Western Saints of the Orthodox Church
EDISTIUS, there is no documentary information on St. Edistius extant. All of the traditions agree he was martyred in Italy, most say Ravenna, either circa 60 or 303.
EDWIN (EADWINE, ÆDUINI), king of Northumbria was born circa 584, the son of Ælla, King of Deira (the southern part of Northumbria). In 625 St. Edwin married St. Ethelburgh (8th September), the daughter of England’s first Christian king, St. Ethelbert of Kent. St. Ethelburgh was accompanied to Northumbria by her chaplain, St. Paulinus of York (10th October), and though St. Edwin didn’t initially convert, he did not obstruct SS. Ethelburgh and Paulinus as they practiced the faith and allowed his daughter Eanfled to be baptised. According to St. Bede the Venerable (25th May) King St. Edward and his chieftains were baptised on 12th April, 627. Following his baptism, St. Edwin appointed St. Paulinus Bishop of York, and commenced the building of a stone church there. However, his plans were thwarted by the invasion of Northumbria by Penda of Mercia, and his ally, Cædwalla of Gwynedd. The two armies met at Hatfield Chase (near present-day Doncaster, South Yorkshire), on 12th October, 633 resulting in the rout of the Northumbrians, and St. Edwin’s death. The body of King St. Edwin was buried at Whitby Abbey, sans head, which was enshrined at York. Following his repose, St. Edwin was quickly venerated as a saint, and most early English calendars list him as a martyr.
EVAGRIUS, PRISCIAN, and COMPANIONS, (Date Unknown), a group of unknown number of martyrs. Sources differ as to location, some state Rome others Syria.
FELIX and CYPRIAN, according to a contemporary account by Victor of Utica, SS. Félix and Cyprian were bishops in north Africa, who along with close to five thousand fellow Christians, including many young children, were tortured then driven out to the Sahara Desert and left to starve. This was done during the persecutions by Huneric, the Arian King of the Vandals (r. 477–484) circa 482.
HERLINDIS and RELINDIS (RENILDIS, RENULA, RENULE), following the completion of their education, SS. Herlindis and Relindis received monastic tonsure and entered Aldeneik Abbey, at Maaseik on the Meuse in present-day Belgium, which had been built for them by their father, a Frankish nobleman. St. Herlindis served as first Abbess of the community until her repose circa 745, and was succeeded by her sister St. Relindis as the second abbess who reposed circa 750.
MAXIMILIAN, following the death of his parents, St. Maximilian freed his family’s slaves and gave his wealth to the poor, and then went on a pilgrimage to Rome. Whilst in Rome he was commissioned by Pope St. Sixtus II (6th August) to evangelise Noricum and Pannonia (roughly present-day Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia). Having achieved great results in his missionary labour, St. Maximilian was ordained to the priesthood, and later consecrated Bishop of Laureacum (Lorsch). During a visit to his hometown of Celeia (modern Celje, Slovenia) St. Maximilian was arrested and beheaded for refusing to offer sacrifices to pagan gods (circa 281). His relics have been enshrined in Passau since the eleventh century St. Maximilian is the patron saint of the Dioceses of Passau (Germany) and Linz (Austria), as well as the Habsburg family.
MOBHÍ of GLASNEVIN (MOBHÍ CLÁRAINECH, BERCHÁN), St. Mobhí of Glasnevin is one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, and the founding-Abbot of the monastery of Glasnevin, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Irish hagiographer and historian John Colgan O.F.M., who calls him Berchán, says he was a relative of St. Brigid of Kildare (1st February). At its height, there were about fifty students at Glasnevin, including SS. Columba (9th June), Comgall (10th May), Ciarán (14th June), and Kenneth (11th October). It was St. Mobhí who, with his last breath, gave St. Columba permission to found the School of Derry. Clárainech, which means “flat faced” in Irish Gaelic, is a reference to his being born without eyes or a nose. According to tradition he was miraculously cured upon splashing the baptismal water of St. David of Wales (1st March) on his face three times. In 544, a plague came through the area and the students dispersed to various parts of Ireland. St. Mobhí unfortunately succumbed to the plague and reposed on 12th October, 544, and soon after was recognised as a saint by his former disciples. The Martyrology of Donegal commemorates him as follows: “Mobhí Clárainech, abbot, of Glass Naoidhen, in Fine-Gall, on the brink of the river Lifè, on the north side; and Bearchán was another name for him”. Today there is a Church of Ireland parish in Glasnevin named for Saint Mobhí.
MONAS, a Bishop of Milan of whom almost nothing is known about his life and episcopate. It seems he served from 193 until his repose in 249, though there are sources that place him as bishop approximately a century later.
PANTALUS, (Date Unknown — Possibly Fifth Century), the first or second Bishop of Basle. He is commemorated as a martyr.
SALVINUS, a Bishop of Verona, known as a learned Prelate and for his holiness. St. Salvinus reposed 562, his relics are enshrined in the church of St. Stephen in Verona.
WILFRID (WALAFRIDUS, WILLFERDER), a cosmopolitan Churchman, notable missionary, great defender of Papal authority, and one of the most celebrated, and controversial bishops of the Anglo-Saxon Church. St. Wilfrid entered Lindisfarne whilst still in his teens. However, he soon grew discontented with the Celtic practices there. With the goal of expanding his knowledge, especially of the Roman practices, St. Wilfrid spent time at Canterbury and Rome, returning via Lyons where he spent three years, receiving monastic tonsure according to the Roman practice. Upon his return to Britain, St. Wilfrid was made Abbot of the newly founded Ripon Abbey, where he introduced the Benedictine Rule. St. Wilfrid served as the chief spokesman for the Roman side at the Synod of Whitby, where his erudition served him well and as a result was able to persuade the Council to adopt the Roman practices.
St. Wilfrid made such a mark at the Council that he was elevated to the See of York. However, St. Wilfrid declined to be consecrated by the Northern bishops, who followed the Celtic practices, and hence he considered schismatics. Therefore, St. Wilfred travelled to France where he was consecrated by twelve Frankish bishops at Compiègne. For reasons no longer known, his sojourn in France was longer than anticipated, and in his absence St. Chad (2nd March) was appointed in his place. Upon his return in 666, St. Wilfrid, in great humility, accepted St. Chad as bishop and retired to Ripon. A few years after St. Wilfred’s return, St. Theodore of Canterbury (19th September), visited Northumbria, where he found St. Chad working as bishop. He pointed out to him the defects of his position and, at his instigation, St. Chad withdrew and St. Wilfrid was finally installed as Bishop of York in 669. During his tenure as bishop, St. Wilfrid acted with great vigour, enforcing the Roman practice amongst the Celtic monks, founding churches and monasteries, and completely rebuilt the minster at York. Not a decade later St. Theodore divided the Diocese of York into three sees without St. Wilfrid’s consent, resulting in St. Wilfrid appealing to Rome. Though he prevailed in his appeal, on his return to England he was imprisoned, and then exiled to Sussex, where he carried out successful missionary work (681–6). After reconciling with St. Theodore of Canterbury St. Wilfrid was reinstated to the See of York, which he held for about five years before disputes with King Aldfrith (r. 685–705) compelled him to flee yet again. St. Wilfrid was then invited by the King of Mercia to administer the vacant See of Lichfield. In 703, a synod called by St. Brithwald (9th January), the then Archbishop of Canterbury, decreed that St. Wilfrid should resign his See and retire to Ripon. Once more St. Wilfrid appealed to Rome, and once more his claims were upheld. However, in humility, St. Wilfrid agreed, to resign in favour of St. John of Beverley (7th May), accepting instead the See of Hexham, and spending the last years of his life in his monastery at Ripon, reposing in 709. St. Wilfrid’s feast is also listed on the calendar of the Moscow Patriarchate on 24th April.
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”.