Pre-Schism Orthodox Western Saints
23rd May (NS) — 10th May (OS)
10th May O.S.
ALPHIUS, PHILADELPHUS, and CYRINUS, Martyrs of Lentini, three Sicilian brothers martyred in 251, during the Decian Persecution. Their cultus has always been particularly strong in the town of Lentini in south-eastern Sicily, of which they are the patron saints.
AURELIAN of LIMOGES, (Third Century). The second Bishop of Limoges (west central France), and a disciple of his predecessor, St. Martial of Limoges (30th June).
CALEPODIUS, PALMATIUS, SIMPLICIUS, FELIX, BLANDA, and COMPANIONS, a group of over one hundred Christians martyred during the reign of the Emperor Alexander Severus (r. 222–235). St. Calepodius, the first to be martyred, was a priest, St. Simplicius, a senator, SS. Felix and Blanda were husband and wife. Along with them, family members, dependants, and members of their households were martyred as well. It seems they were victims of an angry mob and were not subject to trial before a judge.
CATALD (CATALDUS) of TARANTO, an early seventh century monk at Lismore Abbey in Ireland. There he was a disciple and later successor of St. Carthage (14th May). St. Catald is believed to have been consecrated bishop in Ireland. Though, whilst returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the people of Taranto in the Apulia region of present-day Italy, implored him to serve as bishop of that See.
COMGALL of BANGOR, St. Comgall was born at Dalaradia (Dál nAraidi), Ulster, Ireland, in the early part of the sixth century. Following a period spent as a soldier, he became a monk under St. Finian (10th September) at Moville Abbey in Co. Down. After ordination to the priesthood, St. Comgall and a group of monks spent some time living a very strict ascetical life on an island in Lough Erne, Ulster.
It was St. Comgall’s wish to go to Scotland as a missionary, but his Bishop gave him the obedience of establishing a monastery at Bangor (Bennchor) in Co. Down. It is commonly accepted that St. Comgall trained over four thousand monks at Bangor, including SS. Columbanus of Luxeuil (23rd November) and Moloc of Mortlach (25th June).
Troparion of St. Comgall - Tone III
Having learned of the goodness of the Grace that comes from the Highest
And girded yourself from your youth in a clear conscience,
O Dionysius, imitator of Christ, you were a pillar of patience
And a preacher of the Word of God,
You confirmed the teachings of the faith and subdued the imaginations of the superstitious,
By so doing you gladly suffered for the truth being an example of suffering.
Since you possess boldness before Christ our God
Do not cease to pray for us, who in love revere your holy memory.
The success of Bangor was extraordinary; to this day St. Comgall is referred to as “the Father of Monks”. It was said that he often prayed whilst standing in the water for several hours and that at times his cell seemed to be illuminated with a heavenly radiance. Eventually St. Comgall was able to follow his earlier wish to visit Scotland where he became close friends with St. Columba of Iona (9th June), by whose prayers St. Comgall was once saved from drowning. St. Comgall lived to an advanced age, and after a prolonged illness, he received Last Rites from St. Fiacre (30th August), and reposed at Bangor on 10th May, 602.
QUARTUS and QUINTUS, Martyrs of Capua, (Date Unknown), two martyrs in Rome, whose relics were translated to their native town of Capua in Campania (Italy), where they were enshrined.
SOLANGIA (SOLANGE), a young maiden shepherdess in the Bourges area of present-day France. St. Solangia was martyred circa 880 defending her virginity against the advances of a young nobleman from the area.
23rd May N.S.
DESIDERIUS, (Date Uncertain), the third Bishop of Langres, in north-eastern Gaul (France). The plethora of conflicting legends about St. Desiderius have led hagiographers to conclude there must have been several saints of the same name. The year of his martyrdom has been subject to some debate with sixteenth century hagiographer and historian Laurentius Surius places it in the third century; the Gallia Christiana places it in the fourth; the general consensus is that St. Desiderius was martyred in 411, along with many of his flock, by Teutonic marauders, whilst begging their chief for mercy. The town of Saint-Dizier in north-eastern France takes its name from St. Desiderius
EPITACIUS and BASILEUS, (First Century), though there is no reliable account of their lives and purported martyrdom, SS. Epitacius and Basileus are widely believed to have been Apostolic Era Bishops and have been venerated from time immemorial.
EUPHEBIUS, (Date Unknown), a Bishop of Naples (Italy) of whose life there are no details extant. Various sources place him anywhere from the second to the eighth century.
EUTYCHIUS and FLORENTIUS, two sixth century hermits and wonderworkers who successively served as Abbots of a monastery near Norcia in Umbria (Italy).
GOBAN GOBHNENA, believed to be the St. Goban mentioned in the Life of St. Laserian (18th April) as Abbot of the monastery of Old-Leighlin, Co. Carlow, Ireland, he resigned his position to live as a hermit at Tascaffin in Co. Limerick, Ireland. Nothing further is known of this saint, including the exact dates of his life.
GUIBERTUS, a Frankish noble and soldier who withdrew from the world and lived as a hermit on his estate in Gembloux in Brabant (present-day Belgium). St. Guibertus later formed a monastery on his estate, and in turn gave the lands to the monastery. He retired to the Abbey of St. Gorgonius of Gorze (abbaye Saint-Gorgon de Gorze — Gorze Abbey) near Metz (France), where he lived until his repose 962.
MERCURIALIS, though the early records of the Diocese of Forli in Emilia-Romagna (Italy) have long been destroyed leading to questions of the veracity of the extant accounts of its bishops; it is generally accepted that St. Mercurialis was the first Bishop of Forli. He is remembered as a passionate foe of Arianism, and was one of the three to four hundred bishops in attendance at the Council of Rimini in 359. St. Mercurialis reposed circa 406.
QUINTIAN, LUCIUS, JULIAN, and COMPANIONS, (Date Uncertain), a group of nineteen martyrs in North Africa. According to the Roman Martyrology, they were martyred in the fifth century during the rule of the Arian Gaiseric, King of the Vandals (r. 428–477), however, modern scholars assert this date to be a guess at best.
SYAGRIUS (SIACRE), St. Syagrius received monastic tonsure at the Abbey of Our Lady of Lérins (abbaye Notre Dame de Lérins) just off the coast of present-day Cannes, France in the Mediterranean Sea. He spent several years there before founding and serving as first Abbot of the Abbey of Saint Pons of Nice (l'abbaye Saint-Pons de Nice). In 777 he was consecrated Bishop of Nice (France), serving that See until his repose, circa 787.
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”.