Orthodox Saints of the Pre-Schism See of Rome
DENIS (DIONYSIUS) of PARIS, RUSTICUS, and ELEUTHERIUS, St. Denis has for many years been regarded as the patron saint of France. According to St. Gregory of Tours (17th November), St. Denis was sent circa 250 to preach the Gospel at Lutetia Parisiorum (present-day Paris), and served as the first Bishop of Paris. He was beheaded with the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius at Montmartre (Hill of the Martyrs) circa 258. The Abbey of Saint-Denis, where French kings were interred, was built on the site of their martyrdom. According to a later legend, St. Denis carried his severed head from Montmartre to his burial place at Vicus Catulliacus, the present-day Parisian suburb of St. Denis.
DEUSDEDIT of MONTE CASSINO, the fifteenth Abbot of Monte Cassino, a man of great learning and holiness of life, who was especially renowned for his almsgiving. St. Deusdedit was kidnapped in 836, and attempts were made to extort money in exchange for his release, however, he was subject to torture during his captivity resulting in his repose before any money was paid. St. Deusdedit was subsequently venerated as a martyr.
DOMNINUS (DONNINO), a native of Parma (northern Italy) who, according to tradition, was a chamberlain in the Milanese court of Emperor Maximian Herculeus (r. 286–305), and a secret convert to Christianity. When Maximian learnt of the conversion in 304, he ordered St. Domninus’ arrest. St. Domninus fled in the hopes of avoiding capture, heading towards Rome on the Via Claudia Augusta, but was captured and beheaded not far from Parma.
GEMINUS, patron saint of the village of San Gemini in Umbria (central Italy). St. Geminus reposed circa 815.
GHISLAIN (GISLENUS, GUISLAIN) of MONS, an anchorite who lived in the forest in Hainault, near present-day Mons in Belgium. As disciples gathered around him, St. Ghislain built the Abbey of SS. Peter and Paul (abbaye Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul), now the Abbey of St. Ghislain (abbaye Saint-Ghislain). He served as abbot for about thirty-five years before reposing circa 680.
GUNTHER of NIEDERALTEICH, Duke of Thuringia, and related to several central European royal families, St. Gunther enjoyed a worldly life as a member of Court. Then in 1005, at the age of fifty, he was brought to repentance by St. Godehard of Hildesheim (4th May) and in penance for his heretofore misspent life, resolved to enter monastic life. For this reason, the following year, St. Gunther, following a pilgrimage to Rome, received monastic tonsure at the Abbey of St. Maurice Niederaltaich (Abtei Heilige Moritz Niederaltaich) in Bavaria (southern Germany). However, his pride and worldly ambition soon reared its head and St. Gunther, against the counsel of St. Godehard, insisted on becoming Abbot of Göllingen Abbey in North Thüringen (east-central Germany), which St. Gunther had endowed and retained ownership of. Needless to say, as a novice in the monastic life, he was not successful in this role, and in humility went to live as a hermit in the Bavarian Forest near the Czech border about 100 km (60 miles) east of Regensburg. In time, a community grew around him which became the Rinchnach Priory, a dependency of Niederaltaich. St. Gunther reposed at Hartmanitz (present-day Hartmanice in the Czech Republic) in 1045.
LAMBERT and VALERIUS (BELLÈRE, BERIHER), disciples of St. Ghislain (vide supra) in Hainault near Mons in present-day Belgium. They reposed circa 680.
SABINUS (SAVIN) of the LAVEDAN, Apostle of the Lavedan, according to tradition, St. Sabinus was a native of Barcelona (north-eastern Spain), educated at Poitiers (west-central France) and received monastic tonsure at the Abbey of St. Martin of Ligugé (abbaye Saint-Martin de Ligugé) in Vienne (south-eastern France), later living as a hermit. He is believed to have reposed circa 820.
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”.