Pre-Schism Orthodox Western Saints
4th November (NS) — 22nd October (OS) 2019
BENEDICT (BENOÎT) of MASSERAC, originally an abbot at the monastery in Petras (south-western Jordan), St. Benedict travelled west settling in Masserac near Nantes (Upper Brittany, western France). There he lived as a hermit. In time, the number of disciples who gathered round him were such to necessitate a monastery, which he built and served as abbot. St. Benedict reposed in 845.
BERTHARIUS of MONTE CASSINO, a scion of the Capetian dynasty, St. Bertharius left the world and entered St. Benedict of Nursia's (21st March) monastery at Monte Cassino. In 856 he was selected to serve as Abbot of Monte Cassino, and in 844, along with several of his monks, was martyred by Saracens, whilst at prayer.
DONATUS of FIESOLE, an Irishman well known for his piety and erudition. Whilst returning from a pilgrimage to Rome circa 824, St. Donatus and his disciple St. Andrew of Fiesole (22nd August) passed though Tuscany (central Italy), where, due to his renown, he was selected, by popular acclaim, to be Bishop of Fiesole near Florence. St. Donatus served the See of Fiesole for some fifty years, reposing circa 874.
LEOTHADIUS (LÉOTHADE) of AUCH, a Frankish noble who received monastic tonsure at the Abbey of St. Peter (abbaye Saint-Pierre de Moissac) in the Duchy of Aquitaine (south-western France), later serving as its Abbot. In 691, St. Leothadius was consecrated Bishop of southwestern France, serving until his repose in 718. St. Leothadius's relics are enshrined in the crypt of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mary of Auch (Basilique Cathédrale Sainte-Marie d'Auch).
MAROVEUS of PRECIPIANO, a monk at the Abbey of St. Columbanus at Bobbio, in present-day Emilia-Romagna, Italy. St. Maroveus went on to found an abbey at Precipiano near Tortona in Piedmont (north-western Italy). He reposed circa 650.
MELLON, St. Mellon, or Milanius as he is styled in the Roman Martyrology, is the subject of many traditions with little factual basis. It is commonly believed he was a native of Wales or Cornwall, and whilst in Rome, was sent to evangelise northern Gaul. There he founded and served as the first Bishop of the See of Rouen (Normandy north-western France). St. Mellon is said to have been a wonderworker, and following a long and fruitful episcopacy, retired to live as a hermit until his repose on 11th November, 314.
MODERAN (MODERAMNUS, MORAN) of RENNES, Consecrated seventh Bishop of Rennes in Brittany (north-western France), in 703, St. Modern ruled that See until circa 720. In that year, he resigned his See, made a pilgrimage to Rome, and spent the rest of his years as a hermit at Berceto in present-day Emilia-Romagna, Italy, reposing circa 730.
NEPOTIAN (NEPOTIANUS) of CLERMONT, the fifth Bishop of Clermont, in the Auvergne region of present-day France, from circa 386 until circa 388.
NUNCTUS (NOINT) of MÉRIDA, a seventh century abbot of a monastery near Mérida (western central Spain). Bandits murdered St. Nunctus in 668, and he has been venerated as a martyr ever since.
NUNILO of HUESCA and ALODIA of HUESCA, daughters of a Muslim father and Christian mother, who were raised as Christians in Huesca, Emirate of Córdoba (southern Spain). After being widowed, their mother married again, also to a Muslim. Their stepfather treated them with great brutality, and ultimately turned them over to the authorities, who imprisoned them. SS. Nunilo and Aldodia were beheaded in 851 in the persecution of Christians during the reign of Emir Abd ar-Rahman II (r. 822–852).
PHILIP of FERMO, little is known about St. Philip, aside from serving as Bishop of Fermo (central Italy). It is commonly accepted that St. Philip was martyred, circa 270, in the persecution of Christians during the reign of the Emperor Aurelian (r. 270–275). His relics are enshrined in the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Cattedrale metropolitana di Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo) in Fermo, Italy.
VALERIUS (VALIER) of LANGRES, an early fifth century deacon and disciple of Desiderius of Langres (23rd May). St. Valerius worked to spread the Gospel amongst the pagans in Langres (north-eastern France) and its environs. St. Valerius was martyred on 22nd October, 411 by Vandals who beheaded him near Besançon, (eastern France).
VERECUNDUS, a Bishop of Verona (northern Italy) who reposed in 522. No further details of his life are extant.
BYRNSTAN (BIRSTAN, BEORNSTAN, BIRNSTAN), a disciple of St. Grimbald (8th July) and successor of St. Frithestan (10th September) in the See of Winchester in England. St. Byrnstan served as its twenty-first Bishop from 931 until his repose in 934. St. Byrnstan is best remembered for his devotion to praying for the reposed; each night he would spend hours in the cathedral’s graveyard chanting psalms for the souls of the reposed. A tradition tells of one night his "requiescunt in pace" (may they rest in peace) at the end of his chanting was met with a mighty “Amen” from the tombs. St. Byrnstan was also known for washing the feet of the poor daily and would spend hours in prayer once he had finished. St. Byrnstan reposed in prayer following his daily foot washing. His cultus developed about thirty years after his death, when St. Byrnstan appeared to the then Bishop of Winchester, St. Æthelwold of Winchester (1st August), in a vision accompanied by two other figures whom he said were SS. Birinus of Dorchester (3rd December) and Swithun (2nd July). St. Byrnstan then informed St. Æthelwold that he was held in equal reverence with these saints in heaven and claimed a right for equal treatment on earth. Following this he was commemorated with the other saints of Winchester, though in time popular devotion to St. Swithun eclipsed both St. Byrnstan and St. Birinus.
CLARUS the HERMIT, a nobleman from Rochester England. Following ordination to the priesthood, St. Clarus travelled to Normandy (north-western France), where he lived as a hermit at what is today Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, south-east of Rouen. St. Clarus was murdered at his hermitage, unfortunately the date is impossible to fix. The Menology of England and Wales (the English Menology), places his martyrdom as taking place sometime in the seventh to ninth century.
EMERIC of HUNGARY, the son of St. Stephen of Hungary (16th August), the first Christian King of Hungary, and a disciple of St. Gerard Sagredo of Czanad (24th September). St. Emeric was to succeed his father as King of Hungary, but he was killed by a boar whilst hunting at the age of 24. Following his repose many miracles and conversions were said to have occurred at his tomb, leading to his canonisation in 1083
GREGORY of BURTSCHEID, a Greek monk from Calabria (south-western Italy), he is generally described as a Benedictine 'Basilian'. Whilst fleeing the Saracen invasion of the south, St. Gregory stopped in Rome, where he met and was befriended by Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor (r. 996–1002). Otto offered St. Gregory sanctuary in Germany and built a monastery for him at Burtscheid near Aachen in the present-day German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. St. Gregory reposed in 999.
MODESTA of TRIER, St. Modesta was the niece of St. Modoald of Trier (12th May), and a first cousin of St. Gertrude of Nivelle (17th March). St. Modesta was the first Abbess of Oehren in Trier in the present-day German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which was founded by her uncle, St. Modoald, who was Bishop of Trier at the time. St. Modesta reposed circa 680.
PHILOLOGUS and PATROBAS, (First Century), Christians in Rome greeted by the Apostle Paul (29th June) in his letter to the Romans (16:14-18). A pious tradition is that the two saints were later consecrated bishops, with their Sees most likely in southern Italy.
PROCULUS of AUTUN, a martyred Bishop of Autun in Burgundy (east-central France), of whom nothing is known beyond his listing in various martyrologies. In the Roman Martyrology St. Proculus is recorded thus: "At Autun, St. Proculus, martyr"; whilst other martyrologies simply list "Proculus, a Bishop". Most sources place his martyrdom as circa 717.
VITALIS and AGRICOLA, Martyrs of Bologna (northern Italy), St. Vitalis was St. Agricola's slave and through whom St. Vitalis came to Christ. During the Diocletianic Persecution (303–313) St. Vitalis was arrested, subjected to various tortures, and finally executed. St. Agricola was so taken by the courage and faith with which St. Vitalis faced martyrdom, that St. Agricola proclaimed his faith and was also martyred.
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”.