Posted by: anna | October 16, 2010

Holy Martyrs Ewald the Fair and Ewald the Dark

Today (3 October) we commmemorate Holy Martyrs Ewald the Fair and Ewald the Dark (695). From Baring-Gould:

THE TWO EWALDS, PP. MM. (about a.d. 695.)
[Roman and German Martyrologies. Authority: — Bede, Hist. Eccl. v. c. 10.]

The Venerable Bede relates that, “Two priests of the English nation, who had long lived as strangers in Ireland, for the sake of the eternal inheritance, following the example of Wilibrord, went into the province of the ancient Saxons, to try if they could there gain some to Christ by preaching. They both bore the same name, as they were one in devotion, Hewald being the name of both, with this distinction, that, on account of the difference of their hair, the one was called Black Hewald, and the other White Hewald. They were both very pious, but Black Hewald was the more learned in Holy Scripture. On entering the province, these men took up their lodging in a certain steward’s house, and requested that he would conduct them to his lord, as they had a message, and something to tell him to his advantage. The steward received and entertained them in his house some days, promising to send them to his lord as they desired.
“But the barbarians, finding them to be of another religion, by their continual prayer and singing of psalms and hymns, and by their daily offering the sacrifice of the saving oblation — for they had with them sacred vessels and a consecrated slab for an altar — began to grow jealous of them, lest they should come into the presence of their lord, and converse with him, and turn his heart from their gods to the new religion of the Christian faith, and thus by degrees all their province should change its old worship for a new one. Hereupon they, on a sudden, laid hold of them and put them to death ; the White Hewald they slew immediately with the sword ; but the Black they put to tedious torture, and tore limb from limb, throwing them into the Rhine. The chief whom they desired to see, hearing it, was highly incensed, and put to death all the peasants engaged in the murder and burnt their village. The aforesaid priests and servants of Christ suffered on the 3rd of October.
“Nor did their martyrdom want the honour of miracles ; for their dead bodies having been cast into the river by the pagans, as has been said, were carried against the stream for the space of almost forty miles, to the place where their companions were. Moreover, a long ray of light, reaching up to heaven, shone every night over the place where they were, in the sight of the pagans who had slain them. Moreover, one of them appeared in a vision by night to one of his companions, whose name was Tilnean, a man of illustrious birth, acquainting him with the fact that their bodies lay where he would find a ray of light reaching to heaven. And so it was, the bodies were found, and buried with the honours due to martyrs ; and the day of their passion, or of their bodies being found, is celebrated in these parts with proper veneration. At length, Pepin, the most glorious general of the Franks, understanding these things, caused the bodies to be brought to him, and buried them with much honour in the church of the city of Cologne, on the Rhine. It is reported, that a spring gushed out in the place where they were killed, and that it affords a plentiful stream to this day.”
The place of their martyrdom seems to have been Aplerbeke, a little village on the Embscher, near Dortmund, in Westphalia. Bede was mistaken about the name of the river into which the bodies were thrown, if reliance may be placed on local tradition uninterrupted from a remote date, which has fixed on Aplerbeke as the site of the martyrdom.
Moreover, the bodies did not float against the stream, but down it towards the Rhine, the Embscher flowing nearly-due west. The rest of the party had certainly not pushed east of Dortmund. According to another opinion, the site of the martyrdom was in the county of Hoya, near Bremen, but this is not probable, nor supported by so persistent a tradition.
The Anglo-Saxon form of the name of the saints was certainly Edwald, but in German it has become Ewald. The relics were translated in 1074, by Anno, Archbishop of Cologne, to the church of S. Cunibert, in his metropolitan city. The heads were given by him to Frederick, Bishop of Munster, but they were lost when the Anabaptists held Munster, in 1534, and sacked the churches.


Catholic Encyclopedia


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