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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 February. Written in Latin at Echternach, Frisia (north-east Gaul), 703/710.

Evidence ID

E05852

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 February the feasts of the following saints:

*Dionysius (probably the bishop and martyr of Paris, S00349)
*Polycarp (bishop and martyr of Smyrna, S00004)
*Brigit (abbess of Kildare, 6th c., S01885)
*Symeon (elder of the temple of Jerusalem, S00285)
*Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794)
*Amandus (bishop and martyr of Maastricht, ob. c. 675, S00735)
*Eoda (priest, perhaps of Northumbria, 7th c., S02170)
*Castrensis (martyr of Castel Volturno near Capua, 5th c., S01911)
*Valentinus (martyr of Rome, S00433)
*Juliana (martyr of Nicomedia, buried at Pozzuoli/Cumae, S01162)
*Wilfrid (priest, perhaps of Northumbria, 7th c., S02170)
*Swithred (priest, perhaps of Northumbria, 7th c., S02170)
*Peter (the Apostle, $S00036)


Paris, Bibliothéque nationale de France, Lat. 10837, f. 35

Kalendas februari dionisi policarpi et brigidę uirginis
iiii nonas sancti symeonis patriarchae
iii
ii
i nonas sanctae agathe
viii idus sancti amandi
vii
vi
v ęuda presbyter
iiii
iii
castrensi martyris
ii
idus
xvi kalendas marti
romae ualentini martyris
xv
xiiii natale sanctae iulianae
xiii uilfridi presbyteri
xii
xi suidredi presbyteri
x
viiii
viii cathedra petri in antiocha
uernus dies xci
vii
vi
hic bisextus ponitur
v
iiii
iii
ii


'1 February - Dionysius, Polycarp, and Brigit, virgin.
2 - Saint Symeon, patriarch
3
4
5 - Saint Agatha
6 - Saint Amandus
7
8
9 - Eoda, priest
10
11 -
Castrensis, martyr
12
13
14 -
At Rome, Valentinus, martyr
15
16 - Feast of Saint Juliana
17 - Wilfrid, priest
18
19 - Swithred, priest
20
21
22 - Chair of Peter in Antioch
91 days of spring
23
24 -
The bisextile is placed here
25
26
27
28'

Text: Wilson 1918, 4 (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

Amandus (Feb. 6): Willibrord's predecessor as missionary bishop to the Frisians. His feast would have been of obvious significance to the Echternach community.

Eoda (Feb. 9), Wilfrid (Feb. 17), Swithred (Feb. 19): Wilson's commentary suggests these are 'probably notes of obits' rather than saints' feasts, presumably since those named are otherwise unidentifiable. But we simply know too little about pre-700 Insular and missionary cult to distinguish confidently between those the
Calendar's compilers considered 'saints' and other notable dead.

See Wilson, 1918, 21-22, 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. 35 (source: gallica.bnf.fr)
























Record Created By

Benjamin Savill

Date Last Modified

26/06/2019

Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00004Polykarpos/Polycarp, bishop and martyr of Smyrna, and his companion martyrsPolicarpusCertain
S00036Peter, the ApostlePetrusCertain
S00285Symeon (the God-receiver), elder of the temple of Jerusalem SymeonCertain
S00349Dionysius/Denis, bishop and martyr of Paris, and his companions Rusticus and EleutheriusDionisusUncertain
S00433Valentinus, priest and martyr of RomeUalentinusCertain
S00735Amandus, bishop and martyr of Maastricht, ob. c. 675AmandusCertain
S00794Agatha, virgin and martyr of CataniaAgathaCertain
S01162Iuliana/Juliana, martyr of Nicomedia, buried at Pozzuoli/CumaeCertain
S01885Brigit, abbess of Kildare, 6th c.BrigidaCertain
S01911Castrensis, martyr of Castel Volturno near Capua, 5th c.CastrensisCertain
S02170Lesser known English saints in the Calendar of Willibrord, perhaps of Northumbria, 7th c. Ęuda, Uilfridus, SuidredusCertain


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Benjamin Savill, Cult of Saints, E05852 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E05852