Pre-Schism Orthodox Western Saints
8th March (NS) — 23rd February (OS)
23rd February O.S.
BOSWELL (BOISIL), St. Boswell served as a Prior of Melrose Abbey, and later successor of Abbot St. Eata (26th October). According to St. Bede the Venerable (25th May) he was a man of great virtue who also had the gift of prophecy, foretelling the Great Pestilence of 664 three years in advance. His disciples included SS. Cuthbert (20th March) and Egbert (24th April), both of whom admired him greatly, as did St. Bede the Venerable (25th May). St. Boswell reposed during the plague he had foretold, 664.
FELIX of BRESCIA, for over tumultuous forty years St. Felix served as the twentieth Bishop of Brescia in Lombardy. A great deal of his time was spent battling, successfully, against the Arian bishop intruded into his See by Rothari, King of the Lombards (r. 636–652). St. Felix was a fervent pastor who built and endowed several parishes during his episcopacy. He reposed circa 650.
FLORENTIUS of SEVILLE, a saint with a strong cultus in Seville and its environs. Some sources list him as a martyr, though there is no evidence to support this assertion.
MARTHA, a maiden beheaded in 250 in Astorga in present-day Spain during the Decian Persecution. Her relics are enshrined at the Monastery of Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil in Galicia, Spain.
MEDRALD (MÉRALD, MÉRAUT), a monk at the Abbey of Saint-Evroul-sur-Ouche in Normandy.
MILBURGH, a daughter of Merewalh, sub-king of the Magonsæte and St. Ermenburga (19th November), St. Milburgh was also the sister of SS. Mildred of Minster-in-Thanet (13th July) and Mildgytha (17th January). She was the second Abbess of Wenlock. A wonderworker, St. Milburgh was said to have healed the blind and lepers. St. Milburgh reposed 715.
POLYCARP, a late third century priest in Rome who, according to Acta Martyrum (Acts of the Martyrs) was known for his pastoral care to those imprisoned or facing death for being Christians. He reposed circa 300.
ROMANA, a daughter of a Roman official during the Diocletianic Persecution, who, drawn to Christianity, fled her family, and miraculously found Pope St. Sylvester (31st December) who was in hiding. St. Romana declared her desire to become a Christian and live a solitary life. St. Sylvester baptised St. Romana, and gave her his cave to live in. Over time legends have formed which claim a community of disciples grew-up around St. Romana. Whilst this often happened, in St. Romana’s case, these legends are in all likelihood pious fiction which in time has been taken as fact. St. Romana reposed circa 324 and was buried in her cave.
SYNCROTAS, ANTIGONUS, RUTILUS, LIBIUS, SENEROTAS, and ROGATIANUS, a group of seventy-three Christians martyred at Syrmium, Pannonia (present-day Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) circa 303, during the Diocletianic Persecution. Of the group, only the names of these six are known to us today.
WILLIGIS, a priest of humble background who served as chaplain to Emperor Otto II (r. 973–983), who in 975, appointed St. Willigis Archbishop of Mainz, and Archchancellor of Holy Roman Empire. A gifted statesman and politician, St. Willigis was first and foremost concerned with the care and spiritual health of his flock, and his priests. St. Willigis reposed in 1011.
8th March N.S.
BEOADH (BEATUS), a Bishop of Ardcarne in Co. Roscommon, Ireland, few facts are known of St. Beoadh’s life. Traditionally he has been renowned for his piety and the miracles that are associated with him. It is believed that he reposed sometime between 518 and 523.
CYRIL, ROGATUS, FELIX, ANOTHER ROGATUS, BEATA, HERENIA, FELICITAS, URBAN, SILVANUS, and MAMILLUS, (Date Unknown), St. Cyril, a bishop, and members of his flock, martyred in North Africa. Nothing is known of them aside from these names.
Troparion of St. Felix of Dunwich
Felix of Burgundy, hierarch and teacher, preaching the Word of life,
You did gather a rich harvest of believers;
Together with Furzey of Ireland, pilgrim for the love of the Lord,
Outstanding in virtue, renowned in word and deed;
Enlighteners of East Anglia, we rightly praise you, holy and God-bearing fathers.
Kontakion of St. Felix of Dunwich
Having come to the land of Sigebert, the righteous king,
You preached the kingdom of Christ our God,
And as a first-fruit the king himself received the tonsure,
Seeking an everlasting kingdom;
And mindful of his monastic vow,
He lay down his life, unarmed in the midst of battle;
Wherefore, O Felix and Furzey, we venerate your memory crying out:
Glory to Christ our King the Redeemer of the World!
FELIX of DUNWICH, a native of Burgundy, who, after converting the then-exiled East Anglian prince who would become St. Sigeberht (25th January), King of the East Angles (r. 630/1–654), made his way to England. Establishing his See at Dunwich in Suffolk, St. Felix laboured there for seventeen years, successfully preaching the Gospel to the heathen in East Anglia. He founded a school for boys with the help of King St. Sigebert, which he staffed with teachers from Canterbury. St. Felix reposed in 648 and was buried at Dunwich; his relics were translated to Ramsey in 971. St. Felix has given his name to Felixstowe in Suffolk, and to Felixkirk in Yorkshire.
HUNFRID (HUMFRIDUS, HUMPHREY), a monk at Prüm Abbey (Fürstabtei Prüm) in Lorraine (present-day Roman Catholic Diocese of Trier, Germany). In 856 Pope Nicholas I promoted a reluctant St. Hunfrid to Bishop of Thérouanne in Gaul. Forced to flee his See during a Norman invasion, St. Hunfrid returned to assist with the city’s restoration and serve as Abbot of St. Bertin Abbey (abbaye Saint-Bertin). St. Hunfrid reposed in 871.
JULIAN of TOLEDO, consecrated the thirty-fourth Archbishop of Toledo in 680, St. Julian presided over several important councils at Toledo, and played a significant role in revising the Mozarabic Liturgy. A prolific writer, St. Julian is best remembered for his Prognosticum Futuri Saeculi (a treatise on Christian Eschatology), and Historia Wambae regis (a history of King Wamba of Spain’s accession to the throne and early reign). St. Julian reposed in 690.
PONTIUS, St. Cyprian’s (16th September) deacon, St. Pontius accompanied St. Cyprian into exile from Carthage in North Africa and witnessed his trial and execution. He later wrote a Life of St. Cyprian. St. Pontius reposed circa 260.
RHIAN (RANUS, RIAN), (Date Unknown), the saint for whom Llanrian in Pembrokeshire is named. He has been described as an abbot by both, chronicler William of Worcester (†1482) and antiquarian John Leland (†1552). Neither specific dates nor particulars of his life are ascertainable.
SENAN (SENAMES), one of the 'Twelve Apostles of Ireland', St. Senan was a disciple of St. Natalis (27th January) and a monk, possibly an abbot, Cassidus. After finishing his studies, he established a monastery on the Island of Inniscorthy (Leinster), he then visited Rome and Gaul, and on his return spent time with St. David (1st March) in Wales. Returning to Ireland, he founded more churches and monasteries, notably one in Iniscarra near Cork, finally settling on Scattery Island in the Shannon estuary, where he reposed circa 540.
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”.