Pre-Schism Orthodox Western Saints
9th June (NS) — 27th May (OS)
27th May O.S.
Augustine of Canterbury — Apostle of The English
Troparion of St. Augustine of Canterbury
Sent forth by thy master the great Gregory,
thou hast marched with the holy cross and the image of the Saviour,
baptizing the multitude with the clear waters of faith into the spiritual flock of Christ.
As thou hast enlightened and hallowed the English land,
sowing the seed of heaven in the earth of Kent,
so do thou now enlighten and hallow us anew,
O thou boast of Canterbury, holy Archpastor Augustine.
Kontakion of St. Augustine of Canterbury
O august Apostle of the English land,
adornment of the holy city of Canterbury,
Enlightener and Archpastor Augustine,
confirm anew the Orthodox Faith within this land and among all thy people,
and intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.
Our father among the saints Augustine of Canterbury was a missionary to Kent in England, and the first Archbishop of Canterbury. He was a monk at St. Andrew’s on the Coelian Hill in Rome, when Pope St. Gregory the Dialogist (3rd September), with whom St. Augustine shares the title of “Apostle of the English”, selected him to lead a mission of forty monks to enlighten England and re-establish the Church there, which had all but died out following the fall of the Roman Empire. The missionaries landed near Ebbsfleet in the Isle of Thanet in eastern Kent and were welcomed by King St. Æthelberht (24th February) who, though married to the Christian Bertha of France, was still a pagan. St. Augustine and his monks based their mission at the ancient church of St. Martin in Canterbury, which had been built during the Roman occupation of Britain, and where Bertha frequently went to pray. Although the King St. Æthelberht was initially reluctant to embrace Christ, he promised not to interfere in the work of St. Augustine and his monks, and gave them free rein the preach to his subjects. In time King St. Æthelberht was baptised, led a holy life and, since his repose, he has been venerated by the Church as the holy right-believing King St. Ethelbert (24th February).
According to St. Bede the Venerable (25th May) St. Augustine was consecrated Archbishop by Archbishop Etherius of Arles, though other sources state that it was Archbishop Etherius' successor, St. Virgilius of Arles (5th March). When he returned to England, St. Augustine took to his mission with renewed zeal, building the initial cathedral at Canterbury, called Christ Church, and founding the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul (later known as St. Augustine’s). This became the burial site for St. Augustine, future Archbishops of Canterbury, as well as the Kings of Kent. St. Augustine was instrumental in founding the dioceses of Rochester and London, consecrating SS. Justus (10th November) and Mellitus (24th April) as bishops of those Sees. He also helped the king draft the earliest Anglo-Saxon laws, and founded a school in Canterbury. Despite all of these successes, St. Augustine was unable to achieve unity with the Christians in the British Isles who followed Celtic practices, a division which persisted until the Synod of Whitby, held sixty years after St. Augustine’s repose.
St. Augustine was known during his lifetime as a wonderworker, and reposed on 26th May, 604. He was initially buried at the entrance to the unfinished church at SS. Peter and Paul monastery. Upon its completion, his relics were entombed inside with an epitaph which reads in part: “Here lies the Lord Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, sent here by blessed Gregory, bishop of the city of Rome, who with the help of God, and aided by miracles, guided King Ethelbert and his people from the worship of idols to the Faith of Christ”.
BRUNO, consecrated the nineteenth Bishop of Würzburg, Bavaria (Germany) in 1033. St. Bruno personally funded the construction of the Cathedral of St. Kilian (8th July) in Würzburg. He reposed in 1045.
EUTROPIUS, a native of Marseille, who was consecrated Bishop of Orange in Provence (France) circa 455. This was a period of rebuilding and recovery for the Diocese which had recently suffered destruction at the hands of the Visigoths. In his writings, St. Sidonius Apollinaris (21st August) speaks of St. Eutropius in the most glowing of terms. St. Eutropius reposed in 475.
MELANGELL (MONACELLA), St. Melangell was an anchoress in Montgomeryshire (present-day Powys) in Wales. According to some she was given a grant of land by the local prince on which she founded a monastery where she served as Abbess for thirty-seven years. Her shrine is at St. Melangell's Church, Pennant Melangell, near the village of Llangynog in Wales. The church contains a fine fifteenth-century oak rood screen with carvings that tell the story of St. Melangell’s life. She reposed circa 590.
RANULPHUS, (RANULF, RAGNULF), the father of St. Hadulf (19th May), St. Ranulphus was martyred in 700 in Thélus, present-day France.
RESTITUTA and COMPANIONS, during the reign of Emperor Aurelian (r. 270–275), St. Restituta, a patrician maiden, and several others, fled to Sora in Campania (Italy) in an attempt to avoid persecution. However, they were captured in Sora, where they were martyred.
9th June N.S.
BAITHIN (COMIN, COMINUS) of IONA, St. Baithin is traditionally believed to have been a cousin of St. Columba of Iona (vide infra) and his successor as Abbot of Iona. He reposed on the anniversary of St. Columba’s repose circa 598.
COLUMBA (COLUM, COIM, COLUMBKILL, COLUMCILLE, COLUMBUS, COMBS) of IONA, our venerable and God-bearing Father Columba of Iona, Enlightener of Scotland, was born near Garton in Co. Donegal, Ireland. He received monastic tonsure at Glasnevin (neighbourhood of present-day Dublin, Ireland on the River Tolka) and was ordained to the priesthood. He was instrumental in the founding of monasteries at Derry, Durrow and several others in Ireland. Following the Battle of Cúl-drebene in 561, for which he was held partly responsible, he, along with twelve disciples, sailed from Ireland to Scotland, landing on the Island of Í Chaluim Cille (Í of St. Columba) variously spelt Hi, Hy or I, now called Iona. There he founded what would become the great monastery of Iona, which was, for the next two centuries, the nursery of many Bishops and saints. St. Columba spent the next thirty-four years evangelising the Scottish Highlands and founding monasteries and churches in Ireland and Scotland. St. Columba reposed on Iona in 597, and was initially buried there. His relics were later translated to Ireland where they are reputed to be buried on Cathedral Hill in Downpatrick, Co. Down, with St. Patrick of Ireland (17th March) and St. Brigid of Kildare (1st February), or at Saul Church, aproximately 3 km / 2 mi north-east of Cathedral Hill. St. Columba is counted as one of the three Patron Saints of Ireland, along with SS. Patrick and Brigid. In addition, St. Columba is also the source of the first known reference to the Loch Ness Monster. According to legend, he came across a group of Picts who were burying a man killed by the monster (circa 565), and brought the man back to life. In a different version, he is said to have saved the man while the man was being attacked, driving away the monster with the sign of the cross.
Troparion of St. Columba of Iona — Tone V
By your God-inspired life
You embodied both the mission and the dispersion of the Church,
Most glorious Father Columba.
Using your repentance and voluntary exile,
Christ our God raised you up as a beacon of the True Faith,
An apostle to the heathen and an indicator of the Way of salvation.
Wherefore O holy one, cease not to intercede for us
That our souls may be saved.
CUMMIAN (CUMIAN, CUMMIN) of BOBBIO, an Irish bishop who resigned his unknown See to live as a simple monk at St. Columbanus’ abbey at Bobbio in Emilia-Romagna (Italy). St. Cummian was an avid supporter of the Roman over the Celtic method of calculating the date of Easter. While at Bobbio his reputation as a man of great sanctity spread far and wide. St. Cummian reposed in either 661 or 682.
MAXIMIAN of SYRACUSE, a native of Sicily and member of St. Gregory the Dialogist’s (3rd September) monastic community on the Coelian Hill in Rome. St. Maximian served Popes Pelagius II (r. 579–590) and St. Gregory the Dialogist (r. 590–604) as Papal Apocrisiarius to Constantinople. In 591 St. Maximian was recalled to Rome and appointed by St. Gregory Bishop of Syracuse and Papal Legate in Sicily. St. Maximian reposed in the third year of his Episcopate. In his letters St. Gregory eulogises him as “a man of holy memory, a most faithful servant of God, a worthy Father of his Church, and after death a member of the Heavenly Choir.”
PRIMUS and FELICIAN, two elderly brothers martyred during the Diocletianic Persecution (303–313). Their unreliable acta and other legends claim they were scourged, or thrown to lions, or tortured and then beheaded, however, all of them do agree they met their end on the Via Nomentana in Rome.
VINCENT of AGEN, a deacon who was spread out and staked to the floor, after which he was scourged and then beheaded, some sources say as a sacrifice to a pagan god. His martyrdom took place at Agen in Gascony (France) circa 292.
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”.