Western Saints of the Orthodox Church
APOLLONIUS, a Bishop of Benevento, who was forced into hiding towards the end of the Diocletianic Persecution. He reposed circa 326.
AQUILA and PRISCILLA, (First Century), husband and wife who were part of Rome's Jewish community, where they worked as tentmakers. Originally from Pontus, they hosted the Apostle Paul (29th June) in their home on two occasions (Acts 18:2 and Acts 18:18) as they travelled back to Pontus following Emperor Claudius’s (r. 41 – 54) banishment of Jews from Rome. A few years into the reign of Nero (r. 54 – 68), SS. Aquila and Priscilla returned to Rome, and St. Paul greets them in his Letter to the Romans (Romans 16:3). They are traditionally believed to have been martyred in Rome, however, there are some sources that state SS. Aquila and Priscilla returned to Asia Minor and were martyred there.
ARNOLD, the limited information on St. Arnold’s life is based upon Vitae that were based upon stories, retold, translated, and copied, rendering their contents doubtful. It is commonly agreement that St. Arnold was quite devoted to caring for the poor, and described as a model of Christian virtue, and has been venerated above all for his dedication to caring for the poor. The Bollandists place the date of his repose in the early ninth century. The village of Arnoldsweiler, just outside of present-day Düren in North Rhine-Westphalia takes its name from St. Arnold.
AUSPICIUS, traditionally counted as the fourth Bishop of Trier. He reposed circa 130. However, some state he is the same as St. Auspicius, the fifth century Bishop of Toul (vide infra). Some sources list him as a martyr, whilst others a confessor.
AUSPICIUS, a Gallo-Roman aristocrat, who succeeded Gelsimus as Bishop of Toul. Little is known of his life apart from his contribution to poetry, he was one of, if not the first, poets to use rhythmical iambics, giving his name to the purely rhythmical or Auspician strophe. St. Auspicius reposed circa 475.
EDGAR the PEACEFUL, a King of England whose reign was marked by a strong religious revival. He lent his support to the work of monastic reform, appointing SS. Dunstan (19th May), Ethelwold (1st August), and Oswald (28th February) to their Sees, and it was through his initiative that a synodal council was convened at Winchester (circa 970), resulting in the promulgation of the Regularis Concordia. St. Edgar's reign was remembered by Churchmen as a period of great order and prosperity, and hence he became to be known as Edgar the Peaceful.
Troparion of King St. Edgar the Peaceful — Tone VIII
Look down from heaven upon us, thy children,
O right-believing Edgar,
thou king who reignest no longer over England,
but dwellest in the mansions of heaven;
and accepting our prayerful entreaties,
establish the Holy Orthodox Faith throughout thy land,
and protect it by thine intercession on high,
that it may triumph at last over the manifold errors of this age.
GRIMBALD, a monk at St. Bertin Abbey in Saint-Omer in Flanders, notable for his advanced learning. He was invited by King Alfred the Great to help restore scholarship in England (885). Initially he served the schools at Oxford as their first professor of divinity. Upon the repose of Ethelred, King Alfred the Great offered St. Grimbald the See of Canterbury, but he declined, and was made Abbot of the new Minster at Winchester where he remained until his repose 901.
KILIAN (CHILIANUS), COLMAN, and TOTNAN, members of a group numbering eleven Irish monks who laboured to enlighten Franconia and East Thuringia (parts of present-day Bavaria). They were martyred on the orders of the pagan wife of the Duke Gozbert of Thuringia, who was also the Duke’s deceased brother’s widow, circa 689.
LANDRADA, founding-Abbess of Munsterbilzen Abbey in Limburg. St. Landrada reposed circa 690.
MORWENNA, (Fifth Century?), a Cornish saint, whom we know little of, St. Morwenna may have been a daughter of King St. Brychan of Brycheiniog (6th April). She is often confused with St. Modwenna of Polesworth (5th July), who lived two centuries later. Several places are named after her, most notably Morwenstow, Cornwall, England, where her relics are believed to be buried under the floor of the village Church of St. Morwenna and St. John the Baptist.
SOSTRATUS, SPIRUS, ERACLIUS, EPERENTIUS, and CECILIA MARTYRS of SYRMIUM, (Fourth Century), a group of five Christians martyred together at Syrmium in Pannonia (present-day Hungary). No further information on their lives is extant.
SUNNIVA (SUNNIFA), (Tenth Century) commonly believed to have been a princess who fled from Ireland with her brother and others, possibly to avoid an arranged marriage to a pagan king. Their ship wrecked on the coast of Norway, where they then settled, seemingly living a semi-hermetic life of seclusion and prayer. Unfortunately, over the years the details of their lives have been adulterated through re-telling, re-writing, and translation; some versions have incorporated parts of the life of St. Ursula and Companions (21st October). St. Sunniva is the patron-saint of Bergen, Norway, and the Norwegian west coast.
URITH of CHITTLEHAMPTON, (Sixth Century?), a fairly obscure saint, St. Ulrith is not mentioned in many of the standard historical hagiographies or menologies. The most popular legend of her Life claims that she was probably a nun martyred by Saxon, or possibly Viking, invaders at Chittlehampton in Devon, England. A church was later built over the site of her grave. Her holy well, now called by the corruption of her name - Taddy Well or Saint Teara’s Well, still stands at the east end of Chittlehampton.
WITHBURGH (WITHBURGA), the youngest daughter of Anna, King of East Anglia, who, following the repose of her father, received monastic tonsure, and lived as an anchoress at East Dereham, Norfolk. She reposed circa 643. Her relics were enshrined with those of her sisters, SS. Etheldreda (23-june) and Saxburgh (26th June), in Ely Cathedral on 17th October, 1106.
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”.