both Scotland and Ireland as a native son, St. Fiacrius travelled to Gaul (France), and was given a blessing by St. Faro of Meaux (28th October), then Bishop of Meaux (near Paris), to live as an anchorite in a forest in the diocese. St. Fiacrius spent the rest of his life in that forest, though his hermitage soon became a place of pilgrimage, and both in life as in death, is known for the many miracles he worked. St. Fiacrius reposed circa 670.
GAUDENTIA of ROME and COMPANIONS, (Date Unknown), a holy virgin in Rome, who, according to tradition, was martyred with three others. However, the more ancient martyrologies do not list her as a martyr, and all particulars concerning her life are no longer extant.
LOARN, (Fifth Century), St. Loarn, a native of the west of Ireland, was converted by St. Patrick of Ireland (17th March) when the great Apostle missionised that area. The Martyrology of Tallaght records that St. Loarn was noted for his holiness of life and for unspecified supernatural gifts, he received from God. Though not generally known to have been a priest, the Martyrology of Donegal lists him as “a Priest of Achadh-mor”.
PAMMACHIUS, a Roman senator who was married to Paulina, the second of daughter of St. Paula of Rome (26th January). After the repose of his wife (circa 393–397), he and St. Fabiola of Rome (27th December) built a hospice at the mouth of the Tiber opposite Ostia, and also received monastic tonsure, dedicating the rest of his life to prayer and the service those less fortunate. St. Pammachius reposed in 410.
PELAGIUS the HERMIT, ARSENIUS the HERMIT, and SYLVANUS the HERMIT, according to tradition they were hermits near Burgos in Old Castile in Spain, who were martyred by the Moors circa 950.
PETER of TREVI, a native of Carsoli in Abruzzo (southern Italy), who worked to enlighten the peasants of Tivoli (central Italy), Anagni (central Italy), and Subiaco (central Italy), amongst whom St. Peter quickly became renowned as a gifted preacher. He reposed in 1050, whilst still young, at Trevi near Subiaco.
RUMON of TAVISTOCK, (Sixth Century), St. Rumon is said to have been a bishop and patron saint of Tavistock in England, and Romansleigh, Devon, England is named for him. However, there is no historical record of his life extant and it is possible that he is the same saint as the St. Ronan of Cornwall whose feast is observed on 1st June. In the absence of any definitive documentation, this theory is purely conjectural.
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”.
In many cases there are several spelling versions of the names of saints from the British Isles. I use the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography version as the primary version with the more prevalent version in parenthesis e.g. Ceadda (Chad) of Lichfield.