The Calendar of Willibrord records in April the feasts of the following saints:
*Ambrose (bishop of Milan, ob. 397, S00490
*Oethelwald (anchorite of Lindisfarne, 7th c., S02169
*Mark (the Evangelist, S00293
Paris, Bibliothéque nationale de France, Lat. 10837, f. 36
ii natale sancti ambrosi
xi Oedilualdi monachi
viii marci euangelistae
4 - Feast of Saint Ambrose
21 - Oethelwald, monk
24 - Mark the Evangelist
Text: Wilson 1918, 6 (adapted: Wilson's 'first hand' in roman type, 'second hand' in italics, later annotations omitted).
Translation: B. Savill.
Saint NameAmbrose, bishop of Milan, ob. 397 : S00490
Oidilwald, anchorite of Lindisfarne (north-east Britain), seventh century : S02169
Mark the Evangelist : S00293
Saint Name in SourceAmbrosus
Image Caption 1Paris, BnF, Lat. 10837, f. 36 (source: gallica.bnf.fr)
Type of EvidenceLiturgical texts - Calendars and martyrologies
Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex
Evidence not before703
Evidence not after710
Activity not before703
Activity not after710
Place of Evidence - RegionGaul and Frankish kingdoms
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcEchternach
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Echternach
Major author/Major anonymous workThe Calendar of Willibrord
Cult activities - Festivals
SourceA 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.
DiscussionOethelwald (Apr. 21): according to Bede, he was a priest at the monastery of Ripon and later successor to Cuthbert (ob. 687) at the hermitage of Farne (near Lindisfarne). Bede tells us he stayed there for twelve years until his death (Ecclesiastical History, 5.1), which cannot, therefore, have been earlier than 699.
See Wilson, 1918, 26-8, for a full commentary.
The Calendar of St. Willibrord from Paris Lat. 10837: A Facsimile, with Transcription, Introduction and Notes, ed. H.A. Wilson (London, 1918).
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.