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Updated:  Aug 12, 2013
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Willibald and Winnebald, Saints

Of the Order of St. Benedict, brothers, natives probably of Wessex in England, the former, first Bishop of Eichstatt, b. on Oct. 21, 700 (701); d. on July 7, 781 (787)

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Errata* for Willibald and Winnebald, Saints:

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.

Willibald and Winnebald (WUNIBALD, WYNNEBALD), SAINTS, of the Order of St. Benedict, brothers, natives probably of Wessex in England, the former, first Bishop of Eichstatt, b. on October 21, 700 (701); d. on July 7, 781 (787); the latter, Abbot of Heidenheim, b. in 702; d. on 18 (19) December, 761. They were the children of St. Richard, commonly called the King; their mother was a relative of St. Boniface. Willibald entered the Abbey of Waltham in Hampshire at the age of five and was educated by Egwald. He made a pilgrimage to Rome in 722 with his father and brother. St. Richard died at Lucca and was buried in the Church of St. Frigidian. After an attack of malaria Willibald started from Rome in 724 with two companions on a trip to the Holy Land, passed the winter at Patara, and arrived at Jerusalem on November 11, 725. He then went to Tyre, to Constantinople, and in 730 arrived at the Abbey of Monte Cassino, after having visited the grave of St. Severin of Noricum near Naples. In 740 he was again at Rome, whence he was sent by Gregory III to Germany. There he was welcomed by St. Boniface, who ordained him on July 22, 741, and assigned him to missionary work at Eichstatt. Possibly the ordination of Willibald was connected with Boniface's missionary plans regarding the Slays. On October 21, 741 (742), Boniface consecrated him bishop at Sulzenbrucken near Gotha. The Diocese of Eichstatt was formed a few years later.

Winnebald had, after the departure of his brother for Palestine, lived in a monastery at Rome. In 730 he visited England to procure candidates for the religious state and returned the same year. On his third visit to Rome, St. Boniface received a promise that Winnebald would go to Germany. Winnebald arrived in Thuringia on November 30, 740, and was ordained priest. He took part in the Concilium Germanicum, April 21, 744 (742), was present at the Synod of Liptine, March 1, 745 (743), subscribed Pepin's donation to Fulda, 753; joined the League of Attigny in 762; and subscribed the last will of Remi-gius, Bishop of Strasburg. With his brother he founded the double monastery of Heidenheim in 752;Winnebald was placed as abbot over the men, and his sister, St. Walburga, governed the female community. Winnebald's body was found incorrupt eighteen years after his death. His name is mentioned in the Benedictine Martyrology. Willibald blessed the new church of Heidenheim in 778. His feast occurs in the Roman Martyrology on July 7, but in England it is observed by concession of Leo XIII on July 9. A costly reliquary for his remains was completed in 1269.


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