medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Willibald (d. 787?), the first bishop of Eichstätt, was a son of St. Richard of England (this anachronistic name is conventional) and the brother of St. Wynnebald (also Winnebald, Wunibald) and of St. Walburg (also Walburga, Walburgis, Walpurgis). Our chief source for him is his late eighth-century Vita (BHL 8931) by the nun Hugeburc (also Huneburc) of Heidenheim, often called her _Hodoeporicon_ of Willibald. This proffers a Latin-language version of Willibald's oral account, presumably given in Anglo-Saxon (his native tongue and hers), of his journey from Wessex to Rome and the Holy Land and back to Italy in the years 720-729. A twelfth-century Vita from Eichstätt (BHL 8932) is based on Hugeburc but adds matter seemingly from diocesan tradition whose reliability is not always easy to gauge.
On his return to Italy Willibald became a monk at the abbey of St. Benedict at Montecassino during the rule of its second founder, St. Petronax. In 739 pope St. Gregory III ordered him to Germany to assist St. Boniface in his mission. Willibald arrived in 740, was ordained priest by Boniface in that year, and was raised to the episcopate in 741. Though Boniface may have intended that Willibald operate from Erfurt, Willibald instead moved on to Eichstätt where he founded a monastery organized according to his experience of Montecassino and assisted his brother Wynnebald's foundation of the monastery at Heidenheim in what later would be the diocese of Eichstätt. He was at Wynnebald's deathbed in 761. In the following year he is recorded as _Willibaldus episcopus de monasterio Achistadi_. Documentation of Willibald's cult (including an Elevatio said to have occurred in 989) is lacking until the eleventh century. A better documented Elevatio took place in 1256.
Today is Willibald's feast day in the diocese of Eichstätt and his day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology.
Here's a link to an English-language translation of Hugeburc's _Hodoeporicon_ of Willibald:
Some period-pertinent images of St. Willibald:
a) as depicted (at upper left) in the later eleventh-century Pontifical of bishop Gundekar II (Diözesanarchiv Eichstätt, Codex B 4, fol. XVI a):
An expandable grayscale view of the same page:
b) as depicted in an early fourteenth-century fresco (ca. 1310-1313) in the Wehrkirche St. Vitus in Kottingwörth, a locality of Beilngries (Lkr. Eichstätt) in Bavaria:
c) as portrayed in a fifteenth-century polychromed and gilt wooden statue in the Pfarrkirche St. Walburga in Beilngries (Lkr. Beilngries) in Bavaria:
d) as portrayed in a fifteenth-century polychromed and gilt wooden statue in Eichstätt's Dom St. Salvator, Unserer Lieben Frau, und St. Willibald:
e) as depicted in an embroidered roundel on the later fifteenth-century Rationale of bishop Johann III. von Eych (1445-1464) in the Diözesanmuseum in Eichstätt:
The other roundel (barely visible in the first view) depicts St. Boniface. In a diocesan legend not documented before the earlier fourteenth century Boniface is said to have given, as mark of his special esteem, a rationale to Willibald and to all his successors in the diocese of Eichstätt.
f) as portrayed (at left; at center, St. Wolfgang; at left, St. Sebastian) in the polychromed statues of the central portion of a later fifteenth-century altarpiece (1467) in the Wallfahrtskirche Sankt Wolfgang in St. Wolfgang, a locality of Velburg (Lkr. Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz) in Bavaria:
Detail view (statues):
g) as portrayed (second from left) by the Master of the High Altar of Eichstätt's Cathedral in the frequently repainted later fifteenth-century statues (ca. 1470-1480?) now placed in the central shrine of the high altar of the east choir of Eichstätt's Dom St. Salvator, Unserer Lieben Frau, und St. Willibald (from left to right, the other statues are of St. Richard of England, the BVM, St. Walburg, and St. Wynnebald):
h) as portrayed (second from left) in the later fifteenth- or earlier sixteenth-century gilded statues of Walburg and her immediate family in the upper crypt of Eichstätt's Pfarrkirche St. Walburg (from left to right: St. Richard of England, St. Willibald, St. Walburg, St. Wynnebald, St. Wunna [the siblings' mother as named in their later hagiography]):
i) as portrayed in relief on a late fifteenth- or earlier sixteenth-century polychromed ceiling boss (ca. 1480-1520) in the Mortuarium of Eichstätt's Dom St. Salvator, Unserer Lieben Frau, und St. Willibald:
j) as portrayed in a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century wooden statue (ca. 1490-1510) in the Stadtpfarrkirche St. Jakobus der Ältere in Ornbau (Lkr. Ansbach) in Bavaria:
k) as depicted in an early sixteenth-century glass window panel (1502) in the Mortuarium of Eichstätt's Dom St. Salvator, Unserer Lieben Frau, und St. Willibald:
l) as portrayed by Loy Hering in a monumental, early sixteenth-century altar (1514) in Eichstätt's Dom St. Salvator, Unserer Lieben Frau, und St. Willibald:
Some detail views are here:
m) as depicted (in this view, upper register at center) in an earlier sixteenth-century tapestry depicting members of St. Walburg's spiritual and genetic kinship (ca. 1520) in the Diözesanmuseum in Eichstätt:
The tapestry's modern copy in the Kloster- und Pfarrkirche St. Walburg in Eichstätt:
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