samedi 11 mars 2017


Saint Constantin

Roi et martyr en Ecosse ( v. 576)

Son histoire a sans aucun doute quelques fondements historiques, même si elle a été grandement améliorée par des légendes. Roi de Cornouailles, il mena tout d'abord une vie déréglée. Puis il se retira dans le Pays de Galles et en Irlande pour faire pénitence. Il se rendit enfin en Écosse pour en être le missionnaire et c'est là qu'il fut tué par des pirates.

En Écosse, au VIe siècle, saint Constantin, roi, qui aurait été disciple de saint Colomba et martyr.

Martyrologe romain

Saint Constantin de Cornouailles, Higougène martyr ( 566 ou 588)

Notre Père saint Constantin fut, selon une tradition, le neveu du célèbre roi Arthur, à qui ce dernier légua sa couronne, quand il fut mortellement blessé.

Selon une autre tradition, il fut un roi de Cornouailles, qui abandonna son royaume et devint moine dans la cellule de Saint David. Puis, partant pour un autre pays, il y construisit un monastère.

Les traditions les plus importantes le concernant viennent d'Écosse. Elles affirment qu'il était le fils de Paterne, roi de Cornouailles, et qu’il épousa la fille du roi de Bretagne. Mais elle mourut, et lui, se lamentant sur sa mort et refusant d'être consolé, transmis son royaume à son fils, et dit adieu à tous, quitta son royaume et passa en Irlande.

Arrivant à un certain monastère, pendant sept ans, il travailla humblement transportant du grain au moulin du monastère et depuis celui-ci. Un jour, il était assis dans le moulin et il se dit: "Suis-je Constantin, roi de Cornouailles, dont la tête a si souvent porté le heaume et son corps la cuirasse? Non !" Un homme qui se cachait dans le moulin et qui l’entendit rapporta la chose à l'higoumène.

[L'higoumène] l’a ensuite emmené loin du moulin, a fait son éducation, et l'a élevé à la prêtrise. Peu de temps après, il quitta le monastère et se rendit auprès de saint Columba, et après cela, il fut envoyé par saint Kentigern, évêque de Glasgow, prêcher la Parole de Dieu dans le Galloway, dans le sud-ouest de l'Ecosse. Là, il fut élu higoumène d'un monastère, où il vécut une vie sainte jusqu'à la vieillesse.

Selon une autre tradition, il fonda un monastère à Govan sur la Clyde. Dans son extrême vieillesse, saint Constantin priait Dieu de lui donner une mort de martyr, et il entendit une voix du Ciel disant qu'il en serait ainsi qu’il l'avait demandé.

Puis il alla prêcher la parole de Dieu dans tout le pays, et arriva finalement à l'île de Kintyre. Là, quelques hommes mauvais le suivirent, et, s'approchant de son assistant, ils lui coupèrent la main. Le saint le guérit immédiatement en le touchant.

Puis ces hommes vils firent pleuvoir les coups sur le saint, lui coupèrent le bras, et le laissèrent pour mort. Appelant à lui les frères, le saint les réconforta par des paroles spirituelles. Puis il s'endormit en leur présence.

Selon la tradition écossaise, saint Constantin a été martyrisé, en 576, et selon la tradition irlandaise en 588.

Sa fête est au 9 mars au Pays de Galles et de Cornouailles, au 11 mars en Ecosse et au 18 Mars en Irlande.

Version française Claude Lopez-Ginisty

Constantine of Scotland M (AC)

Died 576; feast in Cornwall and Wales is March 9. King Constantine of Cornwall is reputed to have been married to the daughter of the king of Brittany and to have led a life full of vice and greed until he was led to conversion by Saint Petroc. Upon the death of his wife, he is said to have ceded his throne to his son in order to become a penitent monk at St. Mochuda Monastery at Rahan, Ireland. He performed menial tasks at the monastery, then studied for the priesthood and was ordained. Constantine became a missionary to the Picts in Scotland under Saint Columba and then Saint Kentigern, preached in Galloway, and founded and became abbot of a monastery at Govan near the River Clyde. In his old age, on his way to Kintyre, he was attacked by pirates who cut off his right arm, and he bled to death. He is regarded as Scotland's first martyr, although his story is often contradictory and unreliable. It is probable that the Scottish martyr is not the same person as the British king. There are two places in Cornwall called Constantine: one on the Helford River and the other near Padstow. The church on the first site was the larger and survived as a monastery until the 11th century. He was also patron of the Devon churches of Milton Abbot and Dunsford (Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth).

St. Constantine, Martyr

HE is said to have been a British king, who, after the death of his queen, resigned the crown to his son, and became a monk in the monastery of St. David. It is added that he afterwards went into North Britain, and joined St. Columba in preaching the gospel amongst the Picts, who then inhabited a great part of what is now called Scotland. He founded a monastery at Govane, near the river, Cluyd, converted all the land of Cantire to the faith of Christ, and died a martyr by the hands of infidels, towards the end of the sixth century. He was buried in his monastery of Govane, and divers churches were erected in Scotland under his invocation. But it seems most probable that the Scottish martyr is not the same person with the British king. Colgan supposes him to have been an Irish monk who had lived in the community of St. Carthag, at Rathane. 1

Note 1. See the MS. Lives of Scottish Saints, compiled by a Jesuit, who was nephew of Bishop Lesley, kept in the Scottish College at Paris. Several Scottish historians give the title of saint to Constantine III. king of the Scots, who, forsaking his crown and the world, entered himself amongst the Culdees, or religious men of St. Andrew’s, in 946. [back]

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

Saint Constantine of Cornwall


Born a Cornish prince, the son of King Paternus. After a life of vice, Constantine had a conversion experience, repented his sins, and studied the faith in Wales and Ireland. Missionary to the Scottish Picts. Worked with Saint Columbanus. Abbot of a monastery at Govan. Two places in Cornwall are named for him. Considered by some sources to be Scotland‘s first martyr.

  • murdered by thieves c.587 who cut off his right arm and allowed him to bleed to death

Constantine of Scotland

Feast day: March 11

King & Martyr

He died in 576. Constantine was a king of Cornwall, the son of Padeon, whose conversion probably dates from a confrontation with St. Petroc who was sheltering a stag which had taken refuge with him from Constantine's huntsmen…

Constantine married a princess from Brittany who died shortly after the marriage and the King was so desolated that he left his kingdom and sought sanctuary, first at S. David's monastery at Menevia and then in Ireland at Rathin, made famous by St. Carthage and Mochuda. He arrived at Rathin unannounced and was set to work in the granary, grinding corn in a stone quern. One day he was heard by one of the monks laughing and saying to himself, "Is this really Constantine, King of Cornwall, who wore a helmet and bore a shield, working this handmill? It is the same, and yet it is not".

This conversation was reported to the abbot who took him into the community and after a while he was ordained priest. He had spent seven years at the abbey before he was recognised and by now he was quite an old man, but he desired to visit Iona and set off with the blessing of the abbot. St. Columba received him kindly and sent him on to Sr. Kentigern, whom he may have met when he was at Menevia. While visiting Glasgow he stayed for some time with St. Mirren at Paisley and the two became great friends so that Constantine decided to build himself a monastery nearby at Govan by the river. It is interesting that the ruined church of St. Constantine, on the shore of the Bay that bears his name, has the parish of St Merryn adjoining it and the font in St Merryn's Church comes from St Constantine's.

After St. Constantine had founded his monastery at Govan he still felt impelled to preach the Faith of Christ to the heathen and he went to Kintyre with a party of his monks. There, by Campbeltown Loch a party of robbers came upon him and hacked him and his one attendant to pieces. The ruins of a church at Kilchouslan are supposed to mark the spot where the first of the martyrs of Scotland was attacked and left to die, bleeding to death from a severed arm. His brethren found him and received his blessing before he died. They took his body back to Govan and buried him in the church that has his name. His sarcophagus was discovered in 1855 and has been restored to the church which keeps his festival on March 11th.

Troparion of St Constantine Tone 5

Grieving at the loss of thy young spouse,/ thou didst renounce the world, O Martyr Constantine,/ but seeing thy humility God called thee to leave thy solitude and serve Him as a priest./ Following thy example,/ we pray for grace to see that we must serve God as He wills/ and not as we desire,/ that we may be found worthy of His great mercy.

Kontakion of St Constantine Tone 4

Thou wast born to be King of Cornwall,/ O Martyr Constantine,/ and who could have foreseen that thou wouldst become the first hieromartyr of Scotland./ As we sing thy praises, O Saint,/ we acknowledge the folly of preferring human plans to the will of our God.

Margaret Haig and the Orthodox Youth Festival List


Celebrated March 9 in Wales and Cornwall, March 11 in Scotland and March 18 in Ireland.

Our holy Father Constantine was, according to one tradition, the nephew of the famous King Arthur, to whom the latter bequeathed his crown when he was mortally wounded.

According to another, he was a king of Cornwall who abandoned his kingdom and became a monk in St. David's cell. Then, leaving for another land, he built a monastery there.

The fullest traditions concerning him come from Scotland. They state that he was the son of Paternus, king of Cornwall, and married the daughter of the king of Brittany. But she died, and he, grieving over her death and refusing to be comforted, delivered his kingdom to his son, and bidding farewell to all, left his kingdom and crossed over to Ireland.

Coming to a certain monastery, for seven years he worked humbly carrying grain to and from the monastery mill. One day he was sitting in the mill and said to himself; "Am I Constantine, king of Cornwall, whose head has so often worn the helmet and his body the breastplate? No, I am not." A man who was hiding in the mill overheard this and reported it to the abbot.

He then took him away from the mill, educated him, and raised him to the priesthood. Soon after this, he left the monastery and went to St. Columba; and afterwards he was sent by St. Kentigern, the bishop of Glasgow, to preach the word of God in Galloway, in South-West Scotland. There he was elected abbot of a monastery, where he lived a holy life until old age. According to another tradition, he founded a monastery at Govan on the Clyde. In his extreme old age, St. Constantine prayed God to give him a martyr's death, and he heard a voice from heaven saying that it should be as he had asked. Then he went preaching the word of God throughout the land, and came eventually to the island of Kintyre. There some evil men followed him, and, coming up to his attendant, they cut off his hand. The saint immediately healed him with a touch.

Then the evil men showered blows upon the saint, cut off his arm, and left him for dead. Calling the brethren to him, the saint comforted them with spiritual words. Then he fell asleep in their presence.
St. Constantine was martyred, according to the Scottish tradition, in 576, and according to the Irish tradition in 588; and his feastday is March 9 in Wales and Cornwall, March 11 in Scotland and March 18 in Ireland.

Holy Martyr Constantine, Pray To God For Us!

By Vladimir Moss. Posted with permission.

San Costantino Re e martire

Cornovaglia, 520 circa – Kintyre, Scozia, 9 maggio 576

Vissuto nel VI secolo, fu re dell’attuale Cornovaglia. Il primo periodo della sua vita fu a quanto si racconta “scellerato”. Sacrilego e pluriassassino, si sarebbe separato dalla moglie, figlia del re di Bretagna Armoricana, per essere più libero. Convertitosi al cristianesimo, cambiò radicalmente vita, abbandonò il trono e si ritirò in un monastero irlandese. Dopo sette di vita vissuta in austerità e penitenza, studiando le scritture, fu consacrato sacerdote e invitato in Scozia sotto la direzione di San Columba, per evangelizzare le popolazioni indigene. Lì fu martirizzato da fanatici pagani. La sua vita ci testimonia quale sia la potenza del Vangelo di Cristo che può portare cambiamenti radicali nella vita dell’uomo.

Etimologia: Costantino = che ha fermezza, tenace, dal latino

Emblema: Corona, Palma

Martirologio Romano: In Scozia, san Costantino, re, discepolo di san Colomba e martire.

In data odierna la Chiesa Cattolica festeggia il re San Costantino (Costentyn in cornico, Custennin in gallese, Constantinus in latino e Constantine in inglese), che coronò la sua travagliatissima esistenza con la corona del martirio, grazie alla quale il suo nome emerse dalle fitte nebbie medievali per imporsi alla devozione dei cristiani, in particolar modo nell’arcipelago britannico. Questo santo non va confuso con il celeberrimo imperatore, anch’egli venerato come santo specialmente dalle Chiese Orientali, sia cattoliche che ortodosse, e festeggiato al 21 maggio.

Tutto ciò che sappiamo di certo su sul santo di oggi è costituito dalle informazioni tramandate da Gildas, che ebbe a definirlo “cucciolo tirannico dell’impura leonessa di Damonia”. Si presuppone che in questo caso per Dumnonia si intenda la regione sud-occidentale dell’Inghilterra, cioè pressapoco la Cornovaglia, piuttosto che l’omonimo regno sviluppatosi nell’odierna Scozia. Costantino, nato verso il 520, ascese probabilmente al trono nel 537 dopo la morte di suo padre Cado. Gildas narra come il primo periodo della sua vita fu a dir poco “scellerato” e lo critica anche per aver ripudiato sua moglie, figlia del sovrano bretone Armoricana, allo scopo di commettere indisturbato parecchi adulteri. Inoltre, dopo aver giurato di voler fare la pace con i suoi nemici, si travestì da abate, entrò nel santuario dove questi si trovavano e li uccise spietatamente ai piedi dell’altare.

Anche il cavaliere arturiano Sir Costantino, che secondo l’“Historia Regum Britanniae” di Goffredo di Monmouth successe a re Artù sul trono di trono di Britannia, si sarebbe travestito da vescovo ed avrebbe ucciso in una chiesa i due figli di Mordred, con cui era in conflitto. Per tale motivo questa figura leggendaria a giudizio di alcuni potrebbe essere basata su quella storica di Costantino di Dumnonia.

Non pochi nobili personaggi in quell’area e nel medesimo periodo portano il nome di Costantino, fattore che rende ardua una netta distinzione fra di essi. Pare comunque cosa certa che il Costantino venerato come santo sarebbe quello convertitosi al cristianesimo grazie ad un incontro con San Petroc, anch’egli di nobile estrazione, dando così tangibile testimonianza della potenza del Vangelo di Cristo che può portare cambiamenti radicali nella vita di ogni uomo, anche del più accanito peccatore. In seguito alla conversione, morta la giovane moglie, abdicò in favore del figlio Bledric per dedicarsi alla vita religiosa.

Fondò chiese, attraversò il canale di Bristol e visse molti anni come monaco in Irlanda, cimentandosi nell’ascesi e nello studio delle Sacre Scritture, ricevendo addirittura dopo la dovuta preparazione l’ordinazione presbiterale. Si ritirò in eremitaggio a Costyneston (Cosmeston), nei pressi di Cardiff, e fu anche discepolo di San Columba di Iona e di San Kentingern. Spinto da questi grandi santi si spinse verso nord, ove fondò il monastero di Govan, ne divenne primo abate ed intraprese l’evangelizzazione dei Pitti, popolazione indigena dell’odierna Scozia. Fu in questo periodo e grazie al suo apostolato che tale paese si convertì al cristianesimo, assumendo il nome di “Scotia”.

Costantino, apostolo della Scozia, era destinato ad essere il primo martire a spargere il proprio sangue su quella terra per la sua fede nel Vangelo che andava predicando sulle pubbliche piazze: il 9 maggio 576 a Kintyre, infatti, fu trucidato da alcuni pagani fanatici e le rovine di un’antica chiesa a Kilchouslan segnano ancora oggi il luogo ove con ogni probabilità il santo spirò. Le sue spoglie mortali, ritrovate dai suoi discepoli, vennero traslate a Govon nella chiesa che prese a portare il suo nome. Nacque così una forte venerazione nei suoi confronti, che perdura sino ai giorni nostri.

La festa di San Costantino è celebrata il 9 marzo in Galles e Cornovaglia, l’11 marzo in Scozia ed il 18 marzo in Irlanda, anche se il Martyrologium Romanum lo commemora solamente in data odierna. E’ possibile, a seconda delle fonti, trovare questo santo citato come San Costantino di Cornovaglia, San Costantino di Dumnonia o San Costantino di Scozia. Tuttavia non va confuso, oltre che con il celebre imperatore, anche con altri santi sovrani vissuti in seguito sempre in Gran Bretagna e comunque non censiti dalla Bibliotheca Sanctorum: San Costantino re di Strathclyde, San Costantino I re di Scozia e San Costantino II re di Scozia.


Rattristato per la perdita della tua giovane sposa,
tu hai rinunciato al mondo , o martire Costantino,
ma vedendo la tua umiltà
Dio ti ha chiamato a lasciare la tua solitudine
e servirlo come sacerdote.
Seguendo il tuo esempio,
noi preghiamo di avere la grazia di capire
che dobbiamo servire Dio secondo la sua volontà
e non come desideriamo,
per essere riconosciuti degni della sua misericordia.

Tu nascesti per esssere re di Cornovaglia,
o martire Costantino,
e chi avrebbe potuto prevedere
che tu saresti diventato il primo martire di Scozia.
Cantando le tue lodi, o santo martire,
noi riconosciamo la vanitàdi preferire
i progetti umani alla volontà del nostro Dio.

Autore: Fabio Arduino