Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Saint Duthac (or Duthus or Duthak) (1000–1065) is the patron saint of Tain in Scotland.

According to the Breviary of Aberdeen, Duthac was a native Scot. Tradition has it that Duthac was educated in Ireland and died in Tain.

A chapel was built in his honor and a sanctuary established at Tain. The great Ferchar mac in tSagairt, first Earl or Mormaer of Ross in the thirteenth century, and was ministered by the Norbertine canons of Fearn Abbey. A century later, this sanctuary was notably breached by English supporters who captured Robert the Bruce's wife and daughter sheltering in the chapel. The chapel was burnt later in political violence between regional power groups, namely the Clan MacKay and the Clan Ross. The ruins of the chapel still exist as a centrepiece of a cemetery along the shores of the Dornoch Firth.

Saint Duthac was greatly venerated in Scotland before the (First) Reformation - Celtic to Catholic - and his memory is still preserved in place names, notably Kilduthie; Arduthie near Stonehaven and Kilduich on the Loch Duich. Tain, where he died and was buried, had the Church built specially in his honour. His death is recorded in "The Annals of Ulster" for the year 1065. After many years his body was found to be incorrupt and his relics were translated to a more splendid shrine at St. Duthus Collegiate Church built between 1370 and 1458. They disappeared in 1560 at the time of the Reformation.

He was known as the Chief Confessor of Ireland and Scotland (Dubtach Albanach) and his saint's feast day is 8 March. His shrine was visited by King James IV, Robert the Bruce and his family, plus many other notables.

Tain was called Baile Dhubhthaich in Scottish Gaelic or Duthac's Town and near it stands St. Duthac's Cairn, although the biennial Fairs called by his name are no longer held in the town.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Wulfstan (c. 1008 – 20 January 1095) (sometimes Wulfstan II, also known as Wolstan, Wulstan and Ulfstan), Bishop of Worcester, was the last surviving pre-Conquest bishop and the only English-born bishop after 1075. Wulfstan is a Christian saint.

His denomination as Wulfstan II is to indicate that he is the second Bishop Wulfstan of Worcester. This, however, does not prevent confusion, since the first Bishop Wulfstan is also called Wulfstan II to denote that he was the second Archbishop of York called Wulfstan. To make matters worse, Wulfstan II, Archbishop of York, was the maternal uncle of Wulfstan II, Bishop of Worcester.

Wulfstan was born about 1008 at Long Itchington in the English county of Warwickshire. His family lost their lands around the time King Cnut of England came to the throne. He was probably named after his uncle, Wulfstan II, Archbishop of York. Through his uncle's influence, he studied at monasteries in Evesham and Peterborough, before becoming a clerk at Worcester. During this time, his superiors, noting his reputation for dedication and chastity, urged him to join the priesthood. Wulfstan was ordained shortly thereafter, in 1038, and soon joined a monastery of Benedictines at Worcester.

Wulfstan served as treasurer and prior of Worcester. When Ealdred, the bishop of Worcester as well as the Archbishop of York, was required to relinquish Worcester by Pope Nicholas, Ealdred decided to have Wulfstan appointed to Worcester. In addition, Ealdred continued to hold a number of the manors of the diocese.Wulfstan was consecrated Bishop of Worcester on 8 September 1062, by Ealdred. It would have been more proper for him to have been consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose province Worcester was in. Wulfstan had deliberately avoided consecration by the current archbishop of Canterbury, Stigand, since Stigand's own consecration had been uncanonical. Wulfstan still acknowledged that the see of Worcester was a suffragan of Canterbury. He made no profession of obedience to Ealdred, instead offering a profession of obedience to Stigand's successor Lanfranc.

Wulfstan was a confidant of Harold Godwinson, who helped secure the bishopric for him.

A social reformer, Wulfstan struggled to bridge the gap between the old and new regimes, and to alleviate the suffering of the poor. He was a strong opponent of the slave trade, and together with Lanfranc, was mainly responsible for ending the trade from Bristol.

After the Norman conquest of England, Wulfstan was the only English-born bishop to retain his diocese for any significant time after the Conquest (all others had been replaced or succeeded by Normans by 1075). William noted that pastoral care of his diocese was Wulfstan's principal interest.

In 1072 Wulfstan signed the Accord of Winchester. In 1075, Wulfstan and the Worcestershire levy put down the rebellion known as 'The Bridal of Norwich' of Ralph de Guader, Earl of Norfolk, Roger de Breteuil, 2nd Earl of Hereford and the Saxon Waltheof, Earl of Northumbria, against William the Conqueror.

Wulfstan founded the Great Malvern Priory, and undertook much large-scale rebuilding work, including Worcester Cathedral, Hereford Cathedral, Tewkesbury Abbey, and many other churches in the Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester areas. After the Norman Conquest, he claimed that the Oswaldslow, a "triple hundred" administered by the bishops of Worcester, was free of interference by the local sheriff. This right to exclude the sheriff was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. Wulfstan also administered the diocese of Lichfield when it was vacant between 1071 and 1072.

As bishop, he often assisted the archbishops of York with consecrations, as they had few suffragan bishops. In 1073 Wulfstan helped Thomas of Bayeux consecrate Radulf as Bishop of Orkney, and in 1081 helped consecrate William de St-Calais as Bishop of Durham.

Wulfstan was responsible for the compilation by Hemming of the second cartulary of Worcester. He was close friends with Robert Losinga, the Bishop of Hereford, who was well known as a mathematician and astronomer.

Wulfstan died 20 January 1095 after a protracted illness, the last surviving pre-Conquest bishop. After his death, an altar was dedicated to him in Great Malvern Priory, next to Cantilupe of Hereford and King Edward the Confessor.

At Easter of 1158, Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine visited Worcester Cathedral and placed their crowns on the shrine of Wulfstan, vowing not to wear them again.

Soon after Wulfstan's death, a hagiography, or saint's life, was written about him in English by his former chancellor Colman. It was translated into Latin by the medieval chronicler and historian William of Malmesbury. Wulfstan was canonized on 14 May 1203 by Pope Innocent III. One of the miracles attributed to Wulfstan was the curing of King Harold's daughter.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Fantinus (Italian: Fantino) (c. 927–1000) was an Italian saint. He is sometimes called Fantinus of Calabria or Fantinus the Younger (Fantino il Giovane) to distinguish him from Fantinus the Wonderworker (or the Elder), an earlier Calabrian saint.

Born in Calabria in a locality described as being the "closest to Sicily", Fantinus was introduced as a child to Saint Elias the Cave-Dweller. Fantinus' parents were named George and Vriena. Fantinus' spiritual education was entrusted to Elias, and Fantinus became a monk at the age of thirteen and worked as a cook and afterwards as a porter. At the age of thirty-three, he became a hermit in the region of Mount Mercurion in the north of Calabria. There, many monasteries and hermitages had been established under the Basilian rule. Fantinus lived a life of extreme asceticism, eating only raw vegetables, and occupying his time copying manuscripts. He also experienced a vision of heaven and hell.

Fantinus lived both as a hermit and as a monk and abbot. He subsequently convinced his aged parents, as well as his two brothers, Luke and Cosmas, and sister Caterina, to enter the monastic life. When he became a hermit, he left his brother Lucas in charge of the monastery for men he had founded. Though a hermit, he often returned from the wild in order to serve as a guide and spiritual teacher to disciples, such as Nilus the Younger and Nicodemus of Mammola.

The monastery he founded was destroyed by Muslim raiders during Fantinus' lifetime. But Fantinus was told by an angel to preach in Greece. He left Calabria with two disciples, Vitalis and Nicephorus. During the voyage, the ship ran out of drinking water. Fantinus is said to have made the sign of the cross over a container filled with seawater and miraculously converted it into drinkable water. Fantinus visited Corinth, Athens, and Larissa, where he lived near the sepulcher of Saint Achillius of Larissa. He lived for four months in a monastery dedicated to Saint Menas near Thessalonica, and then lived outside of the city walls of that city. In Thessalonica itself, he cured the sick and caused a corrupt judge to repent of his sins. He was also given credit for preventing a Bulgarian capture of the city.

Fantinus died in Greece.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim

Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim (Italian: Nicola il Pellegrino; 1075 – 2 June 1094), sometimes Nicholas of Trani, is a saint of the Roman Catholic church. He was born in Steiri in Boeotia, Greece, where his solitary life as a shepherd led him to contemplative spirituality, as part of which he developed the constant repetition of the phrase Kyrie Eleison. This brought him conflict and aggression in populated places, and he suffered much oppression. He died while on pilgrimage in Apulia, where he is venerated particularly in Trani: Trani Cathedral is dedicated to him, and he is the patron saint of the city.

His feast day is 2 June. The annual procession through Trani in his honour is held in the last week of July

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Adalbero of Würzburg

Adalbero of Würzburg (or Saint Adalbero) (c. 1010 – 6 October 1090) was Bishop of Würzburg and Count of Lambach-Wels.

He was the son of Count Arnold II of Lambach in Upper Austria (of the family of the Counts of Formbach) and his wife the Countess Reginlint. He was born around 1010 in Lambach an der Traun. After his studies in the cathedral school at Würzburg Adalbero entered the service of King Henry III, who in 1045 nominated him as successor to Bruno as Bishop of Würzburg.

Bishop Adalbero continued the construction of the new cathedral begun by Bruno and established the "Neumünsterkirche" ("New Minster Church") (built between 1058 and 1063). Significant contributions in the reform of ecclesiastical life are attributed to him. He was in close contact with the reformers at Cluny, Gorze and Hirsau. He brought the monk Egbert from Gorze, who proved extremely effective firstly in bringing about the renewal of Münsterschwarzach Abbey and then, through the spread of the subsequent Münsterschwarzach Reforms, in exerting an influence far beyond it, from Harsefeld Archabbey (de) near Stade in the north to Melk and Lambach (a reformed Benedictine abbey founded by Adalbero himself in the castle of his family) in the south. In 1057 Adalbero re-settled the abbey of St. Peter, Paul and Stephen in Würzburg, until then a college of canons regular, with Benedictines from Münsterschwarzach.

After the death of Henry III, Adalbero intensified his involvement in the councils of the empire and the court and in synods, and gained a reputation as an advisor and mediator. In 1066 in Würzburg he performed the marriage ceremony between Henry IV and Bertha of Savoy. Together with other princes he brokered the Peace of Speyer in 1075.

In the Investiture Controversy which broke out shortly afterwards Adalbero took the side of Pope Gregory VII in opposition to Henry IV. Gregory objected to the practice of the appointment of bishops being vested in territorial princes rather than in the papacy. The Synod of Worms however supported Henry against Gregory's ideas and declared the Pope deposed, whereupon Gregory excommunicated Henry, forcing him to go to the Pope at Canossa to beg for absolution.

Having obtained this, however, the dependency of the bishops on the king was once again reinforced. Adalbero and other princes therefore in 1077 appointed as anti-king Duke Rudolf of Rheinfelden. The citizens of Würzburg however remained loyal to Henry IV and barred Adalbero's return to the city, to which King Henry appointed a series of anti-bishops. Adalbero rejected all attempts at mediation, saying that he would die rather than yield. At the Synod of Mainz in 1085 therefore he was formally deposed and banished.

In 1086 Rudolf of Rheinfelden returned him to Würzburg, but he was soon ejected again. He remained faithful to the pope, and thereafter immersed himself in work at his monastery in Lambach. He was also co-founder of Zwiefalten Abbey in Swabia. On 6 October 1090 he died in Lambach and was buried in the abbey church which he himself had founded and dedicated.

Soon after his death he began to be venerated as a saint in his Austrian home, and his veneration in Münsterschwarzach is evidenced since the 17th century.

In 1883 Pope Leo confirmed Adalbero a saint in the worldwide church. In the "Neumünsterkirche" in Würzburg since 1948 there has been a glass shrine, by Josef Amberg, containing a thighbone of Adalbero as a relic. Also in Würzburg is the neo-Romanesque St. Adalbero's church.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Emma of Lesum

Emma of Lesum or Emma of Stiepel (also known as Hemma and Imma) (ca. 975-980 – 3 December 1038) was a countess popularly venerated as a saint for her good works; she is also the first female inhabitant of Bremen to be known by name.

Emma was born into the Saxon noble family of the Immedinger, descendants of Widukind. She was the daughter of Count Immed (or Imad) from the diocese of Utrecht and also, according to Adam of Bremen, the sister of Meinwerk, Bishop of Paderborn. She married Liudger, a son of the Saxon duke Hermann Billung and brother of Bernard I, Duke of Saxony. Emperor Otto III made the couple a present in 1001 of the Pfalz or palatium in Stiepel (now Bochum-Stiepel), where in 1008 Emma had a church built dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which later became a popular place of pilgrimage. The only child of the marriage was Imad, consecrated Bishop of Paderborn in 1051.

After the early death of her husband by going to Russia and getting a rare sickness. In 1011, Emma withdrew to the estate of Lesum (now Bremen-Burglesum) and with her fortune generously supported Bremen Cathedral, where Unwan, Archbishop of Bremen, was another of her relatives, and granted the cathedral chapter her property at Stiepel with its church. She was portrayed as a great benefactress of the church, and indeed founded a number of churches in the Bremen area, although her greatest care was for the poor.

Emma was later venerated as a saint, although there is no evidence that she was formally ever either beatified or canonised. She was buried in Bremen Cathedral, where her tomb was still to be seen in the 16th century. Her tomb is one of the biggest in the cemetery.

There is a stained glass window of her in the Roman Catholic church of St. John's at Schnoor in Bremen.

Her feast day is 3 December or 17 April, although some sources name 19 April instead. When the tomb was opened, her body had crumbled to dust except for her right hand (the hand that dispensed gifts). That relic was placed in the abbey of Saint Ludger at Werden.

There is a well-known Bremen legend concerning her gift of meadow to the town in 1032. When a delegation of the townspeople approached her with a request for more meadowland, Emma promised them as much meadow as a man could run round in an hour. Her brother-in-law Bernard or Benno, duke of Saxony, with an appraising eye on his inheritance, suggested mockingly that she might as well give them as much land as a man could run round in a day. Emma agreed to this, but Bernard asked to choose the man who was to do the running, and when Emma agreed to that too, picked out a legless cripple past whom they had just walked. This man proved however to have extraordinary strength and endurance and by the end of the day had succeeded in making his way round a very substantial area, bigger even than the present Bremen town meadow.

This story has been current in various forms since at least the 18th century, although there is no documentary evidence for it, and gives a whole new possible meaning to the inclusion of the figure of the "cripple" at the feet of the statue of Bremen Roland.

In Bremen the "Emmasee" (Lake Emma) and a café in the main park are named after Emma, besides streets in the districts of Bremen-Burglesum and Bremen-Schwachhausen.

In Bochum-Stiepel there is a Gräfin-Imma-Strasse (Countess Emma Street), a Countess Emma church (Gräfin-Imma-Kirche), as well as a primary school (Gräfin-Imma-Grundschule) and a kindergarten (Gräfin-Imma-Kindergarten), named after her.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Aspren or Asprenas (Italian: Sant'Asprenato, Sant'Aspreno, Sant'Aspremo) was a 1st-century Christian saint and venerated as the first Bishop of Naples.

Aspren lived at the end of the 1st century and in the early 2nd century, as confirmed by archaeological studies regarding the early Neapolitan Church as well as the fact that "Aspren" was a common name during the days of the Roman Republic and the early years of the Roman Empire and afterwards fell into disuse.

The Marble Calendar of Naples (Calendario Marmoreo di Napoli) attests to Aspren's existence and the fact that he lived during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian; Aspren's episcopate is stated as lasting twenty-three years.

Nothing is known of his life, but an ancient legend holds that Saint Peter, on his way to Rome, stopped at Naples and converted an old woman (identified as Candida the Elder) after he cured her of an illness.

Numerous other converts to Christianity were made during this time in Naples, including Aspren, who was converted either by Peter or Candida herself and who had also been ill.

The legend holds that Peter consecrated Aspren as bishop of Naples and asked him to construct the oratory of Santa Maria del Principio, which would form the basis for the basilica of Santa Restituta; San Pietro ad Aram was also said to have been built during this time.

After Aspren's death, numerous miracles were attributed to him, and his sepulcher rested in the oratory of Santa Maria del Principio, although some scholars state that his sepulcher was located in the Catacombs of San Gennaro, where images of the first fourteen Neapolitan bishops can be found. In any case, John IV, Bishop of Naples translated Aspren's relics to the basilica of Santa Restituta, in the chapel dedicated to Aspren. Aspren was named the second (in 1673) of the large group of more than 50 patron saints of Naples (Saint Januarius is the first).

A silver bust of Aspreno is found in Naples Cathedral. In the city two churches were dedicated to him as well as the chapel of San Aspreno in Naples Cathedral. Bernardo Tesauro would paint frescoes in this chapel.

Born 1st century
Died  2nd century

Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Feast August 3

Patronage  Naples; invoked against migraine