THE TWO EWALDS, MM.
SOON after St. Willibrord with eleven companions,
in 690, had opened the spiritual harvest in Friesland, two brothers,
both priests, of the English nation, followed their example, and went
over into the country of the ancient Saxons, in Westphalia in
Germany, to preach the gospel to blind idolaters.† They had
travelled into Ireland to improve themselves in virtue and sacred
learning. Both were called by the same name, Ewald or Hewald; but,
for distinction’s sake, from the color of their hair, the one
was called the Black, the other the White Ewald. The first was
esteemed more learned in the holy scriptures, but both seemed equally
to excel in the fervor of devotion and holy zeal. The old Saxons in
Germany were at that time governed by several petty princes, who in
time of war joined their forces, and cast lots who should command the
army in chief, and him the rest were bound to obey; and, as soon as
the war was over, they were all reduced to their former condition.
The two brothers arriving in this country about the year 694, met
with a certain steward, whom they desired to conduct them to his
lord. All the way they were constantly employed in prayer and in
singing psalms and sacred hymns, and every day offered the sacrifice
of the holy oblation, for which purpose they carried with them sacred
vessels, and a consecrated table for an altar. The barbarians
observing this, and fearing lest the preachers might prevail upon
their lord to forsake his idols, resolved to murder them both. The
White Ewald they killed by the sword upon the spot; but they
inflicted on the other brother most cruel torments, and at length
tore him limb from limb. The lord of the territory being informed of
this inhuman action, was highly incensed, put the authors of it to
the sword, and burned their village. The bodies of the martyrs, which
had been thrown by the murderers into the Rhine, were discovered by a
heavenly light which shone over them, and by other miracles, to their
companions, who were forty miles distant from the place where they
were martyred; and one of them, whose name was Tilmon, or as it is
more correctly written in king Alfred’s paraphrase of Bede,
Tilman, was admonished in a vision to take them up. This Tilman being
a person of high birth, had formerly been an officer in the English
army, but was then a monk, and one of the missionaries in Germany.
These relics were first taken up and interred by their fellow
missionaries, Tilman and his companions, forty miles from the place
of their martyrdom; but, immediately after, by an order of Pepin,
duke of the French, were honorably conveyed to Cologne, where they
are kept at this day in a gilt shrine in the church of St. Cunibert.
Their martyrdom happened between the years 690 and 700, most probably
in 695. They were honored among the saints immediately after their
death, as appears from Ven. Bede’s prose Martyrology, which
seems to have been written a year after their death. St. Anno,
archbishop of Cologne, in 1074, translated their relics in this
church. He bestowed their heads on Frederick bishop of Munster, where
they seem to have been destroyed by the Anabaptists in 1534. They are
honored through all Westphalia as tutelar saints of the country, and
are mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on the 3d of October, which
was probably either the day of their death or of some translation.
See Bede, Hist.1. 5, c. 11, and in his prose Martyrology; Alcuin’s
poem on the saints of the diocese of York, published by Gale, v.
1045; Massini, Vite de Santi, t. 2, p. 232, 3 Oct.