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E05853: The Calendar of Willibrord, in its earliest version, records the feasts of various saints in March. Written in Latin at Echternach, Frisia (north-east Gaul), 703/710.

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posted on 2018-06-22, 00:00 authored by bsavill
The Calendar of Willibrord records in March the feasts of the following saints:

*Donatus (perhaps a martyr of North Africa, S01928)
*Perpetua and Felicitas (martyrs of Carthage, S00009)
*Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103)
*Gregory ('the Great,' bishop of Rome, ob. 604, S00838)
*Eugenia (martyr of Nicomedia, S02168)
*Patrick (missionary and bishop of Ireland, 5th c., S01962)
*Cuthbert (bishop and anchorite of Lindisfarne, ob. 687, S01955)
*Benedict (monk of Nursia, ob. 547, S01727)
*James ('brother of the Lord', S00058)

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

Kalendas marti donati
vi nonas
nonas perpetuae et felicitatis
vii xl martyrum
iiii sancti grigori rome
xvii eugeniae uirginis in nicomedia
xvi sancti patrici episcopi in scotia
xiii sancti cuthberti episcopi
xii benedicti abbatis
viii dominus crucifixus est et sancti iacobi fratris domini
vi resurrectio domini
iiii ordinatio grigori papae

'1 March - Donatus
7 - Perpetua and Felicitas
9 - Forty Martyrs
12 - Saint Gregory at Rome
16 - Saint Eugenia in Nicomedia
17 - Saint Patrick, bishop in Ireland
20 - Saint Cuthbert, bishop
21 - Benedict, abbot
25 - The Lord is crucified, and Saint James, brother of the Lord
27 - Resurrection of the Lord
29 - Ordination of Pope Gregory

Text: Wilson 1918, 5 (adapted: Wilson's 'first hand' in roman type, 'second hand' in italics, later annotations omitted).
Translation: B. Savill.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Donatus, Justus, Herena and companions, martyrs in Roman Africa during Decius, ob. 250 : S01928 Perpetua, Felicitas and their companions, martyrs of Carthage : S00009 Forty Martyrs of Sebaste : S00103 Gregory I, 'the Great', bishop of Rome, ob. 60

Saint Name in Source

Donatus Perpetua, Felicitas xl martyrum Grigorus Eugenia Patricus Cuthbertus Benedictus Iacobus frater Domini

Image Caption 1

Paris, BnF, Lat. 10837, f. 35v (source:

Type of Evidence

Liturgical texts - Calendars and martyrologies Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Echternach Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Major author/Major anonymous work

The Calendar of Willibrord

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast


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.


Donatus (Mar. 1): Wilson identifies him as one of the group of North African martyrs, who also appear in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum. Forty Martyrs (Mar. 9): a later hand adds for March 11, 'The Forty Martyrs in the city of Sebaste, by ice and fire' (xl martyrum in sebasten ciuitate gelo et igne), possibly meant as a correction for this entry. Eugenia (Mar. 16): Wilson suggests she is the same Eugenia listed among a number of martyrs of Nicomedia on the same day in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (E04718). Ordination of Pope Gregory (Mar. 12): his consecration as pope is understood to have taken place on September 3, so it is unclear to what event this refers, assuming it is not simply an error. See Wilson, 1918, 22-6, for a full commentary.


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), 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.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity