Pre-Schism Orthodox Western Saints
16th September (NS) — 3rd September (OS) 2019
AIGULPHUS (AYOU, AYOUL) of LÉRINS and COMPANIONS, monks at the Abbey of St. Benedict on the Loire (abbaye de Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire — Fleury Abbey) who were sent to retrieve the relics of St. Benedict of Nursia (11th July) from the wreckage of Abbey of Monte Cassino. St. Aigulphus later served as Abbot of the Abbey of Our Lady of Lérins (abbaye Notre Dame de Lérins) on one of the Lérins Islands in the Mediteranian Ocean off the Côte d’Azur in France, where it is said he undertook much needed reforms. His clashes with a local chieftain, led to him being taken, with four of his monks, to an island near Corsica where they were all martyred, circa 676.
AMBROSE of SENS, a Bishop of Sens (north-central France) who reposed circa 455, and about whom no further information is extant.
AUXANUS, known in Milan as Sant'Ansano, where he seems to have served as bishop for two or three years. St. Auxanus has always been held in great veneration as a Saint and an exemplar of an ideal bishop. St. Auxanus reposed in 568.
EUPHEMIA, DOROTHY, THECLA, and ERASMA, Martyrs of Aquileia, (First Century?), SS. Euphemia and Dorothy were the daughters of Valentius, a pagan nobleman in Aquileia (north-eastern Italy), and SS. Thecla and Erasma their Christian cousins. When Valentius heard that his daughters had been baptised, he had them and his nieces arrested. They were subjected to torture, then beheaded, and finally their bodies were cast into a river near Aquileia.
FRUGENTIUS the MARTYR, one of the monks martyred with St. Aigulphus (vide supra) in 675.
GREGORY the DIALOGIST (the GREAT), Apostle of the English, the son of St. Sylvia of Rome (4th November), and nephew of SS. Tarsilla of Rome and Emiliana of Rome (5th January), and commonly believed to have been the grandson of St. Felix II, Pope of Rome (1st March). St. Gregory was born in Rome, and having received an excellent secular education, received several high-ranking government appointments, though St. Gregory's true desire was to receive monastic tonsure. Following the repose of his father, he used his inheritance to found six monasteries, including one in Rome dedicated to the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, where he received monastic tonsure. St. Gregory spent some time in Constantinople as an emissary of the Pope of Rome; and upon his return was chosen successor of Pelagius II (†590) as Pope of Rome himself. St. Gregory's Pontificate was notable for many events, in particular sending missionaries to England, which not only brought about the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons, but also for the subsidiary effect of spreading the Faith amongst the Germanic peoples of north-west Europe.
St. Gregory was instrumental in the conversion of the Lombards and Goths, was a supporter of monasticism, and a prolific writer. St. Gregory is credited with the first written record of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts in Latin, and his Dialogues, and Regula Pastoralis are amongst the core works of any reputable theological library. St. Gregory reposed in 604, and his relics are enshrined in the Cathedral of the Holy Apostle Peter in the Vatican.
Troparion of St. Gregory the Dialogist, Pope of Rome — Tone IV
Receiving divine grace from God on high, glorious Gregory,
and strengthened with its power, you willed to walk in the path of the Gospel, most blessed one.
Therefore, you have received from Christ the reward of your labours.
Entreat Him that He may save our souls.
Kontakion of St. Gregory the Dialogist, Pope of Rome — Tone III
Father Gregory, you showed yourself to be an imitator of Christ, the chief Shepherd,
guiding the orders of monks to the fold of heaven.
You taught the flock of Christ His commandments.
Now you rejoice and dance with them in the mansions of heaven.
HERESWITH (HERESWITHA), a princess from Northumbria in England, and sister of St. Hild of Whitby (17th November). After being widowed, St. Hereswith received monastic tonsure at the Abbey of Our Lady of Chelles (l'abbaye Notre-Dame-des-Chelles) in present-day Meaux, France. where she lived out the rest of her life, reposing circa 690.
MACANISIUS of KELLS (OENGUS MAC NISSE), according to tradition, St. Macanisius was baptised as an infant by St. Patrick of Ireland (17th March), who later consecrated him first Abbot-Bishop of Connor (sometimes known as Kells, not to be confused with Kells, Co. Meath or Kells, Co. Kilkenny) in present-day Co. Antrim, Ireland. Nothing further is known of his life; St. Macanisius reposed in 514.
MANSUETUS (MANSU, MANSUY) of TOUL, a Bishop of Toul (north-eastern France), widely believed to have been originally from Scotland. St. Mansuetus' work to spread the Faith amongst the local population was so successful that he is regarded as the Apostle of Lorraine. St. Mansuetus reposed circa 350.
NATALIS of CASALE, (Sixth Century), a native of Benevento in Campania (southern Italy), who became a priest in Casale in Piedmont (north-western Italy), and is remembered as a man of great sanctity.
REGULUS (RIEUL) of REIMS, a monk at the Abbey of St. Peter (l'abbaye Saint-Pierre de Resbacum) in Rebais (north-central France). St. Regulus succeeded St. Nivard of Reims (1st September) as Bishop of Reims (north-eastern France) in 673. He served that See until his repose in 698.
REMACLUS, a nobleman from Aquitaine (south-west France), who received monastic tonsure in 625 and shortly thereafter was ordained to the priesthood. St. Remaclus was then appointed by St. Eligius of Noyon (1st December) to serve as the first Abbot of Abbey of SS. Peter and Paul of Solignac (l'abbaye Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul de Solignac) in Solignac, Aquitaine (south-west France). As an advisor to St. Sigebert III (1st February), King of Austrasia (r. 633–656), St. Remaclus persuaded the king to establish the double-monastery of Stavelot and Malmedy (near present-day Liège, Belgium) in 648; and served as the first abbot. In 652 St. Remaclus was appointed missionary Bishop of Maastricht, in present-day Holland. Though relations between his predecessors and the local population had been difficult, to say the least, St. Remaclus was able to establish several monasteries in his See before resigning in 662, and retiring to Stavelot Abbey, where he reposed in 663.
SANDILA (SANDALUS, SANDOLUS, SANDULF) of CÓRDOBA, (Date Uncertain - Probably Mid-Ninth Century), martyred by the Moors in Córdoba. There is no further information extant.
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 monk and hagiographer Goscelin of Canterbury († c.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”.