Saint Name: St. Ewald & Ewald
Feast: October 03
The Two Ewalds called us Saint Ewald the Black and Saint Ewald the Fair, martyrs in Old Saxony about 692. Both bore the same name but were distinguished by the difference in the color of their hair and complexions. They are now honored as saints in Westphalia.
The two priests were companions, both natives of Northumbria, England. According to the example of many at that time, they spent several years as students in the schools of Ireland. Ewald the Black was the more learned of the two, but both were equally renowned for holiness of life. They were apparently acquainted with St. Willibrord, the Apostle of Friesland, and were animated with his zeal for the conversion of the Germans. Some sources number them among the eleven companions of that saint. More probably, however, they set out from England after St. Willibrord's departure, in an attempt to convert their own cousins in Old Saxony.
They entered upon their mission about 690. The scene of their labours was the country of the ancient Saxons, now part of Westphalia, and covered by the dioceses of Münster, Osnabrück, and Paderborn. At first, the Ewalds took up their abode in the house of the steward of a certain Saxon earl or ealdorman (satrapa). Bede remarks that "the old Saxons have no king, but they are governed by several ealdormen [satrapas] who during war cast lots for leadership, but who in time of peace are equal in power" Historia ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, V, 10). The steward entertained his two guests for several days and promised to conduct them to the chieftain. They intended to convert him and so affirmed they had a message of considerable importance to deliver to him.
The pagan Saxons, witnessing these activities of the Christian priests and missionaries, began to suspect that the Ewalds planned to convert their over-lord, destroy their temples and supplant their religion. Inflamed with jealousy and anger, they resolved that the Ewalds should die. An uprising followed and both priests were quickly seized. Ewald the Fair was killed quickly by the sword; Ewald the Black was tortured and torn limb from limb, after which both their bodies were cast into the Rhine. This is understood to have happened on 3 October at a place called Aplerbeck, today a district of Dortmund, where a chapel still stands. When the ealdorman heard of what had been done, he became angry and fearful of reprisals and punished the murderers by putting them to death and burning their villages.