dimanche 1 mars 2015

Saint DAVID de MÉNEVIE, évêque


Saint David, vitrail de la chapelle du Jesus College à Oxford.

Saint David


Archevêque au pays de Galles ( v. 601)


De famille princière, il préféra la solitude dans l'île de Wight. Il la quitta, appelé par Dieu en Irlande, malgré les réticences d'un chef de la région. Son monastère connaissait une règle très stricte de silence et de travail, de prière et de longues veilles nocturnes. Appelé à l'épiscopat, il resta dans son monastère plutôt que de vivre dans une maison épiscopale. Au moment de mourir, il dit à ses moines: "N'oubliez pas le peu de choses que je vous ai apprises. Et surtout restez toujours gais." Shakespeare parle de lui dans "Henri V". Son culte fut approuvé en 1120. Il est le patron principal du Pays de Galles.

À Ménévie au pays de Galles, vers 601, saint David, évêque. À l’imitation des exemples et des coutumes des Pères orientaux, il fonda un monastère, d’où sortirent un grand nombre de moines, qui évangélisèrent le pays de Galles, l’Irlande, les Cornouailles et l’Armorique.

Martyrologe romain



David de Ménevie (né vers 500 – + vers 589 ou 601), ou Dewi ou Divy, connu en gallois sous l'appellation Dewi Sant, est le saint patron du Pays de Galles. Sous le nom de saint Ivi (ou Ivy, Yvi...), il fait partie des saints ayant christianisé la (Grande) Bretagne entre le Ve siècle et le VIIe siècle.
 
L'année de sa naissance est très incertaine, diverses hypothèses la situant entre 462 et 512. Selon Rhygyfarch, auteur de la vie du saint au XIe siècle, David était le fils de Sanctus Rex Ceredigionis, le « saint roi de Ceredigion ». Il fut conçu dans la violence, et sa malheureuse mère "Non" ou "Nonne" (de son vrai nom Mélarie, fille de Brécan, prince souverain du pays de Galles), accoucha au sommet d'une falaise au beau milieu d'une violente tempête. Après avoir été violée par un prince (Xantus, prince de la Cérétique), elle trouva refuge dans la forêt de Talarmon où elle fonda un ermitage sous des chênes. Le lieu prendra par la suite le nom de Diri Nonn, c'est-à-dire les chênes de Nonne, devenu Dirinon, paroisse de l'évêché de Léon, désormais commune du Finistère. Le petit Divy ou David, confié d'abord à saint Belve, alla ensuite à l'école de saint Hildut où il eut pour condisciples Pol Aurélien, Magloire, Gildas et Samson, qui devaient plus tard évangéliser l'Armorique.
 
David fut éduqué à Hendy- gwyn ar Daf (nom anglicisé en Whitland) dans le Carmarthenshire, pense-t-on, auprès de saint Paulin de Galles (probablement la même personne que le Pol Aurélien breton) qui avait été l'un des disciples de saint Germain d'Auxerre.
 
Devenu moine, il serait arrivé près du Mont Saint-Michel, puis aurait longé la côte, établissant un ermitage à l'endroit qui deviendra Loguivy-de-la-Mer, puis un second plus à l'ouest (Loguivy-lès-Lannion), avant de s'enfoncer dans les terres : on retrouve sa trace à Pont-ivy ou encore à Saint-Divy et à Saint-Yvi dans le Finistère.
 
David s'illustra comme enseignant et prédicateur, il créa des monastères et bâtit des églises en Galles, en Cornouailles (britannique) et en Bretagne armoricaine, à une époque où ces régions étaient  majoritairement païennes. Nommé évêque, il obtint de transférer le siège épiscopal de Caërleon, ville alors très peuplée, à Ménevie, lieu retiré et solitaire. Il présida deux synodes, et fit un pèlerinage à Jérusalem où sa nomination fut consacrée. La cathédrale de St David's (Ty-Ddewi, en gallois) a été construite sur le site du monastère qu'il fonda dans la vallée inhospitalière de 'Glyn Rhosyn' dans le Pembrokeshire ;
 
Selon la règle monastique de David les moines devaient cultiver et tirer eux-mêmes la charrue, sans l'aide d'animaux. Il était interdit de boire autre chose que de l'eau, de manger autre chose que du pain, des légumes et du sel. La soirée se passait à prier, à lire ou écrire. Les moines ne possédaient rien en propre  L'ascétisme était leur mode de vie, la viande était bannie. On peut imaginer sa surprise quand, alors qu'il était venu pour fonder une église, il aurait  été accueilli par les danses des servantes nues de la reine galloise païenne.
 
Le miracle le plus connu attribué à saint David se serait produit alors qu'il prêchait au milieu de la foule au synode de Brefi. Quand ceux qui étaient au dernier rang se plaignirent de ce qu'ils ne pouvaient ni voir ni entendre, le sol se souleva, une colline se forma, pour leur permettre de profiter du spectacle et l'on vit une colombe blanche se poser sur l'épaule du saint, ce qui démontrait que Dieu était à ses côtés. Le village de ces miracles s'appelle aujourd'hui Llanddewi Brefi. Aussi les artistes représentent-ils souvent le saint avec une colombe sur l'épaule.
 
Le document qui contient la plupart des haut-faits de David a pour nom Buchedd Dewi (Vie de Dewi), et c'est une hagiographie écrite par Rhygyfarch vers la fin du XIe siècle. Elle était destinée à fortifier l'indépendance de l'église galloise que l'invasion normande de 1066 menaçait.
 
Guillaume de Malmesbury rapporte que David visita Glastonbury dans le but de consacrer l'abbaye et de lui offrir un autel portatif contenant un gros saphir. Alors Jésus lui apparut dans une vision et lui dit que « l'église avait été depuis longtemps consacrée par Lui-Même en l'honneur de Sa Mère, et ne devait pas l'être à nouveau de main d’homme ». David demanda donc la construction de nouveaux bâtiments, ce qui a été en 1921 par des experts archéologues. Selon un manuscrit, un autel de saphir aurait été confisqué par le roi Henri VIII lors de la dissolution de l'abbaye mille ans plus tard. La pierre ferait aujourd'hui partie des joyaux de la Couronne britannique.
 
Saint David (Dewi)aurait vécu cent ans. Il mourut un mardi 1er  mars, sans doute en 589. Ce jour-là, dit-on, le monastère était « rempli d'anges au moment où le Christ recueillit son âme ». Ses derniers mots à ses disciples il les avait prononcés le dimanche précédent. D'après Rhygyfarch, il leur avait dit: « Soyez joyeux, et gardez votre foi. Faites les petites choses que vous m'avez vu faire et dont vous avez entendu parler. Je marcherai sur le sentier que nos pères ont parcouru avant nous ». La phrase galloise « Gwnewch y pethau bychain » (faites les petites choses) est devenue proverbiale.
 
David fut enterré dans la cathédrale St David's, qui fut un lieu de pèlerinage tout au long du Moyen Âge.
 
Plusieurs localités bretonnes portent son nom: Saint-Yvi et Saint-Divy dans le Finistère, Loguivy-lès-Lannion et Loguivy-de-la-Mer, désormais simple hameau de l'actuelle commune de Ploubazlanec dans les Côtes-d'Armor, Pontivy dans le Morbihan. Il était aussi le saint patron de l'ancienne paroisse de Bodivit,  située sur les bords de l'Odet et englobée dans Plomelin (Finistère) lors de la Révolution française (une fontaine et une statue portent son nom à Plomelin) et de celle de Pouldavid, désormais incluse dans la commune de Douarnenez.
 
Buhez santez Nonn ou « Vie de sainte Nonne et de son fils saint Devy » est un mystère en langue bretonne composé avant le XIIe siècle et publié en 1837 par l'abbé Simonnet.

SOURCE : http://www.religion-orthodoxe.eu/article-vie-de-saint-david-patron-du-pays-de-galles-68323065.html


SAINT DAVID (Dewi sant en Gallois) est né au VIe siècle au Pays de Galles. Jeune homme, il devint moine et étudia pendant de nombreuses années en tant que prêtre. Selon une tradition, il fut consacré évêque par le Patriarche de Jérusalem, où saint David alla en pèlerinage. Il œuvra beaucoup pour propager le christianisme au Pays de Galles, en particulier dans le sud-ouest du Pays de Galles dans ce qui est devenu maintenant le Pembrokeshire. Là, il fonda un monastère à Mynyw (Menevia), à présent monastère de Saint-David, et il est honoré comme premier évêque de Saint-David.

David et ses moines suivaient une règle très austère, ne buvant que de l'eau et ne mangeant que du pain et des légumes. Imitant les coutumes des moines du désert égyptien avec un régime de travail manuel et d'étude, son monastère devint une pépinière de saints. Personnellement, David était un homme très miséricordieux et il faisait de fréquentes prosternations. Son ascèse favorite consistait souvent à se plonger dans l'eau froide tout en répétant les psaumes par cœur.

Nous savons qu'il assista au Concile des Églises de Brevi vers l'an de grâce 545 et là, d'un commun accord, il est dit qu'il fut nommé archevêque et son monastère proclamé Eglise-Mère de tout le pays de Galles. On dit qu'il fonda douze monastères, dont l'un peut avoir été à Glastonbury dans le Somerset, le lieu où l'Apôtre des septante Aristobule et le Juste Joseph d'Arimathie avaient, selon la tradition, d'abord prêché l'Évangile en Grande-Bretagne et construit la première église des siècles auparavant.

Saint David fit beaucoup de miracles de son vivant. Après sa dormition aux environs de l'an de grâce 600, il fut largement vénéré dans le sud du Pays de Galles, mais il était aussi vénéré en Irlande, en Cornouailles et en Bretagne. En effet, certains estiment qu'il s'est effectivement rendu en Cornouailles et en Bretagne et qu'il y fonda également des monastères.

Les reliques de saint David existent jusques à ce jour et sont enchâssées dans sa cathédrale à Saint-David. Saint David est associé à la jonquille, fleur nationale du Pays de Galles, qui aurait grandi autour du site de son monastère. On dit que le poireau, autre symbole national du pays de Galles, poussait au même endroit et constituait la base du régime alimentaire de saint David et de ses moines. La fête de saint David (Dydd Gŵyl Dewi en Gallois), fête nationale du Pays de Galles, tombe le 1er Mars.


Version française Claude Lopez-Ginisty
d'après



St. David

(DEGUI, DEWI).

Bishop and Confessor, patron of Wales. He is usually represented standing on a little hill, with a dove on his shoulder. From time immemorial the Welsh have worn a leek on St. David's day, in memory of a battle against the Saxons, at which it is said they wore leeks in their hats, by St. David's advice, to distinguish them from their enemies. He is commemorated on 1 March. The earliest mention of St. David is found in a tenth-century manuscript Of the "Annales Cambriae", which assigns his death to A.D. 601. Many other writers, from Geoffrey of Monmouth down to Father Richard Stanton, hold that he died about 544, but their opinion is based solely on data given in various late "lives" of St. David, and there seems no good reason for setting aside the definite statement of the "Annales Cambriae", which is now generally accepted. Little else that can claim to be historical is known about St. David. The tradition that he was born at Henvynyw (Vetus-Menevia) in Cardiganshire is not improbable. He was prominent at the Synod of Brevi (Llandewi Brefi in Cardiganshire), which has been identified with the important Roman military station, Loventium. Shortly afterwards, in 569, he presided over another synod held at a place called Lucus Victoriae. He was Bishop (probably not Archbishop) of Menevia, the Roman port Menapia in Pembrokeshire, later known as St. David's, then the chief point of departure for Ireland. St. David was canonized by Pope Callistus II in the year 1120.

This is all that is known to history about the patron of Wales. His legend, however, is much more elaborate, and entirely unreliable. The first biography that has come down to us was written near the end of the eleventh century, about 500 years after the saint's death, by Rhygyfarch (Ricemarchus), a son of the then bishop of St. David's, and is chiefly a tissue of inventions intended to support the claim of the Welsh episcopate to be independent of Canterbury. Giraldus Cambriensis, William of Malmesbury, Geoffrey of Monmouth, John de Tinmouth, and John Capgrave all simply copy and enlarge upon the work of Rhygyfarch, whilst the anonymous author of the late Welsh life printed in Rees, "Cambro-British Saints" (Cott. manuscript Titus, D. XXII) adds nothing of value. According to these writers St. David was the son of Sant or Sandde ab Ceredig ab Cunnedda, Prince of Keretica (Cardiganshire) and said by some to be King Arthur's nephew, though Geoffrey of Monmouth calls St. David King Arthur's uncle. The saint's mother was Nonna, or Nonnita (sometimes called Melaria), a daughter of Gynyr of Caergawch. She was a nun who had been violated by Sant. St. David's birth had been foretold thirty years before by an angel to St. Patrick. It took place at "Old Menevia" somewhere about A.D. 454. Prodigies preceded and accompanied the event, and at his baptism at Porth Clais by St. Elvis of Munster, "whom Divine Providence brought over from Ireland at that conjuncture", a blind man was cured by the baptismal water. St. David's early education was received from St. Illtyd at Caerworgorn (Llantwit major) in Glamorganshire. Afterwards he spent ten years studying the Holy Scripture at Whitland in Carmarthenshire, under St. Paulinus (Pawl Hen), whom he cured of blindness by the sign of the cross. At the end of this period St. Paulinus, warned by an angel, sent out the young saint to evangelize the British. St. David journeyed throughout the West, founding or restoring twelve monasteries (among which occur the great names of Glastonbury, Bath, and Leominster), and finally settled in the Vale of Ross, where he and his monks lived a life of extreme austerity. Here occurred the temptations of his monks by the obscene antics of the maid-servants of the wife of Boia, a local chieftan. Here also his monks tried to poison him, but St. David, warned by St. Scuthyn, who crossed from Ireland in one night on the back of a sea-monster, blessed the poisoned bread and ate it without harm. From thence, with St. Teilo and St. Padarn, he set out for Jerusalem, where he was made bishop by the patriarch. Here too St. Dubric and St. Daniel found him, when they came to call him to the Synod of Brevi "against the Pelagians". St. David was with difficulty persuaded to accompany them; on his way he raised a widow's son to life, and at the synod preached so loudly, from the hill that miraculously rose under him, that all could hear him, and so eloquently that all the heretics were confounded. St. Dubric resigned the "Archbishopric of Caerleon", and St. David was appointed in his stead. One of his first acts was to hold, in the year 569, yet another synod called "Victory", against the Pelagians, of which the decrees were confirmed by the pope. With the permission of King Arthur he removed his see from Caerleon to Menevia, whence he governed the British Church for many years with great holiness and wisdom. He died at the great age of 147, on the day predicted by himself a week earlier. His body is said to have been translated to Glastonbury in the year 966.

It is impossible to discover in this story how much, if any, is true. Some of it has obviously been invented for controversial purposes. The twelve monasteries, the temptation by the women, the attempt on his life, all suggest an imitation of the life of St. Benedict. Wilder legends, such as the Journey on the Sea-Monster, are commonplaces of Celtic hagiography. Doubtless Rhygyfarch and his imitators collected many floating local traditions, but how much of these had any historical foundation and how much was sheer imagination is no longer possible to decide.

Sources


"Annales Cambriae", ed. AB ITHEL in "Rolls Series" (London, 1860), 3-6; "Acta SS., March 1, 38-47; "Buhez Santez Nonn" ed. SIONNET (Paris, 1837); CHALLONER, "Britannia Sancta" (London, 1745), I, 140-45; HOLE in "Dict. Christ. Biog." (London, 1877), I, 791-93; BRADLEY in "Dict. Nat. Biog.", s.v.: GIRALDUS CAMBRENSIS, "Opera", ed. BREWER in "Rolls Series" (London, 1863), III, 375-404; HADDON AND STUBBS, "Councils and Ecclesiastical documents relating to Great Britain and Ireland" (Oxford, 1869), I, 121, 143, 148; "Lives of the Cambro-British Saints", ed. REES (Llandovery, Wales, 1853), 102-44, 412-48; MONTALEMBERT, "Les moines d'Occident" (Paris, 1866), III, 48-55; NEDELEC, "Cambria Sacra" (London, 1879), 446-479; REES, "Essay on the Welsh Saints" (London, 1836), 43, 162, 191, 193; STANTON, "Menology of England and Wales" (London, 1887), 92-93, 203; WHARTON, "Anglia Sacra" (London, 1691), II, 628-53.


Toke, Leslie. "St. David." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 29 Feb. 2016<http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04640b.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by John Looby.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.



David of Wales B (AC)

(also known as Dewi)



5th or 6th century. There is no certainty about the date though we know that St. David was a real personage, son of King Sant, a prince of Cardigan in far western Wales. All the information we have about him is based on the unreliable 11th century biography written by Rhygyfarch, the son of Bishop Sulien of St. David's. Rhygyfarch's main purpose was to uphold the claim of the Welsh bishopric to be independent of Canterbury, so little reliance can be placed on the document.


David, who may have been born at Henfynw in Cardigan, lived during the golden age of Celtic Christianity when saints were plentiful, many of them of noble rank--kings, princes, and chieftain--who lived the monastic life, built oratories and churches, and preached the Gospel.

Saint Cadoc founded the great monastery of Llancarfan. Saint Illtyd turned from the life of a soldier to that of a mystic and established the abbey of Llantwit, where tradition links his name to that of Sir Galahad. But greatest among them was David, cousin of Cadoc and pupil of Illtyd, who was educated in the White House of Carmarathen and who founded the monastery of Menevia in the place that now bears his name.

According to his biography, David became a priest, studied under Saint Paulinus, the disciple of Saint Germanus of Auxerre, on an unidentified island for several years. He then engaged in missionary activities, founded 12 monasteries from Croyland to Pembrokeshire, the last of which, at Mynyw (Menevia) in southwestern Wales, was known for the extreme asceticism of its rule, which was based on that of the Egyptian monks.

Here in this lovely and lonely outpost he gathered his followers. The Rule was strict, with but one daily meal, frequent fasts, and hours of unbroken silence. Their days were filled with hard manual labor and no plough was permitted in the work of the fields. "Every man his own ox," said St. David. Nor did David exempt himself from the same rigorous discipline: he drank nothing but water and so came to be known as David the Waterman; and long after vespers, when the last of his monks had retired to bed, he prayed on alone through the night.

We are told that he was of a lovable and happy disposition, and an attractive and persuasive preacher. It was perhaps his mother, the saintly Non, who had nurtured him carefully in the Christian faith, that he owed so many of his own fine qualities. It was not surprising, therefore, that when the time came for the appointment of a new archbishop of Wales the choice fell upon him.

At Brevi, in Cardiganshire, a great synod had been convened about 550, attended by a thousand members, but David, who kept aloof from temporal concerns, remained in his retreat at Menevia. The synod, however, insisted on sending for him. So great was the crowd and so intense the excitement that the voice of the aged and retiring archbishop Saint Dubricius could hardly be heard when he named David as his successor. David, who at first refused, came forward reluctantly, but when he spoke his voice was like a silver trumpet, and all could hear and were deeply moved; and in that hour of his succession a white dove was seen to settle upon his shoulders as if it were a sign of God's grace and blessing.

Without any facts to support the event, it is said that David was consecrated archbishop by the patriarch of Jerusalem while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. But he loved Menevia and could not bring himself to leave it for Caerleon, the seat of the archbishopric, which he transferred to his own monastery by the wild headlands of the western sea, and which to this day is known by his name and remains a place of pilgrimage.

Again according to unsubstantiated legend, David convened a council, called the Synod of Victory, because it marked the final demise of Pelagianism, ratified the edicts of Brevi, and drew up regulations for the British Church.

"He opened," we are told, "many fountains in dry places, and across the centuries his words spoken in the hour of death still reach us: "Brothers and sisters, be joyful and keep your faith."

He died at Menevia and his cultus was reputedly approved by Pope Callistus II about 1120. Even his birth and death dates are uncertain, ranging from c. 454 to 520 for the former and from 560 to 601 for the latter (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Gill, Wade- Evans).

In art, St. David is a Celtic bishop with long hair and a beard, and a dove perched on his shoulder. He may be shown preaching on a hill, or holding his cathedral. He is the patron saint of Wales and especially venerated in Pembrokeshire (Roeder). No one seems to have a satisfactory explanation regarding the association of leeks with St. David's Day as in Shakespeare's Henry V, IV, 1 (Attwater).
SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0301.shtml

Saint David of Wales

St. David is the patron saint of Wales and perhaps the most famous of British saints. Unfortunately, we have little reliable information about him.

According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of South Wales and St. Non. He was ordained a priest and later studied under St. Paulinus.

It is known that he became a priest, engaged in missionary work and founded many monasteries, including his principal abbey in southwestern Wales. Many stories and legends sprang up about David and his Welsh monks. Their austerity was extreme. They worked in silence without the help of animals to till the soil. Their food was limited to bread, vegetables and water.

In about the year 550, David attended a synod where his eloquence impressed his fellow monks to such a degree that he was elected primate of the region. The episcopal see was moved to Mynyw, where he had his monastery (now called St. David’s). He ruled his diocese until he had reached a very old age. His last words to his monks and subjects were: “Be joyful, brothers and sisters. Keep your faith, and do the little things that you have seen and heard with me.”

St. David is pictured standing on a mound with a dove on his shoulder. The legend is that once while he was preaching a dove descended to his shoulder and the earth rose to lift him high above the people so that he could be heard. Over 50 churches in South Wales were dedicated to him in pre-Reformation days.

SOURCE : http://ucatholic.com/saints/david-of-wales/


St. David, Archbishop, Patron of Wales

See his life by Giraldus Cambrensis, in Wharton’s Anglia Sacra, t. 2. also Doctor Brown Willis, and Wilkins, Conc. Britan. & Hibern. t. 1.

About the Year 544

ST. DAVID, in Welch Dewid, was son of Xantus, prince of Ceretica, now Cardiganshire. He was brought up in the service of God, and being ordained priest, retired into the Isle of Wight, and embraced an ascetic life, under the direction of Paulinus, a learned and holy man, who had been a disciple of St. Germanus of Auxerre. He is said by the sign of the cross to have restored sight to his master, which he had lost by old age, and excessive weeping in prayer. He studied a long time to prepare himself for the functions of the holy ministry. At length, coming out of his solitude, like the Baptist out of the desert, he preached the word of eternal life to the Britons. He built a chapel at Glastenbury, a place which had been consecrated to the divine worship by the first apostles of this island. He founded twelve monasteries, the principal of which was in the vale of Ross, 1 near Menevia, where he formed many great pastors and eminent servants of God. By his rule he obliged all his monks to assiduous manual labour in the spirit of penance: he allowed them the use of no cattle to ease them at their work in tilling the ground. They were never suffered to speak but on occasions of absolute necessity, and they never ceased to pray, at least mentally, during their labour. They returned late in the day to the monastery, to read, write, and pray. Their food was only bread and vegetables, with a little salt, and they never drank anything better than a little milk mingled with water. After their repast they spent three hours in prayer and adoration; then took a little rest, rose at cock-crowing, and continued in prayer till they went out to work. Their habit was of the skins of beasts. When any one petitioned to be admitted, he waited ten days at the door, during which time he was tried by harsh words, repeated refusals, and painful labours, that he might learn to die to himself. When he was admitted, he left all his worldly substance behind him, for the monastery never received anything on the score of admission. All the monks discovered their most secret thoughts and temptations to their abbot.

The Pelagian heresy springing forth a second time in Britain, the bishops, in order to suppress it, held a synod at Brevy, in Cardiganshire, in 512, or rather in 519. 2 St. David, being invited to it, went thither, and in that venerable assembly confuted and silenced the infernal monster by his eloquence, learning and miracles. On the spot where this council was held, a church was afterwards built called Llan-Devi-Brevi, or the church of St. David near the river Brevi. At the close of the synod, St. Dubritius, the archbishop of Caerleon, resigned his see to St. David, whose tears and opposition were only to be overcome by the absolute command of the synod; which however allowed him, at his request, the liberty to transfer his see from Caerleon, then a populous city, to Menevia, now called St. David’s, a retired place, formed by nature for solitude, being as it were almost cut off from the rest of the island, though now an intercourse is opened to it from Milford-Haven. Soon after the former synod, another was assembled by Saint David at a place called Victoria; in which the acts of the first were confirmed, and several canons added relating to discipline, which were afterwards confirmed by the authority of the Roman church; and these two synods were, as it were, the rule and standard of the British churches. As for St. David, Giraldus adds, that he was the great ornament and pattern of his age. He spoke with great force and energy; but his example was more powerful than his eloquence; and he has in all succeeding ages been the glory of the British church. He continued in his last see many years; and having founded several monasteries, and been the spiritual father of many saints, both British and Irish, died about the year 544, in a very advanced age. St. Kentigern saw his soul born up by angels into heaven. He was buried in his church of St. Andrew, which hath since taken his name, with the town and the whole diocess. Near the church stand several chapels, formerly resorted to with great devotion: the principal is that of Saint Nun, mother of Saint David, near which is a beautiful well, still frequented by pilgrims. Another chapel is sacred to St. Lily, surnamed Gwas-Dewy, that is, St. David’s man; for he was his beloved disciple and companion in his retirement. He is honoured there on the 3rd, and St. Nun, who lived and died the spiritual mother of many religious women, on the 2nd of March. The three first days of March were formerly holidays in South Wales in honour of these three saints; at present only the first is kept a festival throughout all Wales. John of Glastenbury 3 informs us, that in the reign of King Edgar, in the year of Christ 962, the relics of St. David were translated with great solemnity from the vale of Ross to Glastenbury, together with a portion of the relics of St. Stephen the Protomartyr.

By singing assiduously the divine praises with pure and holy hearts, dead to the world and all inordinate passions, monks are styled angels of the earth. The divine praise is the primary act of the love of God; for a soul enamoured of his adorable goodness and perfections, summons up all her powers to express the complacency she takes in his infinite greatness and bliss, and sounds forth his praises with all her strength. In this entertainment she feels an insatiable delight and sweetness, and with longing desires aspires after that bliss in which she will love and praise without intermission or impediment. By each act of divine praise, the fervour of charity and its habit, and with it every spiritual good and every rich treasure, is increased in her: moreover, God in return heaps upon her the choicest blessings of his grace. Therefore, though the acts of divine praise seem directly to be no more than a tribute or homage of our affections, which we tender to God, the highest advantages accrue from these exercises to our souls. St. Stephen of Grandmont was once asked by a disciple, why we are so frequently exhorted in the scriptures to bless and praise God, who, being infinite, can receive no increase from our homages? To which the saint replied: “A man who blesses and praises God receives from thence the highest advantage imaginable; for God, in return, bestows on him all his blessings, and for every word that he repeats in these acts, says: ‘For the praises and blessings which you offer me, I bestow my blessings on you; what you present to me returns to yourself with an increase which becomes my liberality and greatness.’ It is the divine grace,” goes on this holy doctor, “which first excites a man to praise God, and he only returns to God his own gift: yet by his continually blessing God, the Lord pours forth his divine blessings upon him, which are so many new increases of charity in his soul.” 4

Note 1. This denomination was given to the valley from the territory where it was situated, which was called Ross. Frequent mention is made of this monastery in the acts of several Irish saints, under the name of Rosnat or Rosnant. [back]

Note 2. See Wilkins, Conc. t. 1. [back]

Note 3. In his History of Glastenbury, p. 130, published by Mr. Thomas Hearne, in 1726. [back]

Note 4. Maximes de S. Etienne de Grandmont, ch. 105. p. 228. Item 1. Sententiarum S. Stephani Grand. c. 105. p. 103. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


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