St Werenfridus healing oil
The St Werenfridus healing oil is dedicated to the 8th century patron saint for stiff joints.
St Werenfriedus was an Irish preacher and the patron saint of Elst . He preached in the 7th and8th century AD. in the realm of the Frisian king Radboud . Later he is declared a saint. .
Werenfridus was part of the Benedictine monastery of Rathmelsiki in Ireland. He went to the land of the Frisians around 690. There he was was given the task of preaching the gospel in the western part of it . Werenfridus later moved via Dorestad to the Betuwe and the area around it. Subsequently, he spread the Christian doctrine there too.
Werenfridus died in Westervoort on 14th August 760 and was buried in the church in Elst .
In 925, Bishop Balderik took the remains of Werenfridus’ body from the sarcophagus in the crypt and identified the body. He put the relics there in a reliquary.
St Werenfridus relics
The relics of Werenfridus were largely destroyed during an iconoclasm in 1588. Theodoor van Eimerem managed to save a few parts and transfer it to Nijmegen , who in turn went looking for a safer place for sacred heirlooms. Eventually, most of the relics ended up in Emmerik. They were lost there during the Second World War. What is left over at the moment is a burned bone in a silver relic.
Werenfridus became patron saint of Elst, vegetable gardeners and people suffering from gout. Moreover, he is often prayed to him at the expense of stiff joints .
Johannes de Beke recounted in the 14th century that Werenfried had joined the Willibrord travel company in 690.
Werenfridus’ body was claimed after his death by the inhabitants of Westervoort and Elst, where he had said in his life that he would prefer to be buried in Elst. Eventually, according to the legend, it was decided to place his body on an unmanned boat on the Rhine and let fate determine where Werenfridus’ final resting place should come. The boat sailed against the current to the Betuwe bank. A second judgment was asked: Werenfridus’ body was put on an ox cart pulled by young bullocks who had never worn a yoke before. They too turned to Elst and brought the body of the saint to the Elster church. Another version reports that two young calves, whose mothers were in Westervoort, were being put in front of the cart. Without hesitation, however, the animals walked to Elst.
Relics are moved
The church where Werenfridus was originally buried has been called the Werenfridus church since 1483. In 1944 the original Werenfridus church was destroyed, but after the Second World War the church was rebuilt. Nowadays there is a small museum under the church , because the church appears to be built on two large Gallo-Roman temples. This museum also includes the sarcophagus which is said to contain Werenfridus buried in it. Striking in the church are also the pulpit, in which the image is designed of a bishop who heals a gout with bones from Werenfridus. Moreover, there are four stone sculptures of Werenfridus in the porch of the church. Near this church is the primary school ‘Sunte Werfert’, which is a corruption of Sint Werenfried.