Friday 3 October 2014

Saints Hewald the Dark and Hewald the Fair, October 3

October 3 is the commemoration of two of the Saxon saints who came to study in Ireland, the brothers Hewald, one of dark colouring and the other of fair. They joined in the great missionary endeavour to convert their continental kinsmen and met a martyr's death. The summary of their lives below, taken from Father Richard Stanton's Menology of England and Wales, ends with the translation of the relics of the Saints Hewald to Cologne, alas I seem to remember reading somewhere that their shrine disappeared in 1945:

At Cologne and elsewhere, the commemoration of the two Brothers HEWALD, Martyrs and Priests, who died at the hands of the pagans, to whom they came to preach the Gospel of Christ.

These two brothers were priests and Englishmen by birth, though they had lived long in Ireland as voluntary exiles, in order to their spiritual profit. They were known as the Black and White Hewald, from the difference in their hair, but no other names are given to them. They were both distinguished for their piety, but the elder is said to have been more learned in the Sacred Writings. These holy priests were attracted by the example of St. Willibrord and his companions, and, urged by a like zeal for souls, set off to preach the Gospel to the Old Saxons on the Continent. They took up their station at some place in Westphalia, and were kindly received in the house of a farmer, and immediately sent a message to ask for an audience of the lord of the district. While they were expecting an answer, they were constant in their prayers and psalmody, and daily offered the Holy Sacrifice on the portable altar, which they had brought with them. This led the inhabitants of the place to suspect that they had come to teach a new religion, and, fearing lest they should be favourably received by their ruler, they at once fell upon them and put them to death. The White Hewald was killed with the blow of a sword, but the other brother was reserved for many torments. The bodies of the Martyrs were then thrown into the Rhine. The murderers soon paid the penalty of their misdeed, as their lord was greatly displeased with their barbarous act, and ordered them all to be put to death.

Miraculous events showed how precious was the death of the two brothers in the sight of God. One of them appeared in a vision to an English monk of the name of Tilman, settled in the neighbouring country, and told him to seek their bodies where a light from heaven should point out the spot. This he accordingly did, and buried the sacred remains with great reverence. Shortly afterwards the great Pepin ordered them to be translated to the city of Cologne, when they were placed in the Church of St. Cuniberht.

R. Stanton, A Menology of England and Wales (London, 1892), 473-4.

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