Western Saints of the Orthodox Church
BENEDICT of NURSIA
Father of Western Monasticism.
The only authoritative life of St. Benedict extant is by St. Gregory the Dialogist (3rd September) in the second book of his Dialogues, and this is more of an outline of important episodes in St. Benedict’s life, than a proper vita. According to tradition St. Benedict and his sister St. Scholastica (10th February) were twin children of a Roman noble, born in Nursia, near Spoleto. When St. Benedict was most likely in his early twenties, he left behind secular concerns to devote himself to God, and went to live as a hermit in a cave near Subiaco. There he was a spiritual child of the near-by hermit, St. Romanus of Subiaco (22nd May), who also tonsured him into monasticism.
In time, his holiness and fame as a wonderworker, drew many disciples to him and he built a lavra, for them. Around 530 he left Subiaco for Monte Cassino, where he founded the famous monastery, where he also composed his Rule, which, though initially was resisted by many as too harsh, came to be adopted by tens of thousands of monasteries the world over.
St. Benedict spent the rest of his life at Monte Cassino. St. Benedict reposed while standing in prayer before the altar in 550. St. Benedict was buried at Monte Cassino, though some of his relics were later translated to France.
Troparion of St. Benedict of Nursia — Tone I
By your ascetic labours, God-bearing Benedict, / you were proven to be true to your name. /
For you were the son of benediction, /
and became a rule and model for all who emulate your life and cry: /
“Glory to Him who gave you strength! /
Glory to Him who granted you a crown! /
Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!”
Kontakion of St. Benedict of Nursia — Tone VI
You were enriched with God’s grace; /
your works agreed with your name, O Benedict, helpful servant of Christ God. /
Through prayer and fasting you were revealed to be filled with the gifts of the Spirit of God! /
You are a healer of the sick, the banisher of demons and speedy defender of our souls!
BIRILLUS, he is traditionally considered to have been consecrated first Bishop of Catania in Sicily by the Apostle Peter (29th June) circa 42. St. Birillus is reputed to have been exceptionally successful in his evangelising the local pagans and reposed in extreme old age, circa 90.
ENDA (ENDEUS, ENNA), the brother of St. Fanchea (1st January), St. Enda founded many of the earliest monasteries in Ireland. His principal monastery was at Killeany in the Arran Islands. SS. Kyran of Clonmacnoise (9th September) and Brendan the Voyager (16th May) were amongst his disciples. St. Enda reposed circa 530.
LUPICINUS, the brother of St. Romanus of Condat (28th February), with whom he founded the Abbey of St. Claude, often called Condat Monastery, in Saint-Claude in the French Jura, and the nearby Laconne Monastery (in the present-day canton of Saint-Lupicin) as well. St. Lupicinus’ sanctity and miracles were attested to in detail by St. Gregory of Tours (17th November) in his writings. St. Lupicinus reposed circa 480.
PHILEMON and DOMNINUS, (Date Unknown), Although there are no reliable sources for their Lives extant; they are traditionally believed to have been two Romans who wandered through Italy preaching the Gospel, and were arrested by the Roman authorities who put them to death.
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”.