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E05856: The Calendar of Willibrord, in its earliest version, records the feasts of various saints in June. 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, Bryan
The Calendar of Willibrord records in June the feasts of the following saints:

*Erasmus (bishop of Antioch and martyr of Formia, S00867)
*Barnabas (apostle and companion of Paul, S00786)
*Columba (abbot of Iona, ob. 597, S02167)
*Vitus (probably the martyr of Lucania and Rome, S00599)
*Nicander (probably the saint of Rome, $00788)
*Gervasius and Protasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313)
*James (the Apostle, son of Alphaeus, S01801)
*John the Baptist (S00020)
*Iohannes and Paulus (martyrs of Rome under the emperor Julian, S00384)
*Leo (probably Leo I, bishop of Rome, ob. 461, S00423; or possibly Leo II, bishop of Rome, ob. 683, S00875)
*Peter (the Apostle, S00036)
*Paul (the Apostle, S00008)

Paris, Bibliothéque nationale de France, Lat. 10837, f. 37

Kalendas iuni
iiii nonas erasmi martyris
vi natale barnabae apostoli
v sancti columcillae
xviii kalendas iuli
xvii sancti uiti martyris
xv sancti nicandri martyris
xiii natale gerbassi et protasi
x iacobi alphei et dcccclxxviiii
viii natiuitatis iohannis babtistae
vi iohannis et pauli
iiii sancti leo papae
iii petri et pauli rome et dcccclxxxvii

'1 June
2 - Erasmus, martyr
8 - Feast of Barnabas the Apostle
9 - Saint Columba
15 - Saint Vitus, martyr
17 - Saint Nicander, martyr
19 - Feast of Gervasius and Protasius
22 - James, son of Alphaeus, and 979 companions
24 - Nativity of John the Baptist
26 - Iohannes and Paulus
28 - Saint Leo, pope
29 - Peter and Paul at Rome, and 987 companions

Text: Wilson 1918, 8 (adapted: Wilson's 'first hand' in roman type, 'second hand' in italics, later annotations omitted).
Translation: B. Savill.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Erasmus, bishop of Antioch and martyr of Formia (Italy), ob. c. 303 : S00867 Barnabas, apostle and companion of *Paul the Apostle, ob. c. 61 : S00786 Columba, abbot of Iona (north-west Britain), ob. 597 : S02167 Vitus, martyr in Lucania (Southern

Saint Name in Source

Erasmus Barnabas Columcilla Vitus Nicander Gerbassus et Protasus Iacobus Alphei Iohannes Babtista Iohannes et Paulus Leo Leo Petrus Paulus

Image Caption 1

Paris, BnF, Lat. 10837, f. 37 (source: gallica.bnf.fr)

Type of Evidence

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



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.


Pope Leo (June 28): Wilson notes that although this date would in time come to be observed as the feast day of Leo II, the original entry may in fact refer to the translation of Leo I (whose feast was otherwise kept on April 11), as suggested by a later hand adding trans to the notice. Leo's translation took place in 688, under the direction of Pope Sergius I, a patron of Willibrord (see E01729). See Wilson, 1918, 31-3, 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), 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.