Today in Luxembourg: the dancing procession of St Willibrord.

Although his feastday is on the 7th November. each year on Tuesday after Pentecost, Catholics gather in Echternacher, Luxemburg to venerate the relics of St Willibrord, a Northumbrian saint that evangelised the Frisians. This procession, commemorating the translation of his relics, is unique as those participating dance. See the video below.

Willibrord (c. 658 – November 7, 739) was a Northumbrian missionary saint, known as the “Apostle to the Frisians” in the modern Netherlands. He became the first Bishop of Utrecht and died at Echternach, Luxembourg.

He was sent to the Abbey of Ripon almost as soon as he was weaned. Later he joined the Benedictines. He spent the years between the ages of 20 and 32 in the Abbey of Rathmelsigi which was a centre of European learning in the 7th century. During this time he studied under Saint Egbert, who sent him and twelve companions to Christianize the pagan North Germanic tribes of Frisia. At the request of Pepin he travelled twice to Rome, finally being consecrated Bishop of the Frisians in the Church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere. It was November 21, 695 and he was given the name of Clement. He was also given the pallium by the pope. He returned to Frisia to preach and to build numerous churches, among them a monastery at Utrecht, where he established his cathedral and is counted the first Bishop of Utrecht. In 698 he established an abbey at a Roman villa in Echternach, in Luxemburg near Trier.

His frequent visits to the Abbey of Echternach resulted in his being interred there after his passing, and he was quickly judged to be a saint.

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