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.
missionary first went to Rome to receive the blessing of
Pope Sergius, then with his fellow-monks preached the Gospel
throughout Holland and Zeeland.
Pope Sergius consecrated Willibrord Archbishop of Utrecht,
instructing him to organize the Church throughout that area.
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.
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.
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!