Pre-Schism Orthodox Western Saints
6th July (NS) — 23rd June (OS)

by | Orthodox Western Saints

23rd June O.S.

Orthodox Christian Icon of English Saint, St. Æthelthryth of Ely

Icon of St. Æthelthryth of Ely

ÆTHELTHRYTH (ETHELDREDA, AUDREY, ETHELDRED) of ELY, St. Æthelthryth (often known by the diminutive Audrey) was an East Anglian princess, a Northumbrian queen, and the founder and first Abbess of the double monastery at Ely in Cambridgeshire, England. The daughter of the Christian Anna, King of the East Angles (r. 635/6–c. 654), she was married while still young to Tondberht, prince of the South Gyrvians, though she remained a virgin. Upon his death three years later, St. Æthelthryth withdrew to the Isle of Ely in Cambridgeshire to live as a hermit. After five years, she was persuaded by her family to return to the world and marry Ecgfrith, King of Northumbria (r. 670–685), but she refused to consummate this marriage as well, and after twelve years, St. Æthelthryth obtained Ecgfrith's consent to become a nun. She received monastic tonsure from St. Wilfrid of York (12th October) at Coldingham Abbey circa 672 where her aunt St. Ebba the Elder (25th August) was Abbess. About a year later, St. Æthelthryth founded the double monastery of Ely, serving as its Abbess until her repose in 679.

Troparion of St. Æthelthryth of Ely — Tone III

Let us praise the virgin Æthelthryth,

flame of faith above the church of Ely, Mother Abbess,

intercessor and protector for all.

In her the image of God was restored to shine,

and she was crowned with great glory by our Saviour Christ,

ever praying in the Spirit before the Father's throne that

His great mercy may be granted unto us


AGRIPPINA of ROME, according to tradition St. Agrippina was a maiden and member of the Roman nobility. She was tortured and then either beheaded or scourged to death for being a Christian circa 262.

FELIX of SUTRI, a priest in Sutri in Tuscany (central Italy) during the reign of Emperor Valerian (r. 253–260) whose enthusiastic preaching and success in bringing people to Christ brought him to the attention of the authorities. In 257 St. Felix was arrested and scourged to death.

HIDULPHUS (HILDULPH) of HAINAUT, the husband of St. Agia of Hainaut (18th April), St. Hildulphus was a Count of Hainaut in present-day Belgium, and courtier at the royal palace of Austrasia. He was also a co-founder of the Abbey of St. Peter of Lobbes (abbaye Saint-Pierre de Lobbes — Hainaut, Belgium). By mutual consent, SS. Agia and Hidulphus separated and entered monasteries. St. Agia entered an abbey in Mons and St. Hidulphus entered Lobbes. St. Hildulphus reposed circa 707.

JAMES of TOUL, consecrated Bishop of Toul in eastern Gaul (France) in 756. St. James reposed in 769 at the tomb of St. Benignus of Dijon (1st November) at Dijon while returning from a pilgrimage to Rome.

JOHN of ROME, a priest beheaded in 362 at Rome during the persecutions under Julian the Apostate (r. 361–363).

MOELIAI (MOELRAY) of NENDRUM, St. Moeliai was baptised by St. Patrick of Ireland (17th March) and later was the founding-Abbot of Nendrum Monastery on Mahee Island in Strangford Lough, Co. Down, Ulster. He reposed circa 493.

WALHERE of DINANT, (Date Unknown), a priest in Brabant in present-day Wallonia, Belgium. St. Walhere was murdered by a fellow cleric whom he had chastised, and has been venerated as a martyr since. St. Walhere's relics are enshrined in Dinant, Belgium

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DOMINICA of CAMPANIA, (Date Unknown), a maiden martyred, during the Diocletianic Persecution (circa 303) for destroying pagan idols. Her relics are enshrined in the Cathedral of St. Mary of Romania in Tropea, Calabria, Italy

GOAR of AQUITAINE, a priest from Aquitaine (south-western France), who following several years as a parish priest left Aquitaine and to live as a hermit near Oberwesel on the Rhine. The present-day town of Sankt Goar-Oberwesel in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany grew up around the site of his hermitage. St. Goar reposed circa 575.

MONENNA (DARERCA), an early Irish ascetic and abbess believed to have received monastic tonsure from St. Patrick of Ireland (17th March). St. Monenna was foundress of several monasteries in Scotland and England, as well as, one in Faughart, Co. Louth, Ireland. She finally settled at Cill Shleibhe (Killeavy), Co. Armagh, Ulster, with eight virgins and one widow, who brought her son, who went on to become a bishop. This community lived a semi-eremitical life. St. Monenna reposed at Cill Shleibhe in 518 and is believed to have been buried on the northern side of the cemetery at Killeavy Old Church. This site is marked by a large granite stone measuring 2.1 by 1.5 metres (6.9 by 4.9 feet). There is also a shrine nearby at the site of her holy well.

NOYALA of BRITTANY, (Date Unknown), believed to have been a native of Britain, St. Noyala was beheaded by robbers at Bignan in Brittany (northern France). She is one of the saints classed as a cephalophore, or head-carrier, as according to tradition, St. Noyala carried her head from the place of her martyrdom some 25 km (16 mi) north to Pontivy where the Sainte-Noyale Chapel is now located. St. Noyala is also remembered in Cornwall, England, by the name of the village of St. Newlyn East.

ROMULUS of FIESOLE and COMPANIONS, according to tradition St. Romulus was ordained by the Apostle Peter (29th June) and charged with evangelising the area around Florence (Tuscany, central Italy). St. Romulus is counted as the first Bishop of Fiesole, just outside of Florence, and was martyred with several companions during the reign of the Emperor Domitian (r. 81–96).

SEAXBURH (SEXBURGA, SAXBURGH) of ELY, the daughter of Anna, King of the East Angles (r. 635/6–c. 654), sister of SS. Æthelthryth (23rd June), Æthelburh (7th July) and Wihtburh (8th July) and half-sister of St. Sæthryth (10th January). She married King Eorcenberht of Kent (r. c. 640–664) and amongst their children were SS. Eormenhild (13th February) and Eorcengota (21st February). Following the repose of her husband in 664, St. Seaxburh received monastic tonsure and founded the abbey at Minster-in-Sheppey, serving as its first abbess. In 679, she retired and moved to her sister St. Æthelthryth’s monastery at Ely, where she was chosen Abbess upon the repose of her sister. St. Seaxburh served as Abbess of Ely until her repose circa 699.

TRANQUILLINUS of ROME, said to have been brought to Christ by St. Sebastian (20th January). St. Tranquillinus was the father of SS. Mark and Marcellian (18th June). He was found praying at the tomb of the Apostle Paul (29th June), and stoned to death circa 288.

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”.