Western Saints of the Orthodox Church
AMPELIUS, archbishop of Milan from 665 until his repose circa 672. It is said his episcopacy was marked by efforts to evangelise the Lombards and wonderworking, however there are no details extant. St. Ampelius’ relics are enshrined under the main altar at the Basilica of St. Simplician in Milan.
ANGELELMUS, a native of Bavaria who was an Abbot of SS. Gervase and Protase Abbey in Auxerre, and later served as Bishop of that See. St. Angelelmus reposed in 828.
APOLLONIUS, a second century Bishop of Brescia in Lombardy, often said to have flourished circa 112 – circa 140. According to the Acts of SS. Faustinus and Jovita (15th February), St. Apollonius was the bishop who priested St. Faustinus and ordained St. Jovita to the diaconate. However, the Bollandists have strong reservations regarding the veracity of both the dates, and the Acts themselves. These questions notwithstanding, St. Apollonius did exist, and his relics of St. Apollonius are enshrined in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Brescia, Italy.
BONITUS, the fourth Abbot of Monte Cassino, his abbotship coincided with the sack of the Abbey by the Lombards and the brotherhood fleeing to Rome. St. Bonitus reposed circa 582, shortly after the community settled on the Lateran Hill in Rome.
ETHELBURGH (ETHELBURGA, AUBIERGE), a daughter of Anna, King of East Anglia, she was educated at the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Faremoutiers, in the present-day Seine-et-Marne Department of France. When older, St. Ethelburgh received monastic tonsure at Faremoutiers, and following the repose of the founding-Abbess St. Fara (3rd April), she was selected by the community to serve as their Abbess. St. Ethelbutgh reposed circa 664, her body was exhumed seven years after her repose, and was found to be incorrupt.
FELIX of NANTES, a nobleman and well-educated priest originally from Aquitaine. In 551, though married, St. Felix was chosen Bishop of Nantes. His wife entered a monastery, he spent the balance of his life serving his flock. St. Felix was known especially for his care for the poor, but he also was responsible for the cathedral being built within the city walls, as well as other municipal improvements which St. Venantius Fortunatus (14th December) praised in poetry. St. Felix attended both the Council of Paris in 557 and the Council of Tours in 567. St. Felix reposed in January 584, having served the See of Nantes for over three decades.
HEDDA, a native of Essex, St. Hedda received monastic tonsure and instruction at the famed double monastery of St. Hilda of Whitby. In 676 he was consecrated Bishop of Wessex by St. Theodore of Canterbury (19th September) with his episcopal seat in Dorchester-on-Thames. For reasons now unknown, St. Hedda later moved his seat to Winchester. According to St. Bede the Venerable (25th May) “he was a good and just man, and exercised his episcopal duties rather through an innate love of virtue than through the learning he had acquired”. As bishop, St. Hedda was a benefactor of Malmesbury Abbey; he may have ordained St. Guthlac (11th April) to the priesthood; and he assisted King St. Ina of Wessex in drawing up a code of laws for his subjects. St. Hedda reposed in 705 and his relics were enshrined in the cathedral at Winchester, where they remain to this day. Both St. Bede the Venerable and twelfth century English historian William of Malmesbury affirm that many miracles were worked through intercessions at his tomb.
ILLIDIUS (ALLYRE), the fourth Bishop of Clermont. Whilst Bishop, St. Illidius worked to make Clermont a leading centre for religious teaching and learning. He reposed in 385 and was buried just north of Clermont. The Abbey of Saint-Alyre was built around his tomb. St. Illidius was highly regarded by St. Gregory of Tours (17th November), and intimates that some of St. Illidius’ relics were translated to Tours during St. Gregory’s episcopacy.
MAOLRUAIN, the founding-Abbot of the famous monastery of Tallaght in Co. Dublin, Ireland. Assisted by St. Ængus (11th March), St. Maolruain began the compilation of the Martyrology of Tallaght, and he and St. Ængus are also joint authors of the Rule of the Céli Dé. St. Maolruain reposed in 792 and was succeeded as Abbot of Tallaght by St. Ængus.
MEDRAN and ODRAN, (Sixth Century), brothers and disciples of St. Kieran of Ossory (5th March). One went on to become the founding abbot of a monastery at Muskerry, Co. Cork, Ireland, whilst the other remained with St. Kieran of Ossory. Unfortunately, we no longer have any record of which brother assumed which role.
PALLADIUS, APOSTLE of the SCOTS, a deacon in Rome, St. Palladius was consecrated by Pope St. Celestine (6th April) first Bishop of the Scots. He then proceeded to the British Isles, arriving first in Ireland where he founded several churches before going on to Scotland. St. Palladius laboured in Scotland for the rest of his life, with enormous success, to spread the Gospel. He reposed circa 450 and was buried at Fordun near Aberdeen.
PANTAENUS, a native of Sicily who became the head of the Orthodox School in Alexandria. St. Pantaenus is often credited with instituting the changes that made the school the leading centre it was known as. He was held in great esteem for his holiness of life as well as his erudition by many including St. Jerome (30th September). The date of St. Pantaenus’ repose is variously given as 190, 200, and 216, with circa 200 being most likely.
PROSPER of AQUITAINE, a married lay-theologian in Aquitaine. St. Prosper is best known for his defence of St. Augustine of Hippo’s (28th August) writings on grace, predestination, and free will. It was a letter from St. Prosper to St. Augustine on the nascent semi-Pelagian controversy that St. Augustine wrote De Praedestinatione and De Dono Perseverantiae in response to. St. Prosper reposed 436.
WILLIBALD, a brother of SS. Winebald (18th December) and Walburgh (25th February) and a cousin of St. Boniface (5th June). Following his recovery from a near-fatal illness, St. Willibald’s parents dedicated him to God, and placed him in the care of Waltham Abbey in Hampshire. In his early twenties, he accompanied his father St. Richard (7th February) and his brother St. Winebald (18th December) on a pilgrimage to Rome, during which St. Richard reposed. St. Willibald continued on to the Holy Land, reaching Jerusalem on 11th November 725 – the first known Englishman in the Holy Land. His recollections of this pilgrimage were compiled as the Hodoeporicon - the first English language travelogue. His next stop was Italy, where he spent a decade at Monte Cassino assisting St. Petronax (6th May) restore the Abbey which had been sacked by the Lombards. St. Willibald was then sent by Pope St. Gregory III (10th December) to Germany to support his cousin St. Boniface’s (5th June) mission. St. Boniface ordained him to the priesthood, and a few months later consecrated him a missionary bishop. St. Willibald founded a missionary abbey at Eichstätt in Franconia (approximately 64 km / 40 mi west of present-day Regensburg Bavaria); was the Founding-Bishop of the Diocese of Eichstätt, and later with his sister St. Walburgh (25th February) St. Winnebald, founded the double monastery at Heidenheim. St. Willibald reposed circa 787, and his relics are still enshrined at the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Willibald, and St. Salvator in Eichstätt.
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”.