Western Saints of the Orthodox Church
ALEXIS (ALEXIUS, ALEXIOS) the Man of God, (Early Fifth Century), a native of Rome, who, most likely, with the consent of his bride, left her at the altar to devote his life to serving God. He is said to have left Rome and settled in Edessa. There he entered a monastery and spent close to two decades in prayer and writing on various aspects of Christianity. His fame grew and seeking to continue a life of anonymity, St. Alexis returned to Rome, where he spent the rest of his life, living, unrecognised, on his parents’ estate, as a simple beggar. When he felt death drawing near, St. Alexis wrote a letter, which was found following his repose, to his family in which he revealed his true identity and his love for them. The title ‘Man of God’ is generally said to have been bestowed upon him by either an icon or vision of the Theotokos, who in calling attention to his devotion in Edessa, used that appellation.
ANDREW ZORARD, a Pole who was a missionary in the area of Olawa, Silesia (present-day Poland), and later lived as an anchorite on Mount Zobar in Hungary, where he reposed circa 1010.
CYNEHELM (KENELM), the son of Cenwulf, King of Mercia (r. 796–821). According to most common legends, all of which are based upon a twelfth century passio (account of martyrdom) at Winchcombe Abbey, King St. Cynehelm, who at the age of seven had already ascended to the throne, was murdered by beheading at the instigation of his sister Cwenthryth who sought to assume the throne. His body was buried in an unmarked location in the Forest of Clent. King St. Cynehelm’s soul is then said to have arisen in the form of a dove carrying a scroll, which flew to Rome where it dropped the scroll at the feet of the Pope. The message on the scroll read: ‘Low in a mead of kine under a thorn, of head bereft, lieth poor Cynehelm king-born’. The Pope then wrote the Archbishop of Canterbury, who commissioned a party from the Mercian capital, Winchcombe, to seek the body. As they searched, they saw a pillar of light shining over a thicket in Worcestershire. Buried beneath it they found the body of King St. Cynehelm. The monks transported his relics to Winchcombe Abbey, where they were enshrined, and remained for several hundred years.
However, the wider historical record supports none of this. St. Cynehelm was most likely aged twenty-five when he reposed from unknown causes. His sister Cwenthryth, who had received monastic tonsure by the time of her father's death in 821, was the Abbess of Minster-in-Thanet when her brother is said to have been martyred.
Regardless of the accuracy of the legend, St. Cynehelm was universally venerated as a saint and martyr in Mediæval England. He is mentioned in the Canterbury Tales (the Nun's Priest's Tale, lines 290–301), and the distinguished twelfth century English historian, man of letters, and monk, William of Malmesbury (†c. 1142) recounted that "there was no place in England to which more pilgrims travelled than to Winchcombe on Cynehelm’s feast day".
CYNLLO, St. Cynllo seems to have been a late fifth century Welsh saint, though there is no reliable information on his life extant. There are several churches dedicated to him in Wales. According to a local tradition, his knee imprints are in a rock near Felin Gynllo farm, just outside of Llangoedmor in Ceredigion.
ENNODIUS of PAVIA (MAGNUS FELIX ENNODIUS), a well-educated Gallo-Roman whose wife was from a wealthy noble family. After recovering from a serious illness, St. Ennodius dedicated the rest of his life to the service of the Almighty. He was ordained to the diaconate, and his wife retired to a monastery. In 510, St. Ennodius was consecrated Bishop of Pavia (Lombardy in northern Italy). He was appointed a Papal Legate to Emperor Anastasius I Dicorus (r. 491–518) in Constantinople where, on two separate trips, St. Ennodius endeavoured to convince the emperor to repudiate Eutychianism. On his second trip, St. Ennodius was met by angry mobs and only just managed to escape with his life. St. Ennodius was also a prolific writer, and some of his works are still extant. St. Ennodius reposed in 521.
FREDEGAND (FREGAUT) of KERKELODOR, a disciple of St. Foillan of Fosses (31st October) and later Abbot of Kerkelodor near present-day Antwerp in Belgium. St. Fredegand reposed circa 740.
GENEROSUS, (Date Unknown), venerated in Tivoli in Lazio (central Italy) as a martyr where his relics are enshrined in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Lawrence the Martyr (Basilica Cattedrale di San Lorenzo Martire). Nothing further is known of St. Generosus’ life.
MARCELLINA, the elder sister of St. Ambrose of Milan (7th December) and St. Satyrus of Milan (17th September). St. Marcellina received monastic tonsure from Pope Liberius (r. 352–366) though she never entered any monastery, living instead in private homes. She also served as an assistant to her brother following his consecration as Bishop of Milan. St. Marcellina reposed circa 398, her relics were enshrined in the Basilica of Ambrose in Milan.
SCILLITAN MARTYRS, twelve martyrs, seven men and five women, who suffered at Scillium in Numidia (predominantly present-day Algeria) in 180 by order of the proconsul Saturninus, for refusal to renounce Christianity. Their names are: Speratus, Narzales, Cythinus, Veturius, Felix, Acyllinus, Laetantius, Januaria, Generosa, Vestina, Donata, and Secunda. The Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs is considered to be the earliest document of the church of Africa as well as the earliest specimen of Christian Latin extant.
THEODOSIUS of AUXERRE, the Bishop of Auxerre in Burgundy (France) from circa 507 until his repose circa 516. St. Theodosius is listed amongst the attendees of the First Council of Orléans held in 511.
TURNINUS, (Eighth Century), an Irish missionary priest and fellow worker of St. Foillan of Fosses (31st October) in Flanders (northern France).
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”.