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Welsh Church

In giving separate consideration to the Church of Wales, we follow a practice common among English historical writers and more particularly adopted in the collection of "Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents" of Haddan and Stubbs. There seems, however, no sufficient reason for emphasizing the distinction made by these last authorities between "the British Church during the Roman period" (A.D. 200-450), "the British Church during the period of Saxon Conquest" (A.D. 450-681), and "the Church of Wales " (A.D. 681-1295). The term Welsh Church sufficiently covers these separate headings, though it will be convenient to treat the subject according to the same chronological divisions.

ROMAN PERIOD (200-450)

Both Tertullian (c. 208) and Origen (c. 240) use language that implies that the Gospel had been preached in Britain. The former speaks (Adv. Jud., vii) of "the regions of Britain inaccessible to the Romans but subdued to Christ"; the latter of "the power of our Lord and Saviour which is with those who are separated from our world in Britain" (Hom. vi in Luc., 1, 24). These passages may be somewhat rhetorical, but if we do not press the question of date there is confirmatory evidence for at least some acceptance of Christianity in Roman Britain. To begin with, both Constantius (A.D. 480), in the uninterpolated portions of his Life of St. Germanus of Auxerre, and the British Christian writer Gildas (A.D. 547) speak of the martyrdom of St. Alban during the Roman period. Again in 314 three British bishops from York, London, and probably Lincoln seem to attended the Council of Arles, and British bishops were present, if not at Nicaea (325) and at Sardica (343), yet certainly at Ariminum (359), where the line they adopted drew attention to their nationality. Archaeology also tells us something, if not much, of the presence of Christians in these islands before the close of the Roman period. The Chi-Rho symbol has been found in mosaics and building stones as well as upon miscellaneous objects; the formulae "Vivas in Deo" and "Spes in Deo" with the "Alpha-Omega" occur stamped on rings or pigs of lead, and in particular the excavations at Silchester have brought to light a small building in which antiquaries are agreed in recognizing a Christian basilica. Further, there is the still existing Church of St. Martin's at Canterbury, which according to the testimony of Bede (Hist. Eccl., I, xxvi), and in the opinion of some experts, is of Roman work. (For all which see Haverfield in "English Historical Review", XI, 417-430.) It should be added that certain authorities, e.g. Professor Hugh Williams, maintain that such Christianity as existed in Britain at this early date attached only to the Roman settlements, and that there is no evidence of anything which could be called a native or Cymric Christian Church. The evidence for either view is necessarily inconclusive, but the importance and numerical strength of the Welsh Church in the next period seem to point to the foundations having been laid before the Roman legions were withdrawn. Moreover, towards the close of the Roman period, indeed from early in the fourth century, the literary evidence for an active Christian organization in Britain becomes very strong. The allusion which we find in St. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Athanasius, Sulpicius Severus, etc. (see Haddan and Stubbs, I, 8-16), though slight in themselves, cannot be entirely set aside.

One piece of evidence, however, formerly appealed to by many Catholic controversialists, must now be abandoned. Bede tells us (Hist. Eccl., I, 4) that in the years 156, in the time of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, "while Eleatherus, a holy man, presided over the Roman church, Lucius, King of Britain, sent a letter to him entreating that by his command he might be made a Christian. He soon obtained the fulfillment of his pious request and the Britons preserved the faith which they received, uncorrupted and entire, in peace and tranquility until the time of the emperor Diocletian ". These dates, to which Bede himself did not consistently adhere (cf. De sex aetat., s.m., 180), are impossible, for St. Eleutherus, at earliest, became pope in 171. But, apart from this difficulty, it is now generally admitted, e.g. by Duchesne and Kirsch, that the evidence is inadequate to support so startling a conclusion. Bede's statement is at best derived from the recension of the "Liber Pontificalis" known as the "Catalogus Felicianus", compiled about the year 530, in which we are told that Pope Eleutherus received a letter "a Lucio Britannio rege" asking for Christian instruction. In the earlier recension of the "Liber Pontificalis" the Lucius episode is wanting. Harnack conjectures that this entry arose from a confusion with Lucius Abgar IX of Edessa, who seems about this period to have become a Christian and who in some early document was possibly described as reigning "in Britio Edessenorum", i.e. in the Britium or Birtha (the citadel) of Edessa. At any rate we are told that the Apostle St. Thaddeus, whose connection with Edessa is well known, was buried "in Britio Edessenorum", while it is quite conceivable that the word Britio, if it occurred, may have been mistakenly emended into Britannio and thus have given us a Lucius, King of Britain (see Harnack in the "Sitzungsberichte" of the Berlin Academy, XXVI and XXVII, 1904). This conjecture is by no means certain, but the difficulties against accepting the story of the letter of the supposed Lucius are considerable. Gildas and Aldhelm, who might be expected to refer to the tradition, are both silent, and, although they are equally silent about the mission of St. Germanus, the first introduction of Christianity is a matter of more fundamental interest. The Lucius story is found in Nennius, and Zimmer on that account believes it to have arisen in Britain, but Nennius is a writer of the ninth century and he calls the pope "Eucharistus". Again the name Lucius is not Celtic, a difficulty which Nennius seems to have felt, and he has accordingly celticized the name into "Llever maur, id est, Magni Splendoris", the great light. The impression thus given, that we must be assisting at the evolution of a myth, is much increased by the later developments. William of Malmesbury makes Eleutherus's missionaries, named Phaganus and Deruvianus, found a Church at Glastonbury. Rudborne makes Lucius endow the bishops and monks of Winchester with various lands, while the Triads connect the story directly with Llandaff, where "Lleirwg made the church which was the first in the isle of Britain". Further, somewhere in the eleventh century, as Liebermann has shown, a forger who had distinguished himself in other fields fabricated a letter which is supposed to have been sent by Pope Eleutherus to the British king.

On the other hand, in contrast to this legendary matter, we have the generally accepted fact of the visit twice paid to Britain by St. Germanus of Auxerre , in 429 and 447, with the purpose of confuting the Pelagians, an object which seems to take for granted a Christianity already widely spread. The Life of St. Germanus by Constantius has been interpolated (cf. Lewison in "Neues Archiv", XIX), but much of this account belongs to the primitive redaction and is confirmed by Prosper of Aquitaine. Even the story of the "Alleluia Victory" and of the observance of Lent may be true in substance, and the whole evidence sets before us a state of things in which Christianity was the prevailing and accepted religion. With this agrees all that we know of the heretic Pelagius and of his teaching. He was undoubtedly a monk and it is difficult to believe that he could have adopted the monastic profession anywhere but in the land of his birth. Zimmer has maintained that Pelagius was an Irishman and that his heresy found acceptance in Ireland rather than in Britain. But Zimmer's views have been severely criticized (cf. Williams in "Celtische Zeitschrift", IV, 1903, 527 sq.), and are not commonly admitted. Professor Williams, indeed, as against Conybeare (Cymmrodorion Transactions, 1897-98, 84-117), casts doubt upon the generally heretical character sometimes attributed to British Christianity, and certainly the tone of the writings of Fastidius, described as a " Bishop of the Britons" (c. 420), is such as seems reconcilable with orthodox interpretation.

THE PERIOD OF THE SAXON CONQUEST (A.D. 450-681)

The writings of Gildas, usually assigned to the year 547, throw a fitful and somewhat lurid light upon British Christianity during the earlier part of this period. No doubt something of the gloom of this jeremiad may be due to the idiosyncrasies of the writer. He seems to have belonged entirely by sympathy to the class, which after the departure of the legions, still preserved something of Roman culture. Also it is likely enough that the instability of all institutions, the stress and sufferings of a people continually harried and overmatched by invaders who were relatively barbarian, did produce an age of great moral degeneracy. Thus the vituperation with which Gildas lashes the vices of the Welsh princes and denounces the clergy has very probably serious foundation. But just as the tide of Saxon conquest was more than once checked, as for example by the British victory at the Mons Badonicus in 520, so there is reason to believe that there was a brighter side to the picture of evil and disaster which Gildas paints with a zest which was more a matter of temperament than conviction. The succession of bishops was evidently kept up, as we learn subsequently from the history of St. Augustine. Monastic life at the same epoch would seem to have flourished exceedingly. From the fact that Pelagius, as already noticed, was a monk and that St. Germanus is said to have founded a monastery, it seems probable that some kind of cenobitical life had begun in Britain before the end of the fifth century. Possibly this departure was due to a disciple of St. Martin of Tours who settled in Britain, but more probably the British pilgrims, who, as we learn from St. Jerome, made their way to the East to visit the Holy Land, brought back glowing accounts of what they had witnessed around Jerusalem or in the Egyptian deserts. The strongly Oriental characteristics of the Celtic Rite as a whole are in all probability due to a similar cause. In any case, both such direct testimony as we possess and the parallel case of Ireland point to the practice of asceticism on a vast scale, and it is possible that the very calamities and evils of the times led the more religiously minded of the Britons to take refuge in the monasteries. It is alleged that St. Germanus himself bestowed the priesthood on St. Illtyd, who became the spiritual father of many monks, and who founded the monastery of Llantwit, where saints like St. Samson of Dol and St. Pol de Leon (who both ultimately settled in Brittany) as well as many other teachers of note were afterwards trained. But the whole province of Welsh hagiography is overgrown with legend and with wildly inconsistent conjectures and identifications to an incredible extent. Beyond the name of a few leaders and founders, like Dubritius, believed to have been the first Bishop of Llandaff, David, Bishop of Menevia and patron of Wales, Kentigern, whose chief work was accomplished on the banks of the Clyde, Asaph, who replaced him as bishop of the see which now bears his name, Winefride the martyr and her uncle Beuno, etc., we know nothing practically certain of the age of saints. We are not even sure of the date at which they lived. The object aimed at by the supposed Synods of Llandewi-Brefi (519-) and of Lucus Victoriae (569-), both said to have been convened to suppress Pelagianism, is equally a matter of conjecture. Regarding the spread of monasticism, such a statement as that of the Iolo manuscripts, that at Llantwit "Illtyd founded seven churches, appointed seven companies for each church, and seven halls or colleges for each company and seven "saints" in each hall or college ", does not inspire confidence. Yet we learn from the much safer authority of Bede (Hist. Eccl., II, ii) that at Bangor-is-Coed in A.D. 613 the monastery was divided into seven parts with a superior over each, none of which divisions contained fewer than 300 men. Bede further tells us that when the Northumbrian King Ethelfrith advanced to attack the Britons near Chester these monks of Bangor came out to pray for the success of the arms of their countrymen. When the Welshmen were defeated, the monks, twelve hundred in number, were put to the sword. Bede looked upon the incident as a visitation of xxyyyk.htm">Providence to punish the Britons for rejecting the overtures of St. Augustine, but by the Irish chronicler Tigernach the incident was remembered as "the battle in which the saints were massacred". Undoubtedly the most certain facts in Welsh history at this period are those just referred to, connecting St. Augustine with the Welsh bishops. Pope Gregory the Great twice committed the British Church to the care and authority of St. Augustine and the latter accordingly invited them to a conference upon the matters in which they departed from the approved Roman custom. They asked for a postponement, but at a second conference the seven British bishops present altogether refused to accept Augustine as their archbishop or to conform in the matter of the disputed practices. The points mentioned by Bede prove that the divergences could not have been at all fundamental. No matter of dogma seems to have been involved, but the Britons were accused of using an erroneous cycle for determining Easter, of defective baptism (which may mean, it has been suggested, the omission of confirmation after baptism ), and thirdly of refusing to join with Augustine in any common action for the conversion of the Angles. There were also other peculiarities, as, for example, the form of the tonsure and the sue of only one consecrator in consecrating bishops, as well as the employment of the Celtic Rite in the liturgy ; but all these were matters of discipline only. None the less the failure of all attempts of conciliation was complete and Bede attests that this attitude of hostility on the part of the British bishops lasted down to his own day. It may have been partly as a result of this uncompromising hatred of the Saxons and the Church identified with them, that we read during all this period of a more or less continual emigration of the Britons to Armorica, the modern Brittany. We hear about the year 470 of twelve thousand Britons who came by sea to settle in the country north of the Loire (Jonandes, "Getica", c. 45) and it is only in the sixth century apparently that the north-western regions of Gaul came to be called Britannia. The Gallo-Roman inhabitants of these districts welcomed the fugitives with much charity on account of their common Christianity (Remodus, "Carmina III"), but the Britons requited them but ill, and seem to have behaved with the same ruthless tyranny of might over right which marked the conquests of the Anglo-Saxons in the land from which they had been driven. No doubt, as time went on, the British saints like SS. Samson, Pol de Leon, Malo, Brioc, etc., who emigrated with them, exercised a restraining effect upon the settlers, and the Church in Britanny seems to have been in a flourishing state from the sixth century onwards.

DURING THE SAXON AND NORMAN PERIODS (681-1295)

The last British titular King of Britain is said to have been "Cadwalader the blessed " who, according to the "Brut-y-Tywysogion", "died at Rome in 681 on the twelfth day of May; as Myrrdin had previously prophesied to Vortigern of repulsive lips; and henceforth the Britons lost the crown of he kingdom and the Saxons gained it". This pilgrimage to Rome is, however, generally held to be apocryphal. Possibly there has been some confusion between Cadwalader of Wales and Caedwalla, King of Wessex, who undoubtedly did die in Rome in 689. At a later date, however, journeys of the Welsh princes to Rome became common, that of Cyngen, King of Powys, in 854 being one of he earliest examples. During this whole period the political antagonism between Anglo-Saxons and Welsh seems always to have caused the ecclesiastical relations between the two countries to be strained, though the Welsh accepted the Roman Easter before the end of the eighth century, and though in 871 we hear of a Saxon bishop of St. Davids. No doubt also attempts were made to establish friendly relations. Asser, the famous biographer of King Alfred, was a Welshman who came to the English court in 880, seeking protection from the tyranny of his native sovereigns, sons of Rhodri Mawr. This incident must be typical of many similar cases, and there were times, for example under Eadgar the Peaceable, when some sort of English suzerainty over the principality seems to have been acquiesced to. When Edgar was rowed on the Dee by eight under-kings in 973, five of the eight were Welsh, and this fact is even admitted by a Welsh annalist, the compiler of the "Brut-y-Tywysogion", who, however, transfers the scene of the episode to Caerleon-upon-Usk. To detail the incidents of the six hundred years which preceded the final absorption of Wales politically and ecclesiastically into the English system, which took place in the reign of Edward I, would not be possible here. It must be sufficient to note that even before the close of the Saxon period, various Welsh prelates are alleged to have been consecrated or confirmed by English archbishops, while under the Norman kings a direct claim to jurisdiction over the Welsh Church was made by various archbishops of Canterbury beginning apparently with St. Anselm. The most important matter to notice is that the attempt to claim for the Welsh medieval Church any position independent of Rome is as futile as in the case of England or ireland. Speaking primarily of the days of St. Augustine, the most recent and authoritative historian of Wales remarks: "No theological differences parted the Roman from the Celtic Church, for the notion that the latter was the home of a kind of primitive Protestantism, of apostolic purity and simplicity, is without any historical basis. Gildas shows clearly enough that the Church to which he belonged held the ideas current at Rome in his day as to the sacrifice of the Eucharist and the privileged position of the priest " (J.E. Lloyd, "Hist. of Wales ", I, 173). And this remained true during the centuries which followed, as anyone who acquaints himself with such original sources as the chronicles, the Lives of the Welsh saints and especially the Welsh laws formulated in the Code of Howel the Good (A.D. 928), will readily perceive. In the preface of this same code we read that when the laws were drafted, Howel the Good and his bishops "went to Rome to obtain the authority of the Pope of Rome. And there were read the laws of Howel in the presence of the Pope and the Pope was satisfied with them and gave them his authority" (Haddan and Stubbs, I, 219). In this code religious observations such as the veneration of relics, the keeping of feasts and fasts, confession, Mass, and the sacraments are all taken for granted. The respect shown in the preface for the authority of the Holy See is of special importance. So far as this respect was at any time less prominent, this is due, as J.E. Lloyd points out, to Celtic isolation, and not to any anti-Roman feeling. The Irish missionary Columbanus, "sturdy champion though he was of Celtic independence in matters ecclesiastical ", nevertheless says of the popes : "By reason of Christ's twin Apostles [Peter and Paul] you hold an all but celestial position and Rome is the head of the world's Churches, if exception be made of the singular privilege enjoyed by the place of Our Lord's Resurrection " (Hist. of Wales. I, 173). The rest of St. Columbanus's letter to Pope Boniface IV (613) gives proof of an even more absolute dependence upon the guidance of the Bishops o Rome whom he calls "our masters, the steersmen, the mystic pilots of the ship spiritual". It should perhaps be mentioned that the repudiation of papal supremacy attributed to Dinoth, Abbot of Bangor-is-Coed, is now universally admitted to be a post-Reformation forgery (Haddan and Stubbs, I, 122), and cf. Gougaud, "Les chretientes celtiques", 211). Again the imputation, founded on a passage in the Gwentian text of the "Brut-y-Tywysogion" and suggesting that the obligation of celibacy was rejected on principle by the priests of the Welsh Church, runs counter to all the sounder evidence. Undoubtedly the gravest abuses prevailed in Wales regarding this matter, but in principle clerical celibacy was accepted. The Gwentian text referred to is of no value as evidence; on the other hand the laws of Howel clearly assume that a married priest was subject to penalty; his oath was invalidated (Laws and Institutes of Wales, 595) and his children born subsequent to his priesthood were held illegitimate. "When a clerk takes a wife by gift of kindred, and has a son by her, and afterwards the clerk takes priest's orders, and subsequently, when a priest, has a son by the same woman, the son previously begotten is not to share land with such a son, as he was begotten contrary to the decree " (ib., 217 and 371).

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(MONASTERIUM VINEARUM, AD VINEAS, or WEINGARTENSE). A suppressed Benedictine abbey, near ...

Weis, Nicolaus von

Bishop of Speyer, born at Rimlingen, Lorraine, 8 March, 1796; died at Speyer, 13 December, ...

Weislinger, Johann Nikolaus

Polemical writer, born at Puttlingen in German Lorraine, 1691; died at Kappel-Rodeck in Baden, 29 ...

Weiss, Johann Baptist

Born at Ettenheim, Baden, 17 July, 1820; died at Graz, 8 March, 1899. After completing his ...

Weissenau, Monastery of

(Originally OWE_AUGIA, then MINDERLAU-AUGIA MINOR, and finally WEISSEN AU-AUGIA ALBA or CANDIDA). ...

Weitenauer, Ignatius von

Litterateur, exegete, and Orientalist, born at Ingolstadt, Bavaria, 1 November, 1709; died at ...

Welbourne, Ven. Thomas

Martyred at York, 1 August, 1605. Nothing is known about about this martyr except the scanty ...

Weld

The name of an ancient English family (branches of which are found in several parts of England ...

Weld, Frederick Aloysius

Youngest son of Humphrey Weld, born at Chidcock Manor, Dorset, 1823; died there, 1891. He was ...

Welle, Prefecture Apostolic of

Located in the extreme north of Belgian Congo, Africa, separated by a Decree of the Propaganda ...

Wellington, Archdiocese of

(WELLINGTONIENSIS). Located in New Zealand, originally formed part of the Vicariate of ...

Wells in Scripture

It is difficult for inhabitants of a more humid climate to realize the importance which a country ...

Wells, Ven. Smithin

English martyr, born at Brambridge, Hampshire, about 1536; hanged at Gray's Inn Lane, London, ...

Welser, Bartholomeus

German merchant prince, born at Augsburg, 1488; died at Amberg, near Turkheim, Swabia, 1561. His ...

Welsh Church

In giving separate consideration to the Church of Wales, we follow a practice common among ...

Welsh Monastic Foundations

Few saints of the early British Church, as it existed before the Saxon invasion, are known to ...

Welte, Benedict

Exegete, born at Ratzenried in Würtemberg, 25 November, 1825; died 27 May, 1885. After ...

Wenceslaus, Saint

( Also Vaclav, Vaceslav.) Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at ...

Wendelin of Trier, Saint

Born about 554; died probably in 617. His earliest biographies, two in Latin and two in German, ...

Weninger, Francis Xavier

Jesuit missionary and author, born at Wildhaus, Styria, Austria, 31 October, 1805; died at ...

Wenrich of Trier

German ecclesiastico-polical writer of the eleventh century. He was a canon at Verdun, and ...

Werburgh, Saint

(WEREBURGA, WEREBURG, VERBOURG). Benedictine, patroness of Chester, Abbess of Weedon, ...

Werden

(WERTHINA, WEERDA, WERDENA). A suppressed Benedictine monastery near Essen in Rhenish ...

Werner, Friedrich Ludwig Zacharias

Convert, poet, and pulpit orator, born at Konigsberg, Prussia, 18 November, 1768; died at ...

Wessel Goesport, John

(GANSFORT). A fifteenth-century Dutch theologian, born at Gröningen in 1420; died there ...

Wessenberg, Ignaz Heinrich von

Vicar-General and Administrator of the Diocese of Constance, born at Dresden, 4 November, 1774; ...

Wessobrunn

(WESSOGONTANTUM, AD FONTES WESSONIS). A suppressed Benedictine abbey near Weilheim in Upper ...

West Syrian Rite

The rite used by the Jacobite sect in Syria and by the Catholic Syrians is in its origin ...

West Virginia

A state of the American Union, bounded on the northeast by Pennsylvania and Maryland, on the ...

Westcott, Sebastian

English organist, born about 1524, was a chorister, under Redford, at St. Paul's Cathedral, ...

Westeraas, Ancient See of

(AROSI, AROSIENSIS). Located in Sweden. The Catholic diocese included the lands of ...

Western Schism

This schism of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries differs in all points from the Eastern ...

Westminster Abbey

This most famous of all English abbeys is situated within the precincts of the Royal Palace of ...

Westminster Cathedral

As a national expression of religious faith given by Roman Catholics to England since the ...

Westminster, Archdiocese of

(WESTMONASTERIENSIS). Erected and made metropolitan in 1850, comprises the Counties of ...

Westminster, Matthew of

The name given to the supposed author of a well-known English chronicle, the "Flores Historiarum". ...

Weston, William

Jesuit missionary priest, born at Maidstone, 1550 (?); died at Valladolid, Spain, 9 June, ...

Westphalia

A province of Prussia situated between the Rhine and the Weser. It is bounded on the northwest ...

Wettingen-Mehrerau, Abbacy Nullius of

A Cistercian abbey near Bregenz, Vorarlberg, Austria. The Cistercian monastery of Wettingen ...

Wetzer, Heinrich Joseph

Learned Orientalist, born at Anzefahr in Hesse-Cassel, 19 March, 1801; died at Freiburg in ...

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Wh 23

Wharton, Ven. Christopher

Born at Middleton, Yorkshire, before 1546; martyred at York, 28 March, 1600. He was the second ...

Wheeling, Diocese of

(WHELINGENSIS). Comprises the State of West Virginia except the following counties, which are ...

Whipple, Amiel Weeks

Military engineer and soldier, born at Greenwich, Massachusetts, 1818; died at Washington, D.C., ...

Whitaker, Venerable Thomas

Born at Burnley, Lancashire, 1614; martyred at Lancaster, 7 August, 1646. Son of Thomas ...

Whitbread, Venerable Thomas

( Alias HARCOURT). Born in Essex, 1618; martyred at Tyburn, 30 June, 1679. He was ...

Whitby, Abbey of

(Formerly called Streoneshalh). A Benedictine monastery in the North Riding of Yorkshire, ...

Whitby, Synod of

The Christianizing of Britain begun by St. Augustine in A.D. 597 was carried on with varying ...

White Fathers

(MISSIONARIES OF OUR LADY OF AFRICA OF ALGERIA). This society, known under the name of ...

White, Andrew

Missionary, b. at London, 1579; d. at or near London, 27 Dec., 1656 (O.S.). He entered St. ...

White, Charles Ignatius

Editor, historian, born at Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. 1 February, 1807; died at Washington, ...

White, Edward

Grandfather of Stephen Mallory White , born in County Limerick, Ireland, in the latter part of ...

White, Eustace, Venerable

Martyr, born at Louth, Lincolnshire, in 1560; suffered at the London Tyburn, 10 December, 1591. ...

White, Richard, Venerable

( Vere GWYN). Martyr, born at Llanilloes, Montgomeryshire, about 1537; executed at Wrexham, ...

White, Robert

English composer, b. about 1530; d. Nov., 1574; was educated by his father, and graduated Mus. ...

White, Stephen

Antiquarian and polyhistor; b. at Clonmel, Ireland, in 1574; d. in Galway, 1646. He belonged to a ...

White, Stephen Mallory

American statesman; born at San Francisco , California, 19 January, 1853; died at Los Angeles ...

White, Thomas

( Alias BLACKLOW, BLACLOE, ALBIUS, ANGLUS). Born in Essex, 1593; died in London, 6 July, ...

Whithorn Priory

Located in Wigtownshire, Scotland, founded about the middle of the twelfth century, in the reign ...

Whiting, Blessed Richard

Last Abbot of Glastonbury and martyr, parentage and date of birth unknown, executed 15 Nov., ...

Whitsunday

A feast of the universal Church which commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the ...

Whitty, Ellen

In religion Mary Vincent, born at Pouldarrig near Oylgate, a village seven miles form the town of ...

Whitty, Robert

Born at Pouldarrig near Oylgate, 7 January, 1817; died 1 September, 1895. In 1830 he entered ...

Whitty, Rose

Born at Dublin, Ireland, 24 November, 1831; died 4 May, 1911. Of her two sisters one became a ...

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Wi 121

Wibald

Abbot of Stavelot ( Stablo ), Malmedy, and Corvey, b. near Stavelot in Belgium in 1098; d. ...

Wichita Indians

A confederacy of Caddoan stock, formerly dwelling between the Arkansas River, Kansas, and the ...

Wichita, Diocese of

(WICHITENSIS). Erected in 1887, from the Diocese of Leavenworth . The territory of the new ...

Wichmans, Francis

In religion AUGUSTINE, born at Antwerp, 1596; died 1661. Having finished his classical studies, ...

Widmer, Joseph

Catholic theologian, born at Hohenraim, Lucerne, Switzerland, 15 Aug., 1779; died at ...

Widow

I. Canonical prescriptions concerning widows in the Old Testament refer mainly to the question ...

Widukind

Saxon leader, and one of the heads of the Westphalian nobility. He was the moving spirit in the ...

Widukind of Corvey

Historian who lived in the tenth century in the Benedictine Abbey of Corvey, Germany. He was a ...

Wiener-Neustadt, Diocese of

(NEOSTADTIENSIS). A suppressed see in Lower Austria. Upon the request of Frederick III it was ...

Wiest, Stephan

Member of the Order of Cistercians, b. at Teisbach in Lower Bavaria, 7 March, 1748; d. at ...

Wigand, Saints

( Also rendered VENANTIUS). Three saints of this name are mentioned in the Roman ...

Wigbert, Saint

Companion of St. Boniface, born in England about 675; died at Hersfeld about 746. Positive ...

Wigbod

(WICBODUS, WIGBOLD, WIGBALD). Theological writer of the eighth century. Of his works there is ...

Wigley, George J.

Died in Rome, 20 January, 1866. By profession he was an architect, but subsequently devoted ...

Wilberforce, Henry William

Born at Clapham, 22 September, 1807; died at Stroud, Gloucestershire, 23 April, 1873. He was third ...

Wilberforce, Robert Isaac

Born at Clapham, 19 December, 1802; died at Albano, near Rome, 3 Feb. 1857. He was the second son ...

Wilcannia, Diocese of

(WILCANIENSIS). Located in New South Wales, one of the six suffragan sees of Sydney; consists ...

Wilcox, Robert, Venerable

English martyr, born at Chester, 1558; suffered at Canterbury, 1 October, 1588. He arrived at ...

Wild, Johann

Scriptural commentator and preacher, better known by his Latin name FERUS, b. in Swabia, 1497; d. ...

Wilfrid, Saint

Bishop of York, son of a Northumbrian thegn, born in 634; died at Oundle in Northamptonshire, ...

Wilgefortis

A fabulous female saint known also as UNCUMBER, KUMMERNIS, KOMINA, COMERA, CUMERANA, HULFE, ...

Wilhelm of Herle

Painter, born at Herle in Dutch Limburg at an unknown date in the fourteenth century; time and ...

Wilhelm V

Son of Duke Albrecht V. Born at Munich, 29 September, 1548; died at Schlessheim, 7 February, ...

Wilhering, Cistercian Abbey of

(HILARIA). Situated on the right bank of the Danube, in the Diocese of Linz, Austria. Ulric ...

Will

(Latin voluntas, Greek boúlesis, "willing" German Wille, French volonté ). ...

Will and Testament of Clerics

Roman law allowed clerics to dispose of their property by will or otherwise. Bishops, however, ...

Will, Free

RELATION OF THE QUESTION TO DIFFERENT BRANCHES OF PHILOSOPHY HISTORY Free Will in Ancient ...

Willaert, Adrian

Composer and founder of the Venetian school, b. at Bruges, or, according to other authorities, ...

Willehad, Saint

Bishop at Bremen, born in Northumberland before 745; died at Blecazze (Blexen) on the Weser, 8 ...

Willems, Pierre

Philologist, born at Maastricht, 6 January, 1840; died at Louvain, 23 February, 1898. Following ...

William

Born in Brittany, died at Marmoutiers, 23 May, 1124. For a time he was Archdeacon of Nantes, ...

William

Abbot of Saint-Bénigne at Dijon, celebrated Cluniac reformer, b. on the Island of ...

William Carter, Venerable

English martyr, born in London, 1548; suffered for treason at Tyburn, 11 January, 1584. Son of ...

William Exmew, Blessed

Carthusian monk and martyr ; suffered at Tyburn, 19 June, 1535. He studied at Christ's ...

William Filby, Blessed

Blessed William Filby Born in Oxfordshire between 1557 and 1560; suffered at Tyburn, 30 May, ...

William Hart, Blessed

Born at Wells, 1558; suffered at York, 15 March, 1583. Elected Trappes Scholar at Lincoln ...

William Lacy, Blessed

Born at "Hanton", Yorkshire (probably Houghton or Tosside, West Riding); suffered at York, 22 ...

William of Auvergne

Bishop of Paris, medieval philosopher and theologian. Born at Aurillac in Auvergne towards ...

William of Auxerre

A thirteenth-century theologian and professor at the University of Paris . William's name ...

William of Champeaux

A twelfth-century Scholastic, philosopher, and theologian, b. at Champeaux, near Melun, in the ...

William of Conches

A twelfth-century Scholastic philosopher and theologian, b. about the year 1100. After having ...

William of Digulleville

(DEGULLEVILLE). A French poet of the fourteenth century. Nothing is known of his life, except ...

William of Ebelholt, Saint

(Also called WILLIAM OF PARIS and WILLIAM OF THE PARACLETE.) Died on Easter Sunday, 1203, and ...

William of Gellone, Saint

Born 755; died 28 May, c. 812; was the second count of Toulouse, having attained that dignity in ...

William of Jumièges

(Surnamed CALCULUS.) Benedictine historian of the eleventh century. Practically nothing seems ...

William of Maleval, Saint

(or ST. WILLIAM THE GREAT). Died 10 February, 1157; beatified in 1202. His life, written ...

William of Malmesbury

Born 30 November, about 1090; died about 1143. He was educated at Malmesbury, where he became a ...

William of Moerbeke

Scholar, Orientalist, philosopher, and one of the most distinguished men of letters of the ...

William of Nangis

(GUILHELMUS). A medieval chronicler, who takes his name from the City of Nancy, France. ...

William of Newburgh

Historian, b. at Bridlington, Yorkshire, 1136; d. at Newburgh, Yorkshire, 1198, where he went as ...

William of Norwich, Saint

Born 1132; died 22 March, 1144. On Holy Saturday, 25 March, 1144, a boy's corpse showing signs of ...

William of Ockham

Fourteenth-century Scholastic philosopher and controversial writer, born at or near the village ...

William of Paris, Saint

Abbot of Eskill in Denmark, born 1105; died 1202. He was born of a noble French family, and ...

William of Perth, Saint

(Or ST. WILLIAM OF ROCHESTER). Martyr, born at Perth ; died about 1201. Practically all that ...

William of Poitiers

Norman historian, born of a noted family, at Préaux near Pont Audemer, Normandy, about 1020. ...

William of Ramsey

Flourished about 1219. Nothing is known of his life except that he was a monk of Crowland Abbey ...

William of Sens

A twelfth-century French architect, supposed to have been born at Sens. He is referred to in ...

William of Shoreham

( Or de Schorham.) An English religious writer of the Anglo-Norman period, born at ...

William of St-Amour

A thirteenth century theologian and controversialist, born in Burgundy in the first decades of ...

William of St-Thierry

Theologian and mystic, and so called from the monastery of which he was abbot, b. at ...

William of Turbeville

(TURBE, TURBO, or DE TURBEVILLE). Bishop of Norwich (1146-74), b. about 1095; d. at Norwich ...

William of Tyre

Archbishop of Tyre and historian, born probably in Palestine, of a European family which had ...

William of Vercelli

(Or WILLIAM OF MONTE VERGINE.) The founder of the Hermits of Monte Vergine, or Williamites, ...

William of Ware

(William de Warre, Guard, Guaro, Varro or Varron.) Born at Ware in Herts; the date of his ...

William of Wayneflete

Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England, b. towards the end of the fourteenth century; ...

William of Wykeham

Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of England and founder of Winchester College ; b. between ...

William Perault

(PERAULD, PERALDUS, PERALTUS). Writer and preacher, b. at Perault, France ; d. at Lyons ; ...

William the Clerk (of Normandy)

French poet of the thirteenth century. Nothing is known of his life except that he was a clerk of ...

William the Conqueror

King of England and Duke of Normandy. William was the natural son of Robert, Duke of ...

William the Walloon

Date of birth unknown; d. (probably) 22 Dec., 1089. He became Abbot of St. Arnoul at Metz in ...

William, Blessed

Abbot of Hirschau, monastic reformer, born in Bavaria ; died at Hirschau, 5 July 1091. He ...

William, Saint

(WILLIAM FITZHERBERT, also called WILLIAM OF THWAYT). Archbishop of York. Tradition ...

William, Saint

Bishop of St-Brieuc, born in the parish of St. Alban, Brittany, between 1178 and 1184; died ...

Williamites

There were two minor religious orders or congregations of this name: (1) a Benedictine ...

Willibald and Winnebald, Saints

(WUNIBALD, WYNNEBALD). Members of the Order of St. Benedict, brothers, natives probably of ...

Willibrord, Saint

Bishop of Utrecht, Apostle of the Frisians, and son of St. Hilgis, born in Northumbria, 658; ...

Willigis, Saint

Archbishop of Mainz, d. 23 Feb., 1011. Feast, 23 February or 18 April. Though of humble birth ...

Williram

(WALTRAM, WILTRAM). Scriptural scholar, b. in Franconia (near Worms), Germany ; d. in 1085 at ...

Wilmers, Wilhelm

Professor of philosophy and theology, b. at Boke in Westphalia, 30 January, 1817; d. at ...

Wilmington, Diocese of

(WILMINGTONIENSIS). Erected 3 March, 1868. It includes what is known as the Delmarvia ...

Wilton Abbey

A Benedictine convent in Wiltshire, England, three miles from Salisbury. A first foundation was ...

Wilton, Richard

Died December 21, 1239. He was a medieval scholar of whom little is known except that he was an ...

Wimborne Minster

( Also WIMBURN or WINBURN). Located in Dorsetshire, England. Between the years 705-23 a ...

Wimmer, Boniface

Archabbot, b. at Thalmassing, Bavaria, 14 January, 1809; d. at St. Vincent Archabbey, Beatty, ...

Wimpfeling, Jakob

Humanist and theologian, b. at Schlettstadt, Alsace, 25 July 1450; d. there, 17 Nov., 1528. He ...

Wimpina, Konrad

(WIMINAE, WIMINESIS). Theologian, b. at Buchen in Baden, about 1465; d. at Amorbach in Lower ...

Winchester, Ancient See of

(WINTONIA, WINTONIENSIS). This diocese came into existence in 635 when the great ...

Winckelmann, Johann Joachim

Archaeologist and historian of ancient art, born at Stendal near Magdeburg, in 1717; assassinated ...

Windesheim

An Augustinian monastery situated about four miles south of Zwolle on the Issel, in the Kingdom ...

Winding Sheet of Christ, Feast of the Holy

In 1206 one of the (supposed) Winding Sheets used at the burial of Christ was brought to ...

Windischmann, Friedrich Heinrich Hugo

Orientalist and exegete, b. at Aschaffenburg, 13 December, 1811; d. at Munich, 23 August, ...

Windischmann, Karl Joseph Hieronymus

Philosopher, b. at Mainz, 25 August, 1775; d. at Bonn, 23 April, 1839. He attended the gymnasium ...

Window, Rose

A circular window, with mullions and traceries generally radiating from the centre, and filled ...

Windows in Church Architecture

From the beginning Christian churches, in contrast to the ancient temples, were intended to be ...

Windsor

A town of great antiquity, on the Thames, in Berkshire, England ; quaintly rendered Ventus ...

Windthorst, Ludwig

Born near Osnabrück, 17 January, 1812; died 14 March, 1891. He came from a family of ...

Wine, Altar

Wine is one of the two elements absolutely necessary for the sacrifice of the Eucharist. For valid ...

Winefride, Saint

Born at Holywell, Wales, about 600; died at Gwytherin, Wales, 3 Nov., 660. Her father was ...

Wingham, Thomas

Born in London, 5 January, 1846; died there, 24 March, 1893. He studied music at Wylde's London ...

Winnebago Indians

A tribe of Siouan stock closely related in speech to the Iowa, Missouri, and Oto, and more ...

Winnebald and Willibald, Saints

(WUNIBALD, WYNNEBALD). Members of the Order of St. Benedict, brothers, natives probably of ...

Winnoc, Saint

Abbot or Prior or Wormhoult, died 716 or 717. Three lives of this saint are extant: the best of ...

Winona, Diocese of

(WINONENSIS). Established in 1889, suffragan of St. Paul, comprises the following counties in ...

Winslow, Jakob Benignus

(WINSLOW). Physician and anatomist, b. at Odense, Denmark, 27 April, 1669; d. in Paris, 3 ...

Winwallus, Saint

Abbot of Landevennec; d. 3 March, probably at the beginning of the sixth century, though the ...

Winzet, Ninian

Benedictine abbot and controversial writer, b. at Renfrew, Scotland, 1518; d. at Ratisbon, 21 ...

Wipo

(WIPPO). Apparently a native of Burgundy, lived in the first half of the eleventh century. He ...

Wireker, Nigel

Satirist, lived about 1190. He describes himself as old in the "Speculum Stultorum", which was ...

Wirt, Wigand

Theologian, born at Frankfort about 1460; died at Steyer, 30 June, 1519. He entered the ...

Wisconsin

Known as the "Badger State", admitted to the Union on 29 May, 1848, the seventeenth state ...

Wisdom, Book of

One of the deutero-canonical writings of the Old Testament, placed in the Vulgate between the ...

Wisdom, Daughters of

(LES FILLES DE LA SAGESSE). Founded at Poitiers by Blessed Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort ...

Wise Men (Magi)

(Plural of Latin magus ; Greek magoi ). The "wise men from the East" who came to adore ...

Wiseman, Nicholas Patrick

Cardinal, first Archbishop of Westminster ; b. at Seville, 2 Aug., 1802; d. in London, 15 ...

Witchcraft

It is not easy to draw a clear distinction between magic and witchcraft. Both are concerned with ...

Witness

One who is present, bears testimony, furnishes evidence or proof. Witnesses are employed in ...

Witt, Francis Xavier

Reformer of church music, founder of the St. CeciliaSociety for German-speaking countries, ...

Wittenberg

The city is in Prussian Saxony and was founded by Albert the Bear (d. 1170). He had conquered ...

Wittman, George Michael

Bishop-elect of Ratisbon, b. near Pleistein, Oberpfalz, Bavaria, 22 (23?) Jan., 1760; d. at ...

Wittman, Patrizius

Catholic journalist, b. at Ellwanger, Würtemberg, 4 January, 1818; d. at Munich, 3 ...

Witzel, Georg

(WICELIUS). Theologian, b. at Vacha, Province of Hesse, 1501; d. at Mainz, 16 Feb., 1573. He ...

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Wl 1

Wladislaw, Diocese of

(Polish WLOCLAWEK; Latin VLADISLAVIENSIS ET POMERANLAE). The historical origin of this ...

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Wo 23

Wolff, George Dering

Editor, b. at Martinsburg, West Virginia , 25 Aug., 1822; d. at Norristown, Pennsylvania, 29 ...

Wolfgang, Saint

Bishop of Ratisbon (972-994), born about 934; died at the village of Pupping in upper Austria, ...

Wolfram von Eschenbach

Generally regarded as the greatest of Middle-High-German epic poets, date of birth unknown; d. ...

Wolgemut, Michael

Painter and engraver, b. at Nuremberg, 1434; d. there, 1519. He was the most prominent artist of ...

Wolowski, Louis-François-Michel-Reymond

Born at Warsaw, 31 Aug., 1810; d. at Gisors, Eure, 15 Aug., 1876. His father, a member of the ...

Wolsey, Thomas

Cardinal, Archbishop of York, b. at Ipswitch, the usually accepted date, 1471, being probably ...

Wolstan, Saint

Benedictine, and Bishop of Worcester, b. at Long Itchington, Warwickshire, England, about 1008; ...

Woman

Of late years the position of woman in human society has given rise to a discussion which, as part ...

Wood, Thomas

Priest and confessor, b. about 1499; d. in Wisbech Castle before 1588. After being prebendary ...

Wood-Carving

In general, the production from wood of objects of trade or art by means of sharp instruments, as ...

Woodcock, Venerable John

English Franciscan martyr, b. at Leyland, Lancashire, 1603; suffered at Lancaster, 7 August, ...

Woodhead, Abraham

Born at Almonbury, Yorkshire, about March, 1609; died at Hoxton, Middlesex, 4 May, 1678. This ...

Woodhouse, Blessed Thomas

Martyr who suffered at Tyburn 19 June, 1573, being disembowelled alive. Ordained in Mary's ...

Woods, Julian Edmund Tenison

Priest and scientist, b. at Southwark, London, 15 Nov., 1832; d. at Sydney, New South Wales, 7 ...

Worcester, Ancient Diocese of

(WIGORNIENSIS.) Located in England, created in 680 when, at the Synod of Hatfield under ...

Words (in Canon Law)

To give the right value to words is a very important factor in the proper interpretation of ...

World, Antiquity of the

Various attempts have been made to establish the age of the world. Two groups of scientists have ...

Wormwood

( Hebrew la'anah .) Wormwood, known for its repulsive bitterness ( Jeremiah 9:15 ; 23:15 ; ...

Worship, Christian

NOTION AND CHARACTERISTICS The word worship (Saxon weorthscipe , "honour"; from worth , ...

Worsley, Edward

Born in Lancashire, England, 1605; died at Antwerp, 2 Sept., 1676. He is said to have been ...

Worthington, Thomas, D.D.

Third President of Douai College , b. 1549 at Blainscough Hall, near Wigan, Lancashire; d. at ...

Wounds, The Five Sacred

Devotion The revival of religious life and the zealous activity of St. Bernard and St. ...

Wouters, G. Henry

Historian, b. at Oostham, Belgian Limburg, 3 May, 1802; d. 5 January, 1872. In 1829 he became ...

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Wr 2

Wright, Venerable Peter

Martyr, b. at Slipton, Northamptonshire, 1603; suffered at Tyburn, 19 May, 1651. After spending ...

Wright, William

Born at York, 1562; died 18 Jan., 1639. Though he came late (23) to his studies, he then made ...

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Wu 2

Wulfen, Franz Xaver Freiherr von

Botanist, b. at Belgrade, 5 November, 1728; d. at Klagenfurt, 17 March, 1805. He was the son of ...

Wulfram, Saint

(VULFRAMNUS.) Bishop of Sens, missionary in Frisi, born at Milly near Fontainebleau, probably ...

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Wy 5

Wyart, Théophile-Louis-Henri

(In religion DOM SEBASTIAN). Abbot of Cîteaux and Abbot-General of the Order of ...

Wyche, Saint Richard de

Bishop and confessor, b. about 1197 at Droitwich, Worcestershire, from which his surname is ...

Wyclif, John

(WYCLIFFE, or WICLIF, etc.). Writer and "reformer", b. probably at Hipswell near Richmond, ...

Wyntoun, Andrew of

Scottish chronicler, born (as we know from the internal evidence of his writings) in the reign ...

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