Orthodox Saints of the Pre-Schism
See of Rome
14th January (NS) — 1st January (OS) 2021
MARTYRS of AFRICA, a group of eight Christians who were martyred in north Africa. Nothing further is known of these saints, and only the names of these four are still known: Argyrus, Felix, Narcissus, Victor.
ALMACHIUS (TELEMACHUS), According to fifth century Church historian and theologian Theodoret of Cyrrhus (†c. 466), a hermit from the East by the name of Telemachus came to Rome during the reign of the Emperor Honourius (r. 384–423). In Rome St. Almachius, as he is more often called, entered an arena, and tried to stop a gladiatorial contest then in progress resulting in his martyrdom. There are two versions of St. Almachius’ martyrdom. The first is St. Almachius’ actions so angered the spectators that they stoned him to death. The second is St. Almachius was arrested and dismembered on the orders of the Prefect Alipius. Regardless of which version, or combination thereof is most accurate, Emperor Honourius was so moved by St. Almachius’ actions, that he forever banned these competitions. He is counted amongst the martyrs of the Faith as his actions prevented the future death of countless Christians. St. Almachius was martyred on either 1st January 391 or 404.
BASIL of AIX, Aside from being listed as one of the celebrants at the funeral of St. Hilary of Arles (5th May) in 449, nothing is known of St. Basil’s early life. He appears on lists of Bishops of Aix-en-Provence (southern France) as receiving Episcopal Consecration circa 475 and serving until his repose circa 521. However, Roman Catholic Priest and Historian Joseph Hyacinthe Albanés (†1897) and Roman Catholic Priest and Critical Historian Louis Duchesne (†1922) both point out that whilst St. Sidonius Apollinaris (21st August), wrote of St. Basil, he made no mention of him having jurisdiction over any particular See. St. Basil is best remembered for his great sanctity and wonderworking.
CLARUS (CLAIR) of VIENNE (CLAIR du DAUPHINÉ), a monk at the Abbey of Saint-Ferréol-Trente-Pas in Vienne (south-eastern France). St. Clarus became known as an insightful theologian who could present the most complex theological issues in a way that was easily understood by all, as well as a perceptive spiritual father. He was appointed abbot of the Abbey of St. Marcel and Abbey of St. Blandine, both in Vienne. A wonderworker, credited with ,many miracles, St. Clarus is said to have the gift of prophecy as well. St. Clarus reposed circa 660 and was buried near the Martyrs of Lyons at the Church of St. Blandine in Lyons (east-central France). His relics, later translated to the Church of St. Peter, also in Lyons, were destroyed during the 16th century French Wars of Religion. St. Clarus is the patron saint of makers of wooden boxes, tubs, and buckets — Boisseliers as well as glass-makers and eye-wear manufacturers.
CONCORDIUS (CONCORDE) of ARLES, a sub-deacon and son of a priest in Rome. During one of the periodic episodes of persecution Christians suffered throughout the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (r. 161–80), St. Concordius was arrested. He was tried in Spoleto in Umbria (central Italy) by Torquatus, the Umbrian Governor. Offered freedom if he would make an offering to Jupiter, St. Concordius refused and was ordered to be tortured. Numerous beatings and torture on the rack, could not induce St. Concordius to renounce Christ, and he is even said to have spat on an idol he was ordered to pay obeisance to. Seeing the futility of further torture, Torquatus sentenced St. Concordius to death, and he was beheaded in 175. His relics were translated to what is present-day La Bisbal d'Empordà, in Catalonia north-eastern Spain, where his feast is observed on 2nd January. It appears that he is the same saint as St. Concordius of Tivoli, also commemorated today on some calendars.
CONNAT (COMNATAN) of KILDARE, the successor of St. Brigid of Kilbride (21st January) as the Abbess of Kildare, St. Connat served as Abbess until her repose circa 590. There is no further information on St. Connat extant.
CUAN (MOCHUA, MONCAN), (Sixth Century), after being educated by St. Comgall of Bangor (10th May) at Bangor Abbey in Co. Down, Ulster, St. Cuan founded a monastery at Gael. He then travelled to Fore, then Hy-Many, in Connaught. St. Cuan went on to found the Diocese and Abbey of Balla, Co. Mayo, Ireland in 616, serving as its first Abbot-Bishop. A tireless wonderworker, and confessor of the faith, St. Cuan lived to be nearly 100, founding many other churches and monasteries throughout Ireland.
DEMET of PLOZÉVET, (Fourth Century), a hermit near present-day Plozévet, Brittany in north-western France. St. Demet is numbered amongst the Breton Missionaries to Britain and is also commemorated by the church of St. Demet in Plozévet. No further information is extant.
ELVAN and MYDWYN, (Second Century), two Britons traditionally believed to have been sent by King St. Lucius (supp. fl. 185) (3rd December) to Pope St. Eleutherius (26th May) to ask for missionaries. Unfortunately, there is no record extant regarding these Saints, hence we are left with unsupported, and perhaps unreliable legends alluded to by St. Bede the Venerable (25th May) and repeated by English Roman Catholic priest and renowned hagiographer Fr. Alban Butler (†1773), for evidence of their existence.
EUGENDUS (OYEND) of CONDAT, A monk at what became the Abbey of St. Eugendus (abbaye Saint-Oyand de Joux — Condat Abbey) in present-day Saint-Claude, Jura, France. St. Eugendus was a distinguished scriptural scholar who refused ordination to the priesthood on several occasions, claiming to be unworthy. He chosen to be Abbot of Condat circa 496, serving until his repose circa 510.
FANCHEA (GARBH) of ROSSORY, a daughter of Conall the Red prince of Oriel, in Ulster, and his wife Briga, and sister of St. Enda of Arran (21st March). The foundress of a convent at Rossory in Fermanagh (Ulster), St. Fanchea was also instrumental in her brother’s decision to embrace monastic life. Reposing towards the end of the sixth century, she was buried in Killane.
FELIX of BOURGES, consecrated Bishop of Bourges (central France) by St. Germain of Paris (28th May), St. Felix served that See until his repose circa 580. St. Felix was one of the 32 bishops who took part in the Fourth Council (Synod) of Paris in September 573. Other than these two events, nothing is known of his life.
FULGENTIUS of RUSPE, a native of the Roman province of Byzacena (present-day western Tunisia), St. Fulgentius was drawn to the monastic life by the work of St. Augustine of Hippo (28th August). He received monastic tonsure in his early twenty’s, and in time St. Fulgentius was ordained to the priesthood and later made abbot of his monastery. Consecrated Bishop of Ruspe (present-day Koudiat Rosfa, Tunisia) circa 507, Arians forced St. Fulgentius to flee within the first year of his episcopacy. Along with sixty other exiled bishops, St. Fulgentius sought refuge in Sardinia, where they built a monastery, and continued to write, pray, and study. St. Fulgentius was permitted to return in 515, however, his debates with the Arians, led to his almost immediate exile. In 523, Hilderic (r. 523–530) assumed the throne, and permitted the exiles to return to Africa. Though St. Fulgentius wanted to return to his monastery and study, his popularity as a preacher he found himself spending most his time in the pulpit. St. Fulgentius reposed in 533, in 714 his relics were translated to Bourges, France.
GISELA of ROSSTREPPE, the daughter of an Eastphalian—present-day northern Germany—noble, and sister of St. Liutberga of Windenhausen (3rd April). St. Gisela was a nun near present-day Thale Germany in the late-ninth century. No further information on her life is extant.
JUSTIN of CHIETI (Date Uncertain)), a Bishop of Chieti in the Abruzzo region of present-day central Italy. Some sources claim St. Justin was the first Bishop of that See, flourishing in the first half of the fourth century, whilst others assert, he flourished in the mid-sixth century. Regardless of which version is correct, St. Justin has been venerated from time immemorial, and on the basis of the longevity of his cult, was added to the Roman Martyrology during the papacy of Benedict XIV (r. 1740 – 1758).
MAELRHYS, a sixth century saint of the Isle of Bardsey in Wales. St. Maelrhys was probably born in Brittany. Nothing further is known of his life.
MARTYRS of ROME, a group of thirty soldiers martyred in Rome during the Diocletianic Persecution (303–313). No further information on them is extant.
ODILO of CLUNY, born to a noble family in Auvergne (south-central France). St. Odilo received monastic tonsure at the Abbey of SS. Peter and Paul of Cluny (abbaye Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul de Cluny — Cluny Abbey) circa 990 and was made abbot four years later. He was a gentle and kind man, known for his generosity to the poor. St. Odilo reposed in 1049.
THAUMASTUS of MAINZ, the limited information on St. Thaumastus extant comes from St. Gregory of Tours (17th November) who wrote of him in The Glory of the Confessors. St. Thaumastus was Bishop of Mainz (in the present-day German state of Rhineland-Palatinate) in the early fifty century. For reasons no longer known, St. Thaumastus was forced to flee his See and settled at Poitiers (west-central France), where he spent the rest of his life in simplicity and prayer. He reposed at Poitiers and was buried there. There have been numerous miracle healings attributed to his tomb or to ingested scrapings from his tomb.
WILLIAM of DIJON, the son of an Italian count, St. William was educated and then received monastic tonsure at Locadio, Vercelli in Piedmont (north-western Italy). In 987, St. William moved to Abbey of SS. Peter and Paul of Cluny (abbaye Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul de Cluny — Cluny Abbey) in Saône-et-Loire (central-eastern France), and shortly thereafter was tasked with reorganising Saint Sernin Abbey on the Rhône, and was soon made Abbot of the Abbey of St. Benignus of Dijon (abbaye de Saint-Bénigne de Dijon) at Dijon in Burgundy (east-central France). He was ordained to the priesthood in 990. St. William was a great proponent of the Cluniac Reform and during his tenure as Abbot, the Abbey of St. Benignus of Dijon (abbaye de Saint-Bénigne de Dijon) at Dijon in Burgundy (east-central France) became an important spiritual, educational, and cultural centre, as well as the mother abbey of at least forty other monastic houses in Burgundy, Lorraine, Normandy, and northern Italy. St. William reposed in 1031.
DATIUS (DACIUS) , consecrated the twenty-seventh Bishop of Milan circa 530, St. Datius was forced to flee to Constantinople after Milan was overrun by Arian Ostrogoths. He spent the rest of his life in exile in Constantinople defending orthodoxy from the heresies of the day, especially Arianism. St. Datius reposed in 552.
EUPHRASIUS, (Date Unknown), a bishop of an unknown see, martyred by Arian Vandals in North Africa. No further details of his life are extant.
FELIX of NOLA, the elder son of Hermias, a Syrian soldier who had retired to Nola near Naples. Upon the death of his father, St. Felix sold his possessions, giving the proceeds to the poor and sought ordination to the priesthood. Having been priested by St. Maximus of Nola (15th January), St. Felix dedicated himself to service of his bishop. During the Decian Persecution (250–251) St. Felix was arrested and tortured while St. Maximus fled to the mountains, but according to legend, an angel freed St. Felix so he could care for the ill St. Maximus. St. Felix successfully hid himself and his bishop until the end of the persecution. Upon the repose of St. Maximus, St. Felix was chosen his successor, however, he demurred, recommending a priest who had been ordained seven days before him as having more experience. St. Felix retired to farm, providing food for the poor and reposed circa 255. Because of the torture and imprisonment he experienced during the Decian Persecution St. Felix is often listed in martyrologies and calendars as a martyr.
FELIX of ROME, (Date Unknown), a priest in Rome, of whom no further information is extant.
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”.