Monday, March 1, 2010


Pictures of St David, St David's Cell near Llanthony when he was a hermit, on his return from Jerusalem .
Pictures of the Pembrokeshire Coast and the place where ST David was conceived at St Non's Bay. St Non's Well and Chapel and a Lourdes Grotto established this century.
I will post more from St David's later today.


St David was born of King Sante who forced himself on the hapless nun Non at St Davids in Pembrokeshire-formerly the Roman province of Menevia. Non was also of Royal blood.Her well and chapel still remain in St Non’s Bay near St David’s Abbey.-now St David’s Anglican Cathedral. David was brought up piously, learnt Latin, Welsh, Greek and other subjects at a local monastery by his teacher, Paulinus (Palin)whom he later cured of blindness. There are many miracles ascribed to him.

Ordained in Rome and consecrated as a Catholic Bishop in Jerusalem, David returned to live in Gwent for a while in the tiny chapel by the Honddu Brook, in the Golden Valley of Ewyas in the mountains to the North of the Country in the shadow of the Skirryd or Holy Mountain, overlooking Abergavenny.

At the time of the crucifixion the sky went black and the local legend has it that the mountain split in two, cleft by the huge flaming sword of St Michael. Services are held up there nowadays and farmers collect earth to make their crops grow from there.

David lived in the cell in this beautiful valley-unspoiled even today, until St Dyfrig and St Deiniol visited him and begged him to come to Ceredigion(Camarthen to preach against the heresy of Pelagius,as the Pope had sent St Germain to do earlier.


Pelagius was a Culdee Monk (semi Druid)(Known as ‘Morgan’ in the British tongue) and wore the moon shaped tonsure of that ascetic Celtic Johannine Catholic Order. He became better known c. 380 when he moved to Rome to write and teach about his ascetic practices.[3] There, he wrote a number of his major works In Rome, Pelagius became concerned about the moral laxity of society. He blamed this laxity NOT on the work of the ‘powers and principalities’ and people’s sinfulness through disobedience of God’s will and the Ten Commandments but tried to pin this laxity and sinfulness on the theology of divine grace preached by Augustine, among others, especially the African Bishops.

Around 405AD, it is said that Pelagius heard a quotation from Augustine's Confessions: "Give me what you command and command what you will".This was about complete abandonment to God’s Will and acceptance. This verse concerned Pelagius because occurred to him that that Augustine was teaching doctrine contrary to Church’s understanding of grace and free will. He decided to reject original sin as disobedience of God’s explicit command not to eat of the tree of Good and Evil and the ‘whiff’ of gnosticism or knowledge being the basis for salvation rather than repentence and the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and hence belief in the faith of this fact as well as trying to live in the Christian way and in obdience to the tradition of Christ’s chosen representative and minister Peter.


When Alaric the Goth sacked Rome in 410, Pelagius and his close follower Caelestius fled to Carthage where he continued his work and briefly encountered St. Augustine in person. He is subsequently in Palestine as late as 418AD.

Unfortunately, it seems that he collected many followers of his unorthodox self divined teaching, inspite of not being an ordained priest or clergyman (perhaps because of his fanaticism) but just an educated monk. Pope Zosimus asked to see him after his teachings had caused so much trouble that the African bishops wanted him excommmunicated.

Pelagius claimed he had been misrepresented and not said any of the things ascribed to him. He was sent back to his Culdee monastery in Britain. Pope Zosimus was in duty bound forced to strengthen the original teaching of Sin and Grace as it had been taught from the earliest years through not only the gospels but also the letters of the people the apostles taught and so, upon the authority of the Keys of Peter, defined it as it had always been defined and believed. Adam would not have died if he had obeyed God-Pelagius claimed he would have died anyway.Pope Zosimus clarfied these teachings for Pelgius, who is then said to agree he had been wrong.

What he had falsely taught reached epic proportions in Britain and threatened to shatter the church's unity. Considering Pelagius or Morgan was not a priest nor even a deacon but had decided all these things for himself, it was a threat to the unity of the church’s teaching, a call to unity that had been made by Christ himself.


David did not want to be torn away from his retreat,in the Llanthony valley but eventually went, when Deiniol and Dyfrig refused to eat unless he agreed!!!They all went to the synod (Church Apostles meeting) at Llandewi Brefi where the uproar was settled by David speaking with Apostolic Authority as Bishop of the Welsh.


Firstly five large white candles were set up behind David and lit.These represented the Five Wounds, which traditionally were symbols of the hundreds of wounds on the body of the crucified Jesus. He prayed for inspiration and the delegates attended Mass. Then in his homily to the assembled Clergy explained that Morgan, orPelagius was not a priest, had NOT the authority of the Chair of Peter and that the scriptures and tradition of the Church of Paul and the early Fathers held the true teaching from earliest times. (St Paul: Hold tight to the TRADITION you have been given-no Bible available was provided to him or the early Church as it had not been written-it was only the tradition and teaching of the church).
God sent two signs to the assembled clergy.

1 THE DOVE OF PEACE: This was an age old symbol of the Holy Spirit . Such a dove is recorded as having flown down from heaven and rested on the saint’s shoulder.

2 LEVITATION: That it was recorded that David could not be seen above all the people assembled there. He is said to have placed his handkerchief on the ground and the ground rose under him so he could be seen. Either this miracle occurred or as others claim that as David defended the divinity of Jesus , he levitated with the strength of his spirituality. He reaffirmed Pelagius, as a non priest and one who had ‘gone out on his own’ had no authority to define theology for the church and certainly not to lead them into grave error over the divinity of Jesus, affirmed overwhelmingly by the Church Councils.


The Synod affirmed the true teaching of the Church and insisted David replaced Dyfrig (Dubricius) who was resigning to Llandaff and David became the Archbishop at Caerleon.


David practised what he preached.

He found he Roman town too busy, and longing for solitude took the main church to Menevia (Mynwy) in Pembrokeshire.

David did physical hard work in the fields, pulling a plough with his own body..
He did not drink alcohol and was called ‘The Water Drinker’.
He did many deeds of great mercy and had a special compassion for widows and orphans and saw to their welfare.
He was said to be a harpist and found joy in creating the music of the angels.
When he died in 580AD, we are told the church at St Davids (which houses his relics and the other saints became full of angels and flew with him up to heaven amongs the weeping of the monks and laity who adored him.
From the Life of David by Rhygyfarch (Ricemarch)


His reputation was so great, as preacher, orator, miracle worker and Bishop, when formal canonisation was introduced he was canonised by Pope Callixtus II in 1120 for his powerful defence of the unity of Church teaching.His canonisation was one of the first undertaken by the newly formed Congegation of Saints , unlike many other saints who were acclaimed by the vox populi (voice of the bishops and people who knew a saint when they saw one!)


This made David an excellent choice for a national patron saint.-what is divided is weak.


One story David told is of a man who was carrying a sacred candle and light to St Davids, a light which kept his prayer going whilst he journeyed to St Davids-(TY DEWI) David says that the young man rested overnight at the inn, substituting one candle for another as each burnt up and replacing it in its lantern. Whilst going firther that night, he met a man along the road, also carrying a lantern, but his candle had been blown out by a gust of air, and he begged for the light. The young man obliged, being careful his own did not blow out.He arrived at Saint David’s , made his pilgrimage and in expiation for his sin, decided to return home with constant prayer on his lips and rigorous fasting, and again carrying his own ‘eternal light’. On his way, his candle threatened to die so he took a new one, and as he tried to light it from the dying candle, a gust of air blew it out. He was very sad but as he prayed a man came along the path going to St David’s and asked what was wrong. The sad young man told him, and the pilgrim told him to hold out the lantern and he lit it wwith the candle from his own lantern.’ Don’t worry’ he told David . ‘This is still your everlasting Light’. Because you stopped to share it with me-it has never gone out at all. This is the same flame’. The young man was filled with joy, because the pilgrim was the man with whom he had shared the Light. Traditionally this is one of David’s favourite stories to explain about sharing the Light of Christ.

St David's Abbey at TyDewi is now St David’s Cathedral, held by the Church in Wales and the relics available there in the reliquary, not far from the large picture of St Julius of Caerleon which looks down on his chapel. Gwent can be proud that our greatest saint lived at the llan in Llanthony in the county for some time, prayed in it and hallowed it. In 2006 Saint David’s Day was officially celebrated on 28 February by Roman Catholics and on 2 March by the Anglican Church in Wales, because 1 March 2006 was Ash Wednesday, which is a day of penitence on which feast days are not celebrated


Saint David's Day begins in many Welsh primary schools with a religious service.

Children dress in the traditional Welsh costumes.

Folk dancing in the ruins at Saint David's

Girls wear a petticoat and overcoat, made of Welsh flannel, and a tall hat, worn over a frilled bonnet.
Boys wear a white shirt, a Welsh flannel waistcoat, black trousers, long wool socks and black shoes.
Chilldren enjoy traditional Welsh dances, sing Welsh folk songs and recite Welsh poems.
Secondary schools

Some secondary schools in Wales celebrate the Saint's day with an Eisteddfod)eistedd means to sit-so a sitting of the musical, artistic and poetic BARDS),now a festival of singing, dancing, and reciting. The climax of the Eisteddfod is often a choir competition. They will honour the great patron saint of Wales, Holy David.His feast day, day of his death and canonisation on March 1st was honoured in every part of Britain –Scotland, England and Ireland, until the Reformation. The relics were hidden from the Destroyers –as a public holiday.
In a poll conducted for Saint David’s Day in 2006 , it was found that 87% of the Welsh wanted it to be a bank holiday, with 65% prepared to sacrifice a different bank holiday to ensure this. A petition in 2007 to make St. David’s Day a bank holiday was rejected by the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair.(!!!)

Little Devotion to St David;
+In the Name.....
Apostles Creed
Our Father
Hail Mary
Lord, thank you for the service of your holy servant, David of Wales and his example of what living as a true Christian should be. Thank you for his defence of Truth and Unity and his mission to bring the Welsh people to the Light of Christ.

St David of Wales, pray for us!
St Winifride, pray for us

SS Teilo, Padarn and Cadoc, pray for us
St John Kemble
St David Lewis
St John Roberts
St Philip Evans
St Richard Gwyn pray for us
Pray for us O Mother of God
That we may be worthy of the Promises of Christ.

In nomine Patris, Filio et Spiritui Sancto.


breadgirl said...

Hello Mary

I just dropped in to wish you a very Happy St David's Day.

Wow! This is a great post. Thanks loads.

God bless you.

Mary in Monmouth said...

Thank you Breadgirl. I have also done a collection of Podcasts-my reading of the Life of St David by Rhygfarch, translated into English.

You can get it by downloading Mary in Monmouth podcast from iTunes and then choosing the relevant was.
Happy St Davids Day to you too!
Mary x