Dr. John (Ellsworth) Hutchison-Hall

Writings on Orthodox Christian theology and related miscellanea.

Western Saints of the Orthodox Church — 15th January

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15th January


BLAITHMAIC (BLATHMAC, BLAITHMALE), the son of an Irish king, who at an early age renounced this world and entered the monastic life, St. Blaithmaic ultimately became abbot of his monastery. He later led a group of monks to reclaim Iona, where he was martyred, circa 823, by Vikings on the altar steps of the church for refusing to identify the tomb of St. Columba of Iona (9th June) which they sought to plunder. His Life was written in verse by Strabo, the Abbot of Reichenau in Lake Constance in southern present-day Germany.

BONITUS (BONT), after having served as Chancellor to King Sigebert III of Austrasia, and Governor of Marseilles, St. Bonitus was elected twenty-seventh Bishop of Clermont in 689. Owing to questions as to the validity of his election St. Bonitus resigned and retired to the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Manglieu, Puy-de-Dôme, living out the rest of his life as a monk. St. Bonitus reposed circa 710, and his relics are enshrined in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption of Clermont-Ferrand (Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption de Clermont-Ferrand) in present-day Clermont-Ferrand, France.

CEOLWULF, a King of Northumbria and great supporter of monasticism, he abdicated his throne 737 to enter Lindisfarne. St. Bede the Venerable (25th May) dedicated his Ecclesiastical History to him. St. Ceolwulf reposed 764.

EMEBERT (ABLEBERT), a son of St. Amalberga (10th July) and brother of SS. Reineldis (16th July) and Gudula (8th January). St. Emebert served as an early eighth century Bishop of Cambrai (present-day France), reposing circa 710.

EPHYSIUS, nothing certain is known of the life of St. Ephysius, legend states he was martyred in Sardinia (circa 303) during the Diocletianic Persecution. His cultus is centred at Cagliari in Sardinia, and his relics are enshrined in Pisa.

EUGYPPIUS, a priest who worked with St. Severinus (8th January) in Noricum (roughly present-day western Austria, parts of Bavaria and Slovenia). St. Eugyppius also authored a Life of St. Severinus. He reposed circa 511.

Icon of St. Ita

Icon of St. Ita

ITA (YTHA, MEDA), second only to St. Bridget (1st February) in veneration amongst the Irish, St. Ita is known as “the Foster mother of Irish Saints”. The daughter of Irish nobility, whose parents were devout Christians, St. Ita resolved, while still quite young, to enter monastic life. She founded a school and monastery at Killeedy (Cill Íde) in present-day Co. Waterford, which became known as a training ground for young boys, many of whom became famous churchmen, including St. Brendan the Voyager (16th May), who was entrusted to her care at the age of one, remaining with her for five years. She spent her life in repentance and practicing asceticism and became a renowned elderess, widely sought for her spiritual counsel. She seems to have practiced medicine to some extent as well. St. Ita reposed circa 570, and is the patron saint of Killeedy. There is a holy well on the spot of her monastery, which is a site of pilgrimage.

LLENDADD (LAUDATUS), St. Llendadd was a Welsh saint about whom there is little reliable information. He was Abbot of Bardsey (Carnarvon) at some point, and is said to have accompanied St. Cadfan (1st November) to Brittany. There are some who are of the opinion that he is the same saint as St. Lo of Coutances (22nd September), though in the absence of a reliable Life or other details, it is impossible to say with any certainty.

MALARD, a mid-seventh century Bishop of Chartres who attended the Council of Châlon-sur-Saône in 650, and reposed sometime thereafter.

MAURA and BRITTA, two fourth century martyrs of whom no information is extant. St. Gregory of Tours (17th November), stated that their relics were discovered by his predecessor in the See of Tours, St. Eufronius (4th August).

MAURUS and PLACID, were amongst the first of St. Benedict’s (11th July) monks at Subiaco, and later followed him to what became the Abbey of Monte Cassino. There are several reports of St. Maurus as wonderworker well. The particulars of the lives of both Saints were written by St. Gregory the Dialogist. (3rd September) in his Dialogues. St. Maurus reposed in 584, and St. Placid in 541.

MAXIMUS of NOLA, a Bishop of Nola who ordained St. Felix (14th January). During the Decian Persecution St. Maximus fled to the mountains, nearly dying of exposure. St. Felix came to care for him, and kept St. Maximus alive until the end of the persecution. Unfortunately, St. Maximus reposed shortly thereafter (circa 250) weakened by the suffering he had experienced for the Faith.

SAWL, a Welsh chieftain, St. Sawl was father of St. Asaph of Wales (1st May). There is no other information on this saint extant.

SECUNDINA, a maiden in Rome who was flogged to death for the faith during the Decian Persecution. Her witness of the Faith converted her guards before her repose.

TARSICIA (TARSITIA), a granddaughter of King Clotaire II, and sister of St. Ferreolus of Uzès (4th January). St. Tarsicia lived as an anchoress near Rodez in Occitanie, and reposed circa 600.

Details of British Saints excerpted from Orthodox Saints of the British Isles.
Details of continental saints from these sources.