Western Saints of the Orthodox Church
DIOMMA, (Fifth Century), St. Diomma is the patron saint of Kildimo in Co. Limerick, Ireland and was the teacher of St. Déclán of Ardmore (24th July) amongst others. Nothing further is known about him.
DIONYSIUS, uncle, and guardian of St. Pancras (vide infra), both of whom travelled from their native Asia-Minor to Rome. Pagans when they arrived in Rome, they were baptised and soon martyred for their faith during the Diocletianic Persecution in 304.
ÆTHELHARD (ETHELHARD), St. Æthelhard was the fourteenth Archbishop of Canterbury. Little reliable information of his early life exists. It seems that he was a native of Louth in Lincolnshire England and entered the monastery there, becoming Abbot before being consecrated Bishop of Winchester. He served that See until 793 when he was elevated to Canterbury. His time as Archbishop was one of political upheaval as King Offa of Mercia was attempting to bring the church under his secular control, much in imitation of Charlemagne on the Continent. St. Æthelhard reposed in 805.
FLAVIA DOMITILLA, EUPHROSYNA, and THEODORA, (Second Century), St. Flavia Domitilla, a member of the Roman aristocracy, granddaughter, or niece of several emperors, and married to the nephew of one as well. Banished by her great uncle Emperor Domitian (r. 81 - 96) to the Island of Pontia (present-day Ponza, Italy) for being a Christian, there she converted her foster sisters SS. Euphrosyna and Theodora. Though the details are fuzzy, all three were most likely martyred by being burnt alive at Terracina south-east of Rome.
MODOALD, a courtier at the Court of the Merovingian King Dagobert I (r. 603 - 639) who was consecrated thirty-first Bishop of Trier in 622. One of St. Modoald’s great achievements while Bishop was getting King Dagobert to abandon his life of intemperance, repent, and spend the rest of his life as a devout Christian. St. Modoald reposed in 640. He was originally buried in the church of Autun Abbey, and in the early twelfth century his relics were translated to Paderborn, Germany.
NEREUS and ACHILLEUS, two members of the Praetorian Guard who having been baptised, it is thought by St. Peter the Apostle (29th June), were banished to the Island of Pontia (present-day Ponza, Italy) and later beheaded at Terracina south-east of Rome circa 100.
PANCRAS, a youth martyred with his uncle (vide Dionysius supra) during the Diocletianic Persecution 304. In the mid-seventh century Pope St. Vitalian (27th January) translated some relics of St. Pancras from Rome to the British Isles so that new churches there would have relics for their altars. St. Augustine of Canterbury (27th May) subsequently dedicated the first church in England to St. Pancras. Over time other churches in England were dedicated to St. Pancras, and he has always enjoyed popularity there.
PHILIP of AGIRONE, (Date Unknown) venerated in Sicily as its first missionary. There is a shrine to him in the village of Agirone. Although there are many legends about St. Philip, nothing further of any veracity is known about him.
RICTRUDIS, a member of the Gascony nobility, St. Richtrudis married fellow noble St. Adalbald (2nd February) with whom she had four children: SS. Maurontius (9th January), Eusebia (20th September), Clotsindis (30th June) and Adalsindis (25th December). Following the murder of St. Adalbald (652), she was pressed to marry again, but with the help of her spiritual father St. Amandus (6th February) her relations relented, and St. Rictrudis received monastic tonsure from St. Amandus. St. Rictrudis then entered, and for some time served as Abbess of, the double monastery at Marchiennes in the north of present-day France which she her husband had help found. There St. Rictrudis was joined by three of her children – SS. Adalsindis, Clotsindis, and Maurontius. St. Rictrudis reposed 688.
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”.