Posted by: anna | August 8, 2014

new resource


A new resource for getting to know the Orthodox saints of the British Isles and western Europe: Dr John Hutchison-Hall’s books – see Volumes 1 and 2 of Orthodox Saints of the British Isles are now available in hard copy and e-book formats, providing a few lines of what’s known about each saint listed (January-June so far). It might be a good starting point for anyone encountering the idea of an Orthodox heritage in these islands for the first time – perhaps as a companion to Nick Mayhew Smith’s brilliant, practical (though rather heavy to take along on a walk!) and beautifully put together Britain’s Holiest Places.



Posted by: anna | August 8, 2014

St Duncan of Iona

Today I want to write about Dúnchad mac Cinn Fáelad (Dunichad, Duncad, Donatus), the eleventh abbot of Iona (?707–717). There is some question about the dates of his tenure, and his feast is celebrated on different days: 25 May on Irish calendars and 24 March on Scottish ones.

He was invoked for the protection of ships and sailors in his former abbatial seat at Killochuir, in his native Ireland. According to Fr O’Hanlon’s sources (which he is chronically vague about citing), Abbot Duncan was known for his great sanctity, knowledge of Scripture and prayerful life. He is also associated with the working of miracles. He seems to have been instrumental in persuading the great house of Iona and by extension the Church throughout at least southern Scotland, to move from the Celtic to the Roman computus (calculation of Easter) – the subject of the Synod of Whitby, which occurred about 50 years earlier. Then as now, the wheels of Orthodoxy grind slow… Whatever the theological and political merits or demerits of the two systems, the important thing for many was unity.

Sources/further reading:

Holy Father Dunchadh, pray to God for us.

Posted by: anna | October 11, 2012

28 September troparia

Today (28 September) in the calendar of early western saints we commemorate St Conval, disciple of St. Kentigern (630). St Tetta, abbess of Wimborne (8th C). St Lioba, abbess and missionary (782). St. Machan, monk. I am once again taking the quick(er) way by translating some of M Lopez-Ginisty’s troparia  for several of today’s saints: St Exuperius of Arreau, bishop of Toulouse (+415 AD); St Chamon or Annemundus, archbishop of Lyon, martyred at Châlons-sur-Saône (+657); St Lioba, abbess of Bischofsheim in the diocese of Mainz (+779); and St Salonius of Geneva (+469 AD).

Troparion in Tone 3 to St Exuperius of Arreau, bishop of Toulouse (+415 AD)

You were elected to the see of Toulouse
You completed the church of St Saturnin  
And you reestablished discipline within the Church.
You were deeply charitable to the poor
And were considered an exemplary saint.
Holy Exuperius, pray to God for our salvation!


Troparion in Tone 5 to St Chamon or Annemundus, archbishop of Lyon, martyred at Châlons-sur-Saône (+657)

Child of the nobility, raised in the Frankish court,
You consecrated your life to the service of Christ
As bishop, you pastured your flock in peace
And led it with wisdom toward God
And you ended your life in martyrdom at Châlons.
Holy Annemond, intercede for our salvation!


Troparion in Tone 7 to St Lioba,  abbess of Bischofsheim in the diocese of Mainz (+779)

English by birth, you were related
To the holy hierarch Boniface of Mainz.
On his entreaty you went with several companions
into his monastery of Tauberbischofsheim
which you directed with love and wisdom.
Holy Leoba, pray to God that He have mercy on us!


Troparion in the 4th tone to St Salonius of Geneva (+469 AD)
At the age of ten years you went to Lérins
Working under the guidance of St. Honorat,
and having as masters St Hilary and St. Vincent.
As hierarch of the city of Geneva
You governed the Church with wisdom.
Saint Salonius, pray the Lord Christ for our souls!

Posted by: anna | July 16, 2012

St Swithun

Today in the calendar of early western saints we commemorate one of the better-known English saints, Swithun, bishop of Winchester ( 682). There is some connection between Old and New calendar dates of Swithin’s feast day – the usual English commemoration even now is 15 July, but according to Wikipedia it’s 2 July in Norway, and both Capgrave and Baring-Gould use 2 July. It cannot be insignificant that these are 13 days apart, the difference separating the Gregorian and Julian calendars! I wonder whether there’s more of a calendar connection than a death/translation one…From celt-saints:

‘Born in Wessex, England; died at Winchester, England, July 2, 862. The translation of his relics is observed 15 July.

‘Swithin was educated at the Old Abbey, Winchester, and was ordained (it is uncertain whether or not he was a monk). He became chaplain to King Egbert of the West Saxons, who appointed him tutor of his son Ethelwulf, and was one of the king’s counsellors. Swithun was named bishop of Winchester in 852 when Ethelwulf succeeded his father as king. Swithun built several churches and was known for his humility and his aid to the poor and needy (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).

‘A miracle attributed to him in the Golden Legend illustrates his understanding of ordinary folk. A poor woman was pushed in a market-day crowd and dropped her basket of eggs. St. Swithun blessed the broken shells and the eggs were made whole again.

‘A long-held popular belief declares it will rain for 40 days if it rains on his feast day.

‘Saint Swithun’s day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
Saint Swithun’s day, if thou be fair,
For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.’


O Swithune pater, præsul mitissime noster,
Per quem mira Deus signa facit Dominus.
Nos fragiles animo petimus defende paterno,
Sanctis atque tuis protege nos meritis.
Quo te pro nobis interveniente patrono
Possumus vitam scandere perpetuam.

O Father Swithun, our most merciful bishop,
By whom the Lord God has done wondrous signs,
We, frail of soul, entreat you to protect us as a father,
And by your holy merit defend us.
That by your patronal intervention for us
We may attain to the life everlasting.

– Antiphon for the Office of St Swithun, ?composed by John of Tynemouth in the first half of the 14th century (see Lapidge, above, and the Patrologia Latina.) translation mine and pending criticism from those with better (medieval) Latin than mine!

Posted by: anna | July 6, 2012


…and links on the calendar page for January-February have all been changed so that they work.

Posted by: anna | July 4, 2012


phew – at last all the links on the calendar page for May-June have been updated. Sorry it’s taken so long.

Posted by: anna | July 4, 2012

troparia for 21 June

Today (21 June) in the calendar of early western saints, we commemorate SS Alban of Mainz, Leutfridus (Leufroy), Meen and Palladius of Embrun. Here are my translations of French original troparia by Claude Lopez-Ginisty at Acathistes et offices orthodoxes.

Troparion in Tone 4 to St Alban of Mainz (+ ca.400)
Priest of Orthodox Greece,
Wishing to escape the Arian persecutions,
You went with St Ours to Naples; then Ambrose.
The saint of Milan, sent you into Germany
Where you suffered martyrdom at the hands of Vandals.
St Alban, entreat Christ to save our souls!

Acta Sanctorum


Troparion in Tone 5 to St Leutfridus (Leufroy), hermit (+ 738)
Brother of St Agofredus, you were the friend
Of St Ansbert, bishop of the city of Rouen.
You became a hermit and the disciple of St Sidonius (Saens)
Before founding a monastery at La Croix
On the pious advice of the holy archbishop Ansbert.
St Leutfridus, pray to the Lord to save our souls!

nice article in French about a Carolingian charter relating to the abbey 🙂

Acta Sanctorum


Troparion in Tone 6 to St Meen, abbot (+ 617)
You were born in Cambria, in the land of Wales;
With St Samson, you left for Armorica (Brittany),
In order to proclaim the Gospel to the pagan regions.
You became abbot of Saint-Jean-de-Gaël
And you gave the habit to St Judicael.
St Meen, pray to Christ to have mercy on us!

Acta Sanctorum


Troparion in Tone 7 to St Palladius, bishop of Embrun (+ 6th century)
Bishop of Embrun, you fought against the heresy
By which the Arians undermined the Church.
You followed King Sigismund into exile
And succeeded Bishop Catulin.
St Pelade, pray to the Lord to save us!

Acta Sanctorum

Hurra! some wonderful university has put a 19th century edition of the Acta Sanctorum on, so the lives/acts of all four of these saints are available here. In Latin, alas for those of us whose Latin is not great.

Posted by: anna | May 29, 2012

SS Peregrine and Fidolus, 16 May

It’s been a long time since I posted here. I hope this marks a return to regular if not frequent posting about the western saints. Today’s is a cheaty shortcut, translating M Lopez-Ginisty’s troparia for saints of the day, but I plan to return soon to compiling short articles with links about more of the early saints of these islands between La Manche and the Irish Sea…

Today (16 May) in the cobbled-together multiple calendars of early western saints, we commemorate SS Peregrine, bishop of Auxerre, and Fidolus, abbot.

Troparion in Tone 2 to St Peregrine , bishop of Auxerre (+ 304)

You were the first evangelist to Auxerre,
Bringing to that place the message of the Living God,
Which you defended against pagan cults
Even to the sacrifice of your own life.
Holy Peregrine, hierarch and confessor of Christ,
Pray to Him to grant salvation to our souls!

more about Peregrine (French) and a further article, also French


Troparion in Tone 3 to St Fidolus, abbot (+504)
Member of a wealthy family of Clermont,
Youw ere sent as a slave into the Champagne region,
Where Aventinus, disciple of the great St Lupus of Troyes ,
freed you and made you his successor.
O holy Fidolus, abbot of Montier-La-Celle,
Pray to the Lord to have great mercy on us!

More about St Fidolus/Fale/Phal:

Also commemorated on 16 May: St Brendan the Voyager

Posted by: anna | March 15, 2012

St Chad of Mercia

Icon of St Chad by the hand of Aidan Hart, in the chapel at Shrewsbury School. Image from Western Saints Icon Project.

Today (2 March) we commemorate St Chad of Mercia, abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of York and Bishop of Lichfield. His life and work in the church of 7th century Anglo-Saxon Britain is well-documented and interesting, but makes for a long read, so rather than even attempt a brief sketch I refer readers to several good accounts elsewhere:

Troparion in the fourth tone to St Chad, Bishop of York (+672)

Brother of St Cedric (Cedd), monk and then abbot,
You followed the Rule of St Columban.
Then you became Bishop of the city of York,
Before humbly effacing yourself to go
To the see of Lichfield, where you died.
St Chad, pray to the Lord to have mercy on us!

– troparion text translated from a French original composition by Claude Lopez-Ginisty at Acathistes et offices orthodoxes

Posted by: anna | February 13, 2012

St Adamnan of Coldingham

Today (31 January) we commemorate St Adamnan of Coldingham, who is not to be confused with St Adamnan of Iona, Columba’s biographer. From Michael Barrett’s Calendar of Scottish Saints:

 ‘In the monastery of Coldingham, over which St. Ebba presided, was a monk of great sanctity and austerity named Adamnan. It is not certain whether he was a native of Scotland or not. In his youth Adamnan had led a life of great licentiousness, and being converted by the grace of God from his evil ways was moved with a desire to do penance for his sins. Accordingly he sought the counsel of a certain Irish priest, to whom he made a general confession and confided his desire of entering upon a penitential life. So deep was his sorrow that he expressed himself ready to accept any penance his director might impose, even to spending whole nights in prayer, or fasting for a week continuously. The priest having imposed upon him the penance of taking food twice only in a week until he should see him again, departed into Ireland, and died there before Adamnan was able to consult him a second time. Taking this as a sign of God’s Will that he was to persevere in his heroic course of penance, Adamnan resolved to continue to the end the hard life begun by the counsel of the Irish priest. Having become a monk at Coldingham after his conversion, he lived there for many years, and was made one of the priests of the monastery. He died in the odour of sanctity after being favoured with the gift of prophecy.’


Troparion in the second tone to St Adamnan, monk (+680)
Having previously led an unedifying life,
You converted after a pilgrimage;
You became a monk at Coldingham
And served the monastery of St Ebba,
Leading a life of great ascesis and prayer.
St Adamnan, pray to God that He save our souls!

– troparion text translated from a French original composition by Claude Lopez-Ginisty at Acathistes et offices orthodoxes

Older Posts »