Πέμπτη, 29 Μαρτίου 2012
Saint Willibrord, Apostle of the Frisons, of Holland, Zeeland, Flanders and Brabant(739+)
The Saint was born in Northumbria in England around 638. At the age of seven he was sent to the monastery at Ripon for education under St Wilfrid (April 24), the abbot.
At the age of twenty he travelled to Ireland to live among the holy monks of that land; he spent twelve years there as the spiritual child of St Egbert (also April 24).
In 690 St Egbert sent Willibrord as head of a company of twelve monks to take the Gospel to the pagan lands around Frisia.
The holy missionary first went to Rome to receive the blessing of Pope Sergius, then with his fellow-monks preached the Gospel throughout Holland and Zeeland.
In 695 Pope Sergius consecrated Willibrord Archbishop of Utrecht, instructing him to organize the Church throughout that area.
As Archbishop, Willibrord continued to labor tirelessly for the spread of the Gospel in those pagan lands; his missionary travels took him as far as Denmark.
He reposed in peace in 739 at Echternach Monastery (located in present-day in Luxembourg), having served for forty-four years as a bishop and for most of his life as a monastic. His tomb soon became a place of pilgrimage.
Kontakion, First Tone
With wreaths of praise let us crown the glorious Willibrord as a luminary who shone forth, a herald who proclaimed the glad tidings of the triune God, an unshakable pillar of the Orthodox Church, and the merciful intercessor for the Low Lands, who abolished the demonic worship of idols therein, and who prayeth to Christ God, that He grant our souls peace and great mercy.
Thou shonest forth in a heathen land as a beacon of holiness, a brilliant lamp of grace, a light shining in the wilderness with the grace of God; wherefore, we who honor thy memory cry aloud unto thee: Rejoice, O holy hierarch, who didst increase in sanctity from thy youth; rejoice, thou who wast vigilant in all things with a good conscience! Rejoice, O most lauded luminary of Christ; rejoice, thou who didst teach all to keep the commandments of God! Rejoice, thou who didst shine forth like the sun, from the West even unto the North; rejoice, thou who, seeing the Frisians languishing in demonic idolatry, didst piously yearn for their conversion to the Faith of Christ! Rejoice, O ever-memorable wonderworker; rejoice, healer of souls and bodies! Rejoice, O Willibrord who art unceasing in thine entreaties to the Lord, that He grant our souls peace and great mercy!