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Two Ewalds Martyrs

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Two Ewalds Martyrs saint of the day October 3

 

 

Two Ewalds Martyrs

 

October 3

 

 

The Ewalds were Anglo-Saxon brothers from Northumbria and both were priests. Both of them being equally fervent and zealous, they could be differentiated largely by the colour of their hair one was called Black Ewald, and was learned in the Holy Scriptures, the other, White Ewald.

 

Having specialized in sacred learning and in eloquence in Ireland, they went over to the country of old Saxony in Westphalia in 604 to preach the Gospel, after the example of St Willibrord who opened the spiritual harvest in Friesland. There they were met by a certain official, whom they desired to conduct them to his lord, because they had tidings for his advantage. The man invited them into his house and kept them there for several days. The missionaries passed the time in prayer, singing psalms and hymns, and every day offered the sacrifice of the Mass.

 

But the local pagans, observing this, feared that the preachers might prevail on their chief to forsake their gods and religion, and thus resolved to murder them both. They felled White Ewald with one blow of the sword and tortured Black Ewald before slaying him. But when the Lord of the territory heard of what had happened, he was furious and had the murderers put to death and their villages burnt for their failure to report the two strangers to him and for having taken the law into their own hands.

 

According to the accounts of St Bede, the bodies of the martyrs which had been thrown into the Rhine were discovered by their companions aided by the glow of a heavenly light that shone over their bodies. They were at once honoured as martyrs; and in the time of Pepin, they were taken up to Cologne and enshrined in the church of St Clement now renamed St Cunibert, where they still are. They are venerated as the Patrons of Westphalia.

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