Thursday, April 16, 2009

St Ia the Martyr at St Ives and the Angels Part One

The Angels of St Ives, mediaeval angels from the chancel which have been repainted and regilded in 1996.They have been photographed for the postcards all together, because each one is high up in the chancel of the church building and difficult to see in detail.


These first images are all from Sacred Hearts and St Ia, St Ives


St Ia, martyred Saint of Cornwall, Wales and Ireland


(Welsh: Ia; Latin: Hia; English: Ive)

St. Ia ((Born c.AD 480)is generally thought to have been an Irish Princess and the Sister of Euny, erc and Anta.Ia would probably been named after an earlier Saint of the Church as many of the Celtic saints were.We know of other cases, King Meurig named after St Maurice (St Moritz)and Tewdrig after Bishop Theoderick. Ia, a strange name by Celtic standards, may have been named after an earlier Persian Saint Ia.She was a Persian martyr, a Greek slave slain for the faith. Ia was so successful in converting Persian woman that she was arrested and tortured by King Shapur II’s forces for several months. She was flogged to death and then beheaded. Her story like that of the hapless Saint Tecla of the Eastern Church, gave inspiration to the celtic people who named their children after them. There was still great communication with Rome and Jerusalem, with the saints visiting these places regularly.

Dinas Ia, Porth Ia

The Cornish name for St Ives is Porth Ia and both the Catholic and the ancient Anglican church in the town are dedicated to her, and both open to the public for prayer and for viewing.All the princesses are said to have been early converts to the faith by St Patrick. Later Ia decided to go on a White Martyrdom to spread the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

She embarked in a small boat with Fingar and Piala, who hoped to get to Cornwall. They trusted that their boat- but Ia arrived late at the port only to see her friends disappearing over the horizon.She was so frustrated to stand on the beach watching them disappear. She sobbed bitterly on the sand to pray .The Legend takes over as a leaf appeared on the water and seemed to grow into a boat.She touched it with her pilgrim's staff tos see if it would sink, but the leaf appeared to grow and grow and soon it was large enough for her to climb aboard and sail to Ireland. More likely is that a small boat was found for her somehow, and she was able to sail after them and the conditions were good enough for her to reach Cerniw and West Penwith in safety, even before her friends did.It was a very Celtic thing to engage the magical in with the life of a saint. Various people beieve, however, that Ia was Welsh rather than Irish and a member of the Brycheiniog family, but at this time the general tradition was that she was Irish. However the trip from Ireland would have been a hazardous one and much further than the one from South Wales.


Ia became a disciple of St. Barruc (our St Barruc who gave his name to Barry-and his settlement to Barry Island) and was soon joined by other Welsh saints, Elwyn and 777 companions. Hunt Nash writes

She founded the church of Pen Dinas (Dinas Ia, part of St. Ives) and her holy well, the Venton Eia (or Ffynnon Ia) was nearby at Porthmeor. She also set up a chapel at Troon in Camborne area, near another well, the Fenton Ear (or Ffynnon Ia). She may have also made sojourns to Brittany, where Plouyé near Carhaix is named after her.

Ia was a tricky person

Ia could be quite strident in her preaching and denunciations of local rulars and their morality and this did not make her popular.The local king, another King Tewdar and she eventually made him so uncomfortable that he had her murdered on Connor Downs with some of her companions and so she joined the long list of Christian Martyrs and was buried at Porth Ia (St Ives) and her feast day on 3rd February.

The iconography represents Ia clothed in white wool, as an Irish Abbey, with a white veil, sometimes crowned (with a Martyrs' crown) and holding a leaf.

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