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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world


The Calendar of Willibrord, in its earliest version, records the feasts of various saints in January. Written in Latin at Echternach, Frisia (north-east Gaul), 703/710.

Evidence ID

E05840

Type of Evidence

Liturgical texts - Calendars and martyrologies

Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex

Major author/Major anonymous work

The Calendar of Willibrord

The Calendar of Willibrord records in January the feasts of the following saints:

*Genovefa (ascetic of Paris, ob. c. 502, S01156)
*Timothy (the disciple of Paul the Apostle, S00466)
*Felicitas (unspecified: presumably either the martyr of Rome, S00525, or the companion of Perpetua, S00009)
*Hilarius (bishop of Poitiers, ob. 367, S00183)
*Felix (priest and confessor of Nola, S00000)
*Antony (the Great, monk of Egypt, ob.356, S00098)
*Peter (the Apostle, S00036)
*Mary (mother of Christ, S00033)
*Sebastianus (martyr of Rome, S00400)
*Agnes (virgin and martyr of Rome, S00097)
*Babylas (bishop and martyr of Antioch, S00061)
*Paul (the Apostle, S00008)
*Sulpicius (probably the bishop of Bourges, ob. 591, S02151)
*Valerius (bishop of Trier, 3rd/4th c., S02152)
*Lucia ('virgin': perhaps a saint of Trier, S02153, or the martyr of Syracuse, S00846)
*Wilgis (anchorite and abbot of Northumbria, S02154)


Paris, Bibliothéque nationale de France, Lat. 10837, f. 34v

Kalendas ianuari Circumcisio domini
iiii nonas
iii in parisi natale genifeuae uirginis
ii
nonas
viii idus epifania domini
vii
vi
natale timothei
v
iiii
iii
natale felicitatis
ii
idus natale hilari episcopi
xviiii kalendas februari felicis confessoris in nola
xviii
xvii
xvi natale antoni monachi
xv cathedra petri in roma et adsumptio sanctae mariae
xiiii
xiii sebastiani martyris
xii agnae uirginis
xi
x
viiii babilae episcopi et martyris
viii conuersio pauli in damasco
vii
vi natale sulpici episcopi
v
iiii treueris natale ualeri episcopi et luciae uirginis
iii uilgisli abbatis
ii


'1 January - Circumcision of the Lord
2
3 - In Paris, the feast of Genovefa, virgin
4
5
6 - Epiphany of the Lord
7
8 -
Feast of Timothy
9
10
11 -
Saint Felicity
12
13 - Feast of Hilarius, bishop
14 - Felix, confessor in Nola
15
16
17 - Feast of Antony, monk
18 - Chair of Peter in Rome, and the Assumption of Saint Mary
19
20 - Sebastian, martyr
21 - Agnes, virgin
22
23
24 - Babylas, bishop and martyr
25 - Conversion of Paul in Damascus
26
27 - Feast of Sulpicius, bishop
28
29 - Feast of Valerius, bishop of Trier, and Lucia, virgin
30 - Wilgis, abbot
31'

Text: Wilson 1918, 3 (adapted: Wilson's 'first hand' in roman type, 'second hand' in italics, later annotations omitted).
Translation: B. Savill.

Festivals

Saint’s feast

Source

A liturgical calendar directly associated with Willibrord (archbishop of the Frisians, 695-739; abbot of Echternach, 697/8-739) survives as a contemporary manuscript in Paris, BnF, Lat. 10837, ff. 34v-40, where it immediately follows a version of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum of approximately the same date and provenance. Although it exceeds our database’s cut-off point of AD 700 by some three to ten years, the Calendar of Willibrord is included here since it almost certainly provides a key witness to cultic and liturgical practices in Britain and Ireland at the close of the 7th century – something not afforded by the relatively meagre contemporary Insular evidence.

Willibrord was born in Deira, Northumbria (northern Britain) in 657/8, and given as an oblate to the monastery of Ripon in 664. He left Britain for Ireland in 678, possibly under compulsion after the sudden fall from power that same year of his abbot and mentor, Bishop Wilfrid. He lived at the Irish monastery of Rath Melsigi until 690, before travelling to north-east Francia and embarking on his missionary career as 'apostle of the Frisians'. Pope Sergius I ordained Willibrord as archbishop in Rome in 695, and although he appears to have based his see at Utrecht, most sources suggest that his new monastic foundation at Echternach (near the modern-day Germany-Luxembourg border) served as his main ecclesiastical centre.

Echternach’s early scriptorium almost certainly produced the
Calendar. A lunar cycle for the years 703-21 appended to the text indicates the widest possible time frame for its original composition, and moreover suggests a date within that cycle’s first few years. Meanwhile, the absence of any entry for Willbrord’s mentor Bishop Wilfrid (ob. 24 April, 710), whom we know was cultivated as a saint almost immediately after his death, strongly suggests against any date later than 710. The Calendar includes no identifiable saints later than Pope Sergius I (ob. 701) and Lambert, bishop of Maastricht and patron saint of Liège (ob. c. 701/5). On palaeographical grounds, we can date the so-called 'first' and 'second' Insular uncial hands of the Calendar, plus two entries in Frankish uncial, to the early 8th century, and we have treated these here as comprising the effectively 'original' form of the Calendar. The manuscript does, however, also include numerous later interpolations and annotations (including an autobiographical entry by Willibrord himself, from 728), which belong to various hands from across the 8th and 9th centuries, and cannot always be dated precisely (Hen 1995). We have, therefore, not included these later entries in our database.


Discussion

Hilarius (Jan. 13): 'of Poitiers' (pictauiensis) is added by a later hand.

Valerius of Trier and Lucia (of Trier?) (Jan. 29): the latter is otherwise unknown, but her appearance alongside Valerius in this entry suggests she may have been thought of as having some sort of connection to the bishop. Note that Trier is only about 15 miles (24 km) east of Echternach, and so this entry may have had a local significance.
Lucia was possibly a local saint, otherwise unknown, or the famous Lucia of Syracuse is here referred to – it should be noted, however, that there is no evidence elsewhere that Lucia of Syracuse was associated with 29 January.

Wilgis (Jan. 30): Willibrord's own father, described in Alcuin's
Life of Willibrord (c. 796) as a hermit and, later, abbot of a monastic community dedicated to St Andrew between the river Humber and North Sea (north-east Britain). A later, 12th century Echternach martyrology (Paris, BnF, Lat. 10158) gives notice on Jan. 30 of 'the feast in Britain of the laying to rest of Saint Wilgis, abbot, father of our patron, Saint Willibrord' (Item in Britannia depositio sancti Wilgisli abbatis patris sancti patroni nostri Willibrordi).

See Wilson, 1918, 17-20, for a full commentary.


Bibliography

Edition:
The Calendar of St. Willibrord from Paris Lat. 10837: A Facsimile, with Transcription, Introduction and Notes, ed. H.A. Wilson (London, 1918).

Further reading:
Costambeys, M., "Willibrord [St Willibrord] (657/8-739)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/29576

Hen, Y.,
Culture and Religion in Merovingian Gaul, AD 481-751 (Leiden, 1995), 102-6.

McKitterick, R., "Frankish Uncial: A New Context for the Work of the Echternach Scriptorium," in: A. Weiler and P. Bange (eds.),
Willibrord zijn wereld en zijn werk (Nijmegen, 1990), 374-88; repr. in R. McKitterick, Books, Scribes and Learning in the Frankish Kingdoms, 6th-9th Centuries (Aldershot, 1994), part V.

Netzer, N., "The Early Scriptorium at Echternach: The State of the Question," in: G. Kiesel and J. Schroeder (eds.),
Willibrord. Apostel der Niederande, Gründer der Abtei Echternach (Luxembourg, 1990), 127-34.

Images



Paris, BnF, Lat. 10837, f. 34v (source: gallica.bnf.fr)
























Record Created By

Benjamin Savill

Date Last Modified

24/09/2020

Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00000Felix, priest and confessor of NolaFelixCertain
S00008Paul, the ApostlePaulusCertain
S00009Perpetua, Felicitas and their companions, martyrs of CarthageFelicitasUncertain
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristMariaCertain
S00036Peter, the ApostlePetrusCertain
S00061Babylas, bishop and martyr of Antioch, and companionsBabilaCertain
S00097Agnes, virgin and martyr of RomeAgnaCertain
S00098Antony, 'the Great', monk of Egypt, ob. 356AntonusCertain
S00183Hilarius/Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, ob. 367HilarusCertain
S00400Sebastianus, martyr of RomeSebastianusCertain
S00466Timothy, the disciple of Paul the ApostleTimotheusCertain
S00525Felicitas, martyr of Rome, with her sons, buried on the via SalariaFelicitasUncertain
S00846Lucia, virgin and martyr of SyracuseLuciaUncertain
S01156Genovefa/Geneviève, ascetic of Paris, ob. c. 502GenifeuaCertain
S02151Sulpicius, bishop of Bourges, ob. 591SulpicusCertain
S02152Valerius, bishop of Trier, 3rd/4th c.ValerusCertain
S02153Lucia, virgin, perhaps of TrierLuciaCertain
S02154Wilgis, abbot of Northumbria, 7th c.UilgislusCertain


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Benjamin Savill, Cult of Saints, E05840 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E05840