samedi 6 juin 2015

Saint GUDWAL (GURVAL), évêque et confesseur

Saint Gurval

Évêque et Confesseur (7ème s.)

Gudwal, Gurval ou Goal.

Gurval (ou Gudwal) succéda à saint Malo à la fin du VIe siècle comme évêque d’Aleth, puis se retira dans l’ermitage de Guer, en Morbihan. Nom issu du breton “gour” (homme) et “uual” (valeureux). (source: Pays de Guer-Coëtquidan)

Saint Gurval, fondateur de Guer - Plusieurs récits d'après les historiens et la tradition (InfoBretagne)


Saint Gudwal

Évêque d’Aleth

Fête le 6 juin

Église de France

† Guer, diocèse d’Aleth, 6 juin v. 623

Autre mention : 26 mars

Autres graphies : Gudwal, Gurval, Gulval ou Goal

Il fut probablement l’un des tout premiers missionnaires de la Bretagne, où il fonda plusieurs monastères. Évêque d’Aleth (puis Saint-Malo) au VIe siècle, il fonda le monastère de Plécit.

A la fin du VIe siècle, saint Gurval aurait succédé à saint Malo à l’évêché d’Aleth, puis il se serait retiré dans un ermitage à Guer (Morbihan). Il semble que le clergé malouin ait inventé ce saint Gurval au milieu du XVe siècle afin de soustraire sa paroisse natale à l’éphémère diocèse de Redon, dont le duc François II avait obtenu l’érection en 1449. Gurval aurait alors été paré des mérites d’un saint Gudwal, ou Goal, qui ne doit pas être antérieur au Xe siècle, et qui aurait fondé plusieurs monastères dont un sur la rivière d’Etel, aujourd’hui Locoal-Mendon, dans le Morbihan.


June 6

St. Gudwall, Bishop and Confessor

HE was born in Wales, and having consecrated himself to God with his whole heart from his cradle, he became abbot of a numerous monastery in the little isle of Plecit, which was a rock on the sea-coast surrounded with water, where one hundred and eighty-eight monks are said to have served God in constant unanimity and with perfect fervour. 1 He afterwards passed by sea to Cornwall, and travelling into Devonshire built himself an hermitage, which by the number of disciples who flocked to him, grew into a second monastery. Alford thinks this happened in the fourth, but he certainly flourished only in the seventh century, or at least in the close of the sixth, as Henschenius shows, who yet mistakes in placing his death in Devonshire, for he is the same person who in the calendars of Brittany in France is honoured on this day under the name of St. Gurwall, as is shown by F. Le Large the canon regular. 2 This holy man passing into Brittany in France, continued there to lead a retired life in the heavenly exercises of contemplation and prayer, and never ceasing by watching and fasting to subdue his body, and consummate the sacrifice of his penance. St. Malo pitched upon him for his successor in the episcopal see which he had founded at Aleth, and which since bears his name. St. Gudwall governed this diocess some time with great sanctity; but resigned it when broken in his old age, and retired to Guern, near St. Malo’s of Baignon in the diocess of St. Malo. Certain monks attended him though he lived in a grotto separated from them, devoting himself entirely to the preparation of his soul for his last passage. His death happened in that place about the end of the sixth, or beginning of the seventh century, on the 6th of June. In the inroads which the Normans made on the coast, certain monks carried away the treasure of his relics, first into Gatinois, where at Yevre-le-Chatel is still shown an old shrine in which they were deposited for some time; and one of the bones which was left is still preserved in another parish church in that country at Petiviers or Pluviers. 3 The monks some time after removed with their treasure towards their own coast, but chose Montreuil in Picardy, then a place of strength, for their second retreat. These relics remained there till the tenth century, Arnold I. or the Great, count of Flanders, who carried on a long war against the Normans, caused them to be translated to the great monastery of St. Peter’s of Blandine at Gant. He is honoured on the 6th of June in the British calendars, and called Gudwall; also in several churches in Gatinois, at Montreuil sur mer; and with singular veneration in the great monastery of St. Peter’s at Gant, which glories in possessing the treasure of his relics. By the corruption of a letter he is called St. Gurwall at St. Malo’s, and honoured on the same day; but an ancient calendar of that church, quoted by the Bollandists, calls him St. Gudwall, bishop of St. Malo’s. He is titular patron of Guern. In an ancient calendar of that diocess he is called St. Gudual, and St. Guidgal in another of the abbey of St. Meen in that diocess; St. Goual in a parish of the diocess of Vannes, of which he is titular patron, and St. Gudwall in a priory which bears his name, in an island depending on the abbey of Redon in the same bishopric. See Henschenius, F. Le Large, and Lobineau, Vies des SS. de la Bretagne, p. 131.

Note 1. His acts in Henschenius, written by a monk of Gant, pretend he was bishop in Wales, and resigned that dignity to lead a monastic life on the rock; but he was only raised to the episcopal dignity in Little Britain long after. [back]

Note 2. Le Large in his history of the illustrious men of St. Malo’s and in his posthumous history of the bishops of St. Malo. [back]

Note 3. See Chatelain. [back]

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


Saint Gudwall

Also known as
  • Curval
  • Gudwal
  • Gurval
  • Gurwall
  • Gudual
  • Guidgal
  • Goual

Monk. Abbot of a monastery on the isle of Plecit. Bishop. Founder of monasteries in Devon and Cornwall in England, and in Brittany, France.


St. Gudwal, Abbot and Bishop in Cornwall, Near Penzance

St. Gudwall, Gunwall, or Gunvell, was born in Wales about A.D. 500. Being entirely devoted to religion, he collected eighty-eight monks in a little island called Plecit, being no more than a rock surrounded by water. For some reason however, he abandoned this establishment, and passed by sea into Cornwall; and from thence he went into Devonshire, where he betook himself to the most holy, perfect, and useful state of a solitary anchorite; at length however again emerging, he sailed into Brittany, and there succeeded St. Malo, as bishop of that see, although he is said even then to have dwelt in a solitary cell, and to have died there at a very advanced age. His relics have been widely distributed, and various places in France have been called by his name.

St. Gudwal is known to have been a prominent figure in the Breton Church during the sixth century, from whence his relics were removed during a period of Viking activity. They were translated with due ceremony in 959 to the abbey of Mont Blandin, Ghent, where subsequently his feast was kept on 6 June.

GUDWAL, Saint (fl. 650), bishop and confessor, is said to have been of noble parentage and a native of Wales. At an early age he entered the priesthood, and became a bishop. Afterwards he led a party of 188 monks across the sea to Cornuvia (Cornwall), where they were hospitably received by Mevor, a prince of the country, and Gudwal founded a monastery not far off (according to the Bollandists, in Devonshire). After his death his monks carried his body to Monstreuil in Picardy, and it eventually, in 955 or 959, found a resting-place in the monastery of Blandinberg at Ghent, where his festival was kept on 6 June. Relics of Gudwal were also preserved at Yevre-le-Chastel and Pluviers in the Gatinois. Such is briefly the legend as given by the Bollandists, but Surius and Malebrancq make Mevor a native of Picardy, reading Corminia (Cormon) for Cornuvia, and say that it was there that Gudwal established his monastery. The parish of Gulval, near Penzance, is dedicated to him, and there is a celebrated holy well there, but the old oratory has been destroyed. Gudwal's life and miracles were written by a monk of Blandinberg in the twelfth century (the writer refers to Abbot Gislebert, who died in 1138), but there seems to have been an older life which has perished. The full life is printed in the 'Acta Sanctorum,' and abbreviations of it are given by Capgrave and Surius.
Gudwal must be distinguished from St. Gudwal or Gurval, an Irish monk and disciple of St. Brendan (484-577) [q. v.], who became second bishop of St. Malo in the seventh century. This saint's festival was also kept on 6 June, though the day is sometimes given as 6 Jan.

[Acta Sanctorum, 6 June, i. 715 sqq.; Surius Vitæ Sanctorum, vi. 108; Capgrave's Nova Legenda Anglie, p. 167; Malbrancq, De Morinis, lib. ii. c. xv.; Hardy's Cat. Brit. Hist. i. 371-3 (for a description of the various manuscripts of the Vita S. Gudwali); Haddan and Stubbs, i. 28, 31, 36, 161, ii. 82, 85; Dict. Christ. Biog. ii. 807, 823.]