ealra sancta symbel

ealra sancta symbel: the Feast of All Saints, All Saints’ Day. (“ay-al-rah sahnk-tah sum-bell”)

Further information from Kazutomo Karasawa’s The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge, 2015):

And þy ylcan dæge   ealra we healdað / sancta symbel   þara þe sið oððe ær / worhtan in worulde   willan drihtnes.

—The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 199-201

And on the same day, we hold the feast of all saints who ever worked God’s will in the world.

—translation by K. Karasawa


The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs, by Fra Angelico (c. 1423-1424). National Gallery, London. [Wikipedia]


hēah-engel, m.n: an archangel. (“heh-ah-en-gell”)

Today is the Feast of Michael the Archangel.

Hwæt we weorðiað   wide geond eorðan / heahengles tiid   on hærfeste, / Michaheles,   swa þæt menigo wat, / fif nihtum ufor   þæs þe folcum byð, / eorlum geywed   emnihtes dæg.

– Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 176-80

How widely throughout the earth we celebrate the feast of the Archangel, of Michael, in autumn, as a multitude (of people) know, five nights after the day of equinox is revealed to people, to men!

– translation by Kazutomo Karasawa

Karasawa says in his book on the Menologium:

The name of the Archangel appears nowhere else in the extant Old English poems. The veneration of the saint, which is said to have been originated in Phrygia*, was quite widespread and there was a variety of dates for his feast. (p. 118).

*Present-day Turkey.

Kazutomo Karasawa, The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium)(Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015)


Initial Q: Saint Michael and the Dragon. Germany (Würzburg), c. 1240-1250. The J. Paul Getty Museum, MS. Ludwig VIII 2, fol. 61v. [discardingimages]


god-spell, n.n: gospel. (“god-spell”)

The gospel is the teaching or revelation of Christ. The gospels are the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), which record Christ’s life and teaching.

Today is the feast of St Matthew the Apostle, one of the writers of the gospels.

…þegn unforcuð, / godspelles gleaw,   gast onsende / Matheus his   to metodsceafte / in ecne gefean.

– Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 170b-73a

…the reputable thegn, skilled in (writing) the Gospel, Matthew, sent out his spirit, at the appointed destiny, into the eternal joy.

– translation by Kazutomo Karasawa

Kazutomo Karasawa, The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015)


St Matthew in the Gospels of Macdurnan. Ireland, 9th century. Lambeth Palace Library, MS 1370, fol. 4v. [Pinterest]


diācon, m.n: a deacon. (“dee-ah-kohn”) Aug 10 is the feast of famous deacon St Lawrence.

Þænne forð gewat / ymb ϸreo niht ϸæs   ϸeodne getrywe / ϸurh martyrdom,   mære diacon, / Laurentius;   hæfð nu lif wið ϸan / mid wuldorfæder   weorca to leane.

The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 143b-47

Then departed forth, after three nights, the one loyal to the Lord, the famous deacon Laurence, through martyrdom; in return for this, he is now given a life with the heavenly Father as a reward for his deeds.

– Trans. by Kazutomo Karasawa

Kazutomo Karasawa says, ‘St Laurence is one of those who died in the persecution of Valerian in 258. Among the victims of the persecution were Pope Sixtus II and six other deacons, but St Laurence has been one of the most honoured martyrs of the Roman Church since the fourth century; hence he is mentioned as a mære diacon (145b) “famous deacon”.’*

*K. Karasawa, The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015), p. 113


St Lawrence with his many fish, from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, a Book of Hours produced in the Netherlands c. 1440. From Jo the Librarian.