Willibald of Eichstätt (700 – 787/788 AD)

Itinerarium Sancti Willibaldi, 723-726 AD

Willibald, son of the Saxon King Richard and brother of St. Winnibald, was born in 700 and, following his miraculous recovery from a debilitating illness, became an oblate in a monastery at Waltheim (now Bishop’s Waltham in Hampshire). He decided to go on a pilgrimage, first to Rome and then to the Holy Land. The voyage – long, exhausting, full of risks and perils – is described with a wealth of details, dictated by Willibald to a nun of Heidenheim, and it remains one of the principal sources concerning voyages and travels of pilgrims in the early Middle Ages:

“From there they proceeded to the town called Tiberias. This town stands on the shore of the sea (lake) on which our Lord walked with dry feet, and on which Peter tried to walk towards our Lord but sank. In this area there are many churches and a synagogue of the Jews.
“There (our pilgrims) remained for several days; and the Jordan passed through the middle of that sea. They walked around the sea and by the village of Magdala. And they came to that village of Capernaum where the Lord resuscitated the leader’s daughter, and where there is a house and a great wall. The people of this place said that Zebedee and his two sons John and James had lived there.
“Then they continued on to Bethsaida: this was the place of Peter and Andrew: now there is a church on the site where their house was. There they stopped for the night; on the (following) morning they went on to Chorazin, where the Lord healed the demon-possessed and sent the devil into a herd of swine. A Christian church was there.”

Monaca anonima di Heydemhein, Itinerario di San Wullibaldo, cap. 14