Life of Saint David, by Arthur Wade-Evans

The Life of Saint David, by Rhygyvarch

stained glass window Saint David of Wales, Great Saint Mary's church, Cambridge, England; swiped with permission from the flickr account of Father Lawrence Lew, OP

Here begins the Life of the blessed David, who also is Dewi Bishop and Confessor. March 1st.

1. Our Lord, although he loved and foreknew all his own before the creation of the world, has foretold some by many clear revelations. Thus that saint, whom baptism calls David but the people Dewi, became famous, not only because, thirty years before he was bom, he was foretold by truth-telling oracles of angels, first to his father, then to Saint Patrick, but also because he was enriched with donations of mystical gifts.

2. For on a certain occasion, his father, Sant by name and merits, who relied on his royal power over the people of Ceredigion, which subsequently he laid aside to procure a heavenly kingdom, was warned in dreams by an angelic voice, which he heard, “Tomorrow on waking thou shalt go hunting, and having killed a stag near a river, thou shalt find there three gifts by the river Teivi, namely, the stag which thou pursuest, a fish, and a swarm of bees settled in a tree in the place which is called Llyn Henllan. Of these three, therefore, reserve a honeycomb, a part of the fish, and of the stag, which send to be kept for a son, who shall be born to thee, to the Monastery of Maucannus,” which till now is called the Monastery of the Deposit. These gifts foretell his life, for the honeycomb proclaims his wisdom, for as honey in wax, so he held a spiritual mind in a temporal body. And the fish declares his aquatic life, for as a fish lives in water, so he, rejecting wine and beer and everything that can intoxicate, led a blessed life in God on bread and water only, wherefore David is also named “of the Aquatic Life.” The stag signifies his power over the Old Serpent, for as a stag, having deprived serpents of their food, seeks a fountain of water and is refreshed as in youth with the strength received, so he, borne on high as on stags’ feet, deprived the Old Serpent of the human race of his power of hurting him and fled to the fountain of life with constant Sowings of tears, and, being renewed from day to day, so brought it to pass that in the name of the Holy Trinity, by the frugality of moderate repasts, he began to have saving knowledge [and] the power of governing demons.

3. Then Patrick, polished with Roman learning and teeming with excellences, having been made a bishop, sought the people from whom he had lived in exile, among whom he might by unwearied toil replenish the lamp of fruitful endeavour by a double portion of the oil of charity, unwilling to place the same under a bushel, but on a stand that it might shine on all to the glory of the universal Father. He came to the country of the people of Ceredigion, wherein he sojourned a little while. He enters Demetica rura, the country of Dyved, and there wandering about arrived at length at the place which was named Vallis Rosina; and perceiving that the place was pleasant, he vowed to serve God faithfully there. But when he was revolving these things in his mind, an angel of the Lord appeared to him. “God,” said he, “hath not disposed this place for thee, but for a son who is not yet born, nor will he be born until thirty years are past.” On hearing these words Saint Patrick grieved and was confounded, and in anger he exclaimed, “Why hath the Lord despised his servant who has served him from his infancy with fear and love? Why hath he chosen another not yet born into this light nor will be born for thirty years?” And he prepared to fly, and to abandon his Lord, Jesus Christ, saying, “Inasmuch as my labour is reduced to nothing in the sight of my Lord, and one is preferred before me, who is not yet born, I will go and submit no longer to such toil.” But the Lord loved Patrick much, and sent to him his angel to coax him with kindly words, saying to him, “Rejoice, Patrick, for the Lord hath sent me to thee that I may show thee the whole of the island of Ireland from the seat which is in Vallis Rosina” which now is named “the Seat of Patrick.” And the angel says to him, “Exult, Patrick, for thou shalt be the apostle of the whole of that island which thou seest, and thou shalt suffer many things in it for the name of the Lord thy God, but the Lord will be with thee in all things which thou shalt do, for as yet it has not received the word of life; and there thou oughtest to do good; there the Lord has prepared a seat for thee; there thou shalt shine in signs and miracles, and thou shalt subdue the whole people to God. Let this be to thee for a sign. I will show thee the whole island. Let the mountains be bent; the sea shall be made smooth; the eye bearing forth across all things, looking out from [this] place, shall behold the promise.” At these words he raised his eyes from the place in which he was standing, which now is called “the Seat of Patrick,” and beheld the whole island. At length the mind of Patrick was appeased, and he cheerfully quitted the sacred spot for holy David; and preparing a ship in Porth Mawr, he raised from the dead a certain old man, Criumther by name, who for twelve years had lain buried by that shore; and Patrick sailed for Ireland, taking with him the man he had just raised from the dead, who afterwards was made a bishop.

4. When the aforesaid thirty years were done, divine power sent Sant, king of the country of Ceredigion, as far as a community of the people of Dyved. And the king met a nun, a virgin called Nonnita, a very beautiful and graceful girl, whom desiring he took by force and violated. And she conceived her son, holy David, who neither before nor after knew a man, but, continuing in chastity of mind and body, led a most faithful life, for from that time of conception she lived on bread and water only. In the place wherein she conceived on being forced, there lies a small level space, pleasing to the sight, and well supplied with moisture from above. On this level space at that time of her conception two great stones appeared, one for the head and the other for the feet, which had not formerly been seen. For the earth, rejoicing at her conception, opened its breast that it might both preserve the modesty of the girl and foretell the importance of her offspring.

5. As her womb was growing, the mother, for the purpose of offering alms and oblations for childbirth according to correct custom, enters a certain church to hear the preaching of the Gospel, which Saint Gildas, son of Caw, used to preach in the time of King Triphunus and his sons. When the mother had entered, Gildas became suddenly dumb, as if his throat were closed, and was silent. When asked by the people why he had stopped preaching and was mute, he replied, “I am able to speak to you in ordinary conversation, but preach I cannot. But go you out, and cause me to abide alone that so perhaps I may be able to preach.” When, therefore, the congregation had gone outside, the mother secreted herself in a corner and lay hid, not that she would disobey the order, but thirsting with vehement desire for the precepts of life she remained to demonstrate the status of her mighty offspring. Then even a second time, trying with all the effort of his heart, restrained from heaven he prevailed nothing. Being frightened at this he speaks out in a high voice. “I adjure thee,” says he, “if any one lies hid from me, that thou shouldest show thyself from thy hiding-place.” Then she answering said, “I lie hid here between the door and the wall.” But he relying on divine providence said, “Go thou outside, but let the people re-enter the church.” And every one came into his seat as before, and Gildas preached clearly as from a trumpet. And the congregation asked holy Gildas saying, “Why couldest thou not the first time preach the Gospel of Christ to us, anxious to listen?” And Gildas answered and said, “Call hither the nun, who went outside the church.” And when the mother was questioned, she confessed that she was pregnant, and Saint Nonnita said, “Lo, I am with you.” But he said, “The son, who is in the womb of that nun, has grace and power and rank greater than I, because God has given him status and sole rule and primacy over all the saints of Britannia for ever, before and after judgment. Farewell, brothers and sisters. I am not able to abide here longer owing to the son of this nun, because to him is delivered sole rule over all the people of this island, and it is necessary for me to go to another island, and to leave the whole of Britannia to this woman’s son.” One thing was clearly manifest to all, that she was about to bring forth into the world one who in honourable status, effulgent wisdom, and eloquent speech would excel all the doctors of Britannia.

6. In the meantime there was a certain tyrant in the neighbourhood, who had heard from a prophecy of the druids, that a son was about to be born within his borders, whose power would fill the whole country. He, who, intent on earthly things only, deemed his highest good to consist in these lowest, was tortured with black envy. And so the place, where subsequently the son was born, being made known by the revelations of the druids, he said, “Alone will I sit above the spot for so many days, and whomsoever I shall find resting there or thereabouts shall fall and die by my sword.” These things being so determined upon, and the nine months having elapsed whereby the time of birth was at hand, the mother on a day went forth along that path where the place of child-bearing was, which the tyrant was watching in accordance with the druids’ prognostic. And as the time for bringing forth was urgent, the mother sought the aforesaid spot. But on that day there prevailed such a storm of wind that none could even go out of doors, for there was a vast display of lightning, a dreadful clangour of thunder, and great floods caused by hailstorms and rain. But the place, wherein the mother cried in her travail, shone with so serene a light that it glistened as though the sun was visible and God had brought it in front of the clouds. The mother in her labour had a certain stone close by, whereon, when urged by pain, she had leaned with her hands, for which reason the stone shows to those who examine it traces impressed as on wax. Dividing in the middle, it condoled with the sorrowing mother, one part leaping above the nun’s head as far as her feet, when the child-bearer was bringing forth. In this place a church is situated, and in the foundation of its altar this stone lies covered.

7. Again, when he was baptized by Aelvyw, bishop of the people of Mynyw (or of the people of Munster), a fountain of clearest water, bursting forth, suddenly appeared in that place for the administration of baptism, which had never been seen before. Moreover, it cured the eyes of a blind monk, who held him while he was baptized; for that blind saint, who, so it is said, had been born from his mother’s womb without nostril and without eyes, perceiving that the infant, which he held in his bosom, was full of the grace of the Holy Ghost, took the water, wherein the body of the holy infant had been thrice dipped, and sprinkled his own face with it three times, and, sooner than said, he joyfully received the sight of his eyes and the full completion of his countenance. And all who were present glorified the Lord and holy David on that day.

8. The place where holy David was educated is called Vetus Rubus, Hen Vynyw; and he grew up full of grace, and lovely to behold. And there it was that holy David learned the alphabet, the psalms, the lessons for the whole year, the masses, and the synaxis; and there his fellow disciples saw a pigeon with a gold beak playing at his lips, and teaching him, and singing hymns of God.

9. But it was at a subsequent time, when his virtuous merits had increased, he having preserved his flesh pure from the embraces of a wife, that he was made priest and raised to sacerdotal dignity.

10. After this he went to Paulens (or Paulinus)the scribe, a disciple of Saint Germanus the bishop, who in a certain island was leading a life pleasing to God, and who taught him in the three parts of reading until he was a scribe. And Saint David tarried there many years reading and fulfilling what he read.

11. And it happened while the holy David was with the master, Paulens, that the latter lost the sight of his eyes by reason of an intense pain in them. And he summoned all his disciples in succession that they might look into his eyes and bless them, and they did as he had commanded them, and received relief from none of them. At last he invited the holy David to him, and said to him, “Holy David, examine my eyes, for they pain me much.” And the holy David answered and said, “My father, bid me not to look on thy countenance, for these ten years I have laboured at scripture with thee, and so far I have not glanced at thy face.” And Paulens, admiring his excessive modesty, says, “As it is so, it will suffice that thou bless my eyes with a touch and I shall be well.” And straightway, as he touched them, they were healed in the twinkling of an eye; and when the blindness of his eyes -had been expelled, the master received the light which had been removed. Then thanks are rendered to God; and Paulens (or Paulinus) blessed holy David with all the blessings which are written in the Old Testament and in the New.

12. Not long after an angel appeared to Paulens. “It is time” (said he) “that holy David should double his talents by merchandize, and consign the talent of wisdom entrusted to him not to the earth, digging indolently with the slow languor of sloth, but augment the money which he has received of his Lord, with a larger increment of gain, so that he, appointed thereto, might, by amassing bundles of souls for the heavenly barns of eternal blessedness, bring them into the joy of the Lord.” For from what numbers, after ploughing with the nail of exhortation and sowing with the seed of wheat, did he obtain the fruit of good harvest, of some indeed a hundred-fold, of others sixty-fold, of others thirty-fold! For not ploughing equally, with much force in the case of an ox and with less in the case of an ass, administering the strong meat of life to some and the milk of pious exhortation to others, confining some within the barriers of a monastic cloister and weaning others, who followed a broader life and whom he exhorted with divers instructions, from the deceitful lusts of worldly pleasures, he became all things to all men.

13. For he founded twelve monasteries to the praise of God: first, arriving at Glastonbury, he built a church there; then he came to Bath, and there causing deadly water to become salutary with a blessing, he endowed it with perpetual heat, rendering it fit for people to bathe; afterwards he came to Croyland, and Repton; thence to Colva, and Glascwm, and he had with him a two-headed altar; after that he founded the monastery of Leominster; afterwards in the region of Gwent, in a place which is called Raglan, he built a church; then he founded a monastery in a place which is called Llan Gyvelach, in the region of Gower, in which, afterwards, he received the altar, which was sent to him. Also he cured Peibio, the blind king of Erging, by restoring light to his eyes. Moreover, two saints, Boducat and Maitrun, in the province of Cedweli, submitted to him.

14. When, therefore, these had been founded in the usual way, and what was of use for canonical discipline had been arranged, and a rule for the monastic life had been established, he returned to the place, whence he had previously started forth on his wanderings, that is, to Vetus Rubus, Hen Vynyw. And bishop Guistilianus, his fratruelis, sojourned there; and as they comforted one another with religious talk, Saint David said, “An angel of the Lord hath spoken to me saying, ‘From the place where thou dost propose to serve, scarcely one in a hundred will be able to escape to the kingdom of God.’ And he hath shown me a place whence few shall go to hell, for everyone who shall have been buried in the cemetery of that place in sound faith shall obtain mercy.”

15. On a certain day David and his three most faithful disciples, accompanied by a great throng of fellow-disciples, meet together, to wit, Aeddan, Eiludd and Ysvael, and with one mind they go together to the place which the angel had mentioned beforehand, that is, Vallis Rosina, which the Britons commonly call Hodnant, in which place, when the first hearth had been kindled in the name of the Lord, the smoke rose upwards, and circling round filled, as it seemed, the whole of the island and Ireland besides.

16. In the vicinity near the spot there was a certain chieftain and druid, called Bwya, an Irishman, who sitting within the walls of his citadel whilst the beams of the sun were scattered over the world, trembled at the sight of such a portent and was overcome; and he was stirred with such resentment that he forgot his meal and spent the whole day grieving. To whom his wife came and asked why in so unwonted a manner he had forgotten his repast. “Why so sad and cast down,” said she, “art thou grieving in thyself?” To this he answered, “I grieve to have seen smoke rising from Vallis Rosina, which encircled the whole country, for I hold it as certain that the kindler of that fire shall excel all in power and renown in every part that the smoke of his sacrifice has encircled even to the end of the world, for that smoke as by a token predicts his fame.” His wife, enraged, said to him, “Arise, and take a troop of servants, and with drawn swords follow up that man and his servants who have dared such an offence as to kindle fire on thy lands without thy bidding, -and destroy them all.” Bwya and his followers arrived to slay David and his disciples, but a fever suddenly took them as they proceeded on their way, and they were powerless to kill David or his attendants, but they blasphemed the Lord and holy David, and uttered evil words, for the wish to injure was not wanting, although the power to act was thwarted by the will of the Eternal and rendered void. When they had returned thence home, they met his wife, who said, “Our cattle and beasts of burden and sheep and all the stock are dead.” And Bwya and his wife and all his household lamented bitterly, and they all wailed together and said, “That saint and his disciples, whom we blasphemed, have caused the death of our cattle. Let us, therefore, turn back, and asking for mercy on bended knees, let us pray the servant of God that he may so perchance pity us and the cattle.” And they return and approach the servant of God, and ask for mercy with tears and entreaties. ” The land,” say they, “whereon thou art, shall be thine for ever.” And Bwya gave that day to holy David the whole of Vallis Rosina for a perpetual possession. And David, the servant of God, answered kindly, “Your cattle,” said he, “shall be restored to life.” And Bwya, when he returned home, found his cattle alive and well.

17. Next day his wife, inflamed by malicious envy, called together her female slaves. “Go you,” said she, “to the river which is called Alun, and display your naked bodies in the sight of the saints, and indulge in lewd talk.” The female slaves obey, they make shameless sport, they simulate coition, they display love’s alluring embraces. They entice the minds of some of the monks to wanton thoughts, and cause unrest in those of others. But all his disciples, unable to endure this intolerable affront, said to holy David, “Let us fly from this place because we cannot dwell here owing to the molestation of these spiteful sluts.” But the father, Saint David, firm in patient long-suffering, whose purpose was neither dissolved when softened by prosperity, nor terrified when weakened by adversity, “Know,” said he, “that the world hates you, but understand that the people of Israel, accompanied by the ark of the covenant, when they entered the land of promise, having been beaten in successive perilous battles but not overcome, destroyed the people dwelling near and the uncircumcised, which struggle by a clear token indicates our victory. For he, who seeks the promise of the heavenly country, must needs be wearied with adversities and yet not overcome, but at the last with Christ as comrade conquer the unclean stain of vices. We ought, therefore, not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good, because if Christ is for us, who is against us? Be strong, therefore, in a war which may be won, lest your enemy rejoice in your flight. We ought to remain, and Bwya to leave.” With these words he strengthened the hearts of the disciples, and that night David fasted and his disciples till the morning.

18. That day Bwya’s wife said to her stepdaughter, “Let us go together to the valley of the Alun and let us look for its cucumeri, that we may find nuts in them.” And she humbly answered her stepmother, “Behold, I am ready.” They went together to the bottom of the aforesaid valley, and when they had arrived there, the stepmother sat down and spoke softly to her stepdaughter, Dunod by name: “Place thy head in my lap, for I wish quietly to examine thy locks.” And the guileless girl, who from her infancy had lived piously and chastely amid crowds of the worst women, bends her inoffensive head on the lap of her stepmother. But that savage stepmother quickly drew forth her knife, and cut off the head of that most happy virgin. Her blood flowed on the earth, and there sprang up from that spot a clear running fountain, which has healed in abundance many human sicknesses; which spot the people call to this day Merthyr Dunod. The stepmother fled from Bwya, and no one under heaven knows by what death she ended her life. And so Bwya the chieftain wept bitterly, but David with his disciples sang praises to the eternal God.

19. And so Bwya resolved to destroy holy David, but his enemy, Lisa by name, the son of Paucaut^ cut off his head in his citadel, for his gate lay open at daybreak, when his enemy arrived unexpectedly from his ship; and soon fire fell from heaven and speedily burnt up the whole of his building. Let no one doubt that it was the Lord for his servant, David’s, sake, who struck down Bwya and his wife. For it is meet that destruction should overtake him, who was threatening with slaughter the man of God, and that he who was pitiless to the servants of God should suffer vengeance without pity.

20. The malice of enemies having thus been expelled by the good God, the monastic community in the Lord built a notable monastery in the place, which the angel had foreshown.

21. And when everything was completed, the saintly father decreed with fervour such rigour of cenobitical purpose that every monk should toil at daily labour, and spend his life in common, working with his hands, “for he who labours not,” says the apostle, “let him not eat.” For knowing that untroubled rest was the fomenter and mother of vices, he subjected the shoulders of the monks to divine fatigues. For those, who bend thought and time to leisurely repose, generate an unstable spirit of apathy and restless incitements to lust.

22. Therefore with increasing zeal they labour with hand and foot; they place the yoke on their shoulders; with unwearied arm they dig into the ground mattocks and spades; they carry in their saintly hands hoes and saws for cutting; they provide with their own labour all the necessities of the community. Possessions they regard with disdain; they reject the gifts of the unjust; they detest riches. No care of oxen is introduced for ploughing. Each to himself and the brethren is riches, each too an ox. When work was done, no complaint was heard, no conversation was held beyond what was necessary. But each did the task enjoined either with prayer or well-directed meditation.

23. When outside labour was finished, they returned to the cells of the monastery, and spent the whole day till evening in reading or writing or praying. On the approach of evening, when the stroke of the bell was heard, each one left his study, for if the stroke should sound in the ears of anyone, the top of a letter having been written or even half the form of that letter, they rose up the more quickly and left their tasks, and thus in silence proceeded to church without any idle talk. When the chanting of the psalms is done, the voice being in accord with the intention of the heart, they worship on bended knees until the stars are seen in heaven bringing the day to a close. The father alone, after all had gone out, poured forth a prayer in secret to God for the state of the Church.

24. At length they assemble at table. They relieve, each one, their wearied limbs, refreshed by partaking of supper, not however to excess, for too much, though it be of bread only, produces wantonness, but on that occasion they all take supper in accordance with the varying condition of their bodies and ages. Not dishes of various tastes lie before them or too dainty provisions, but having fed on bread and herbs seasoned with salt, they assuage ardent thirst with a temperate sort of drink. On that occasion they provide for the sick and those advanced in age, and even those wearied with a long journey, some refreshments of a more appetising sort, for one must not weigh out to all in equal measure.

25. After giving of thanks, they go to the church at the canonical ringing, and there they are insistent in watchings, prayers, and genuflexions for about three hours. As long as they prayed in church, none dared unrestrainedly to yawn, none to sneeze, none to spit.

26. These things being so done, they compose their limbs for sleep. Waking at cockcrow, they devote themselves to prayer on bended knee, and then spend the whole day without sleep from morning till night. And in like manner they serve through other nights.

27. From the eve of the sabbath until after dawn light shall have begun in the first hour of the Lord’s Day they apply themselves to watchings, prayers, and genuflexions, one hour then excepted after the matins of the sabbath.

28. They open out their thoughts to the father, and obtain the father’s permission even for the requirements of nature. All things are common. Nothing is “mine” or “thine,” for anyone who should say either “my book” or what not, would straightway be subjected to hard penance. They were wont to wear mean garments, especially skins. Obedience was not lacking to the father’s order. There was exceeding perseverance in doing what was to be done. There was uprightness in all.

29. For he who, desiring this manner of saintly living, should ask to enter the community of the brethren, would first remain for ten days at the doors of the monastery as one rejected, being subjected also to reproachful words. But if he stood his ground, duly exercising patience till the tenth day, he was first received under the elder who by authority presided over the entrance and served him. And when he had toiled there for a long time, many antipathies of his soul being broken, he was at length deemed worthy of entering the society of the brethren.

30. No superfluity was allowed; voluntary poverty was loved. For whosoever desired their mode of life, the saintly father would receive none of his substance, which he had parted with in renouncing the world, not even one penny, so to speak, for the use of the monastery. But being received naked, as one escaping from shipwreck, he might in no way extol or raise himself among the brethren, or relying on his wealth fail to enter upon equal toil with the brethren. Nor, vacillating as to the way of religion, might he extort by force what he left to the monastery, and move to wrath the patience of the brethren.

31. The father himself pouring forth fountains of tears daily, irradiating with censed holocausts of prayers, and blazing with a, double flame of charity, consecrated with pure hands the due oblation of the Lord’s Body, and thus after matins proceeded alone to angelic discourse. After this he immediately used to seek cold water, in which by lingering a long while wet he subdued every heat of the flesh. Afterwards he was wont to spend the whole day, unshaken and unwearied, in teaching, praying, and genuflecting, in care for the brethren, and also in feeding a multitude of the bereft, orphans, widows, the needy, the weak, the infirm, and pilgrims. So he began, continued, and ended. As for the rest of his severe living, although necessary for imitation, the intended shortness of this little work forbids us to set it forth. But imitating the Egyptian monks he led a life similar to theirs.

32. When, therefore, the report of holy David’s good name was heard, kings and princes of this world abandon their kingdoms and seek his monastery. Hence it was that Constantine, king of the Cornishmen, abandoned his kingdom and bent the necks of his pride, untamed before, in humble obedience in the monastery of this father. And when he had followed this mode of life for a long time in faithful service, he at length founded a monastery in another far-off country. But seeing that we have said enough of his manner of life, let us now return again to his miracles.

33. On a certain day when the brethren were assembled together, they complain, saying, “This place of yours,” say they, “has waters in winter, but in summer scarcely does the river flow in a tiny stream.” Having heard this, the holy father started out and arrived at a place very near, where an angel was wont to talk with him; and praying there hard and long, with eyes raised to heaven, he asked for the water needed. With the voice of his praying there flowed a fountain of clearest water. And because the country was not fruitful in vines, it was turned into wine for the use of the sacrament of the Lord’s Body and Blood, so that in his time it never lacked pure wine, a most worthy gift to such a man from the Lord God. But we know of other sweet waters too, given by the disciples in imitation of the father, serviceable for human use and health.

34. Also, on a day, a certain rustic, named Terdi, praying and beseeching much, sought from him services of love, saying, “Our land is drained dry of water, wherefore we have a laborious journey to get water, for the river is a long way off.” The holy father, pitying the need of his neighbours, humbly started forth, believing that he could find water by the suppliant request of his prayer and by his most humble compassion. Starting out, therefore, and opening a little bit of the surface of the soil with the point of his bachall, a most clear fountain gushed forth, which, bubbling up in a continual vein, supplies the coldest water in time of heat.

35. On another occasion while Saint Aeddan, his disciple, chanced to be reading out of doors to confirm what he had received of doctrine, the prior of the monastery came and bade him take two oxen and go bring timber from the valley, for the wood was situated at a distance. Aeddan, the disciple, obeyed sooner than the word, without even stopping to close the book, and made for the wood. When the timber was made ready and placed on the animals, he took the road back. Now as the road on which he travelled led to a steep precipice, the oxen were hurled into the sea together with the vehicle. As they are rushing over, he makes the sign of the cross over them, and so it was that he received the oxen safe and sound from the waves, together with the vehicle, and joyfully proceeded on his way. While he journeyed, there begins such a deluge of rairi that the ditches flowed in torrents. When the journey was done, and the oxen released from toil, he goes where he had left the book and finds it open and uninjured by the rain even as he left it. Whilst the brethren were listening to these events, both the grace of the father and the humility of the disciple were equally extolled. For the grace of the father pointed to the book, untouched by the rain and preserved for the obedient disciple, whilst the humility of the disciple preserves the oxen safe for the father.

36. When Saint Aeddan had been fully instructed, being potent in virtues and thoroughly purified from vices, he made for Ireland. And having constructed a monastery there, which in the Irish language is called Guernin, Ferns, he led a most holy life.

37. When on an Easter Eve he was the more earnestly engaged in prayer, an angel appeared to him, saying, “Knowest thou that tomorrow at meal-time poison will be placed by certain of the brethren before the venerable Saint David, to wit, thy father?” Saint Aeddan answered and said, “I know it not.” The angel said to him, “Send one of the servants to the father to tell him.” Saint Aeddan answered and said, “Neither is there a ship ready, nor is the wind right for sailing.” The angel said to him, “Let thy fellow-disciple, called Scutinus, proceed to the sea-shore, for I will bear him across thither.” The disciple obeys and goes to the shore, and enters the water to his knee. And a monster took him and carried him across to the confines of the monastery.

38. When the solemnities of Easter were over, the holy father, Saint David, goes to the refectory to a meal with the brethren. There met him his former disciple, Scutinus, who told him all the things which had been done against him and what the angel had enjoined concerning him. They joyfully recline together in the refectory, giving thanks to God. When prayer was ended, up rose the deacon, who had been wont to minister to the father, and placed on the table the bread prepared with poison, the cellarer and the prior consenting to the same. Scutinus, who has also another name, Scolanus, stood up and said, “Today, brother, you will perform no service to the father, for I myself will do it.” The deacon withdrew in confusion, being conscious of the crime, and rigid with astonishment. And holy David took the poisoned bread, and dividing it into three parts, gave one to a little dog which stood outside by the door, and as soon as it had tasted the bit it died a wretched death, for in the twinkling of an eye all its hair fell off, so that its entrails burst forth, its skin splitting all over; and all the brethren who saw it were astonished. And holy David threw the second part to a raven, which was in its nest in an ash, which was between the refectory and the river on the south side, and as soon as it touched it with its beak, it fell lifeless from the tree. But the third part holy David held in his hand, and blessed; and he ate it with giving of thanks, and all the brethren looked at him, amazed with wonder, for about three hours. He dauntless preserved his life intact, no sign of the deadly poison appearing. And holy David told his brethren everything which had been done by the three men aforesaid. And all the brethren stood up and lamented aloud, and cursed those treacherous men, to wit, the prior, the cellarer, and the deacon, and damned them and their successors, declaring with one voice that they should never have a part in the heavenly kingdom throughout eternity.

39. At another time too, when among others that most faithful abbot of the Irish, whose name was Barre, had an unquenchable desire to visit the relics of the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, and undertook with unwearied feet the journey devoted to pilgrimage, after he had completed his salutary vow and was returning to the enclosures of his monastery, he visited the holy man, Saint David; and having sojourned there a little while by request in holy intercourse, he was delayed for a longer period, for the ship, wherein he had made ready to revisit his native land, was hindered by lack of winds. Fearing lest there should arise contentions, strifes, and quarrels among the brethren in the absence of their abbot, the bond of charity being relaxed, even as bees, when the king is destroyed, pull asunder and ruin the stores of honeycombs, which they had secured with firm fastening, he searched with anxious mind and found a wondrous path. For on a day he asked for the horse whereon the holy father, David, had been wont to ride for ecclesiastical purposes, and obtained leave. Having received the father’s blessing he goes to the harbour, enters the sea, and putting his trust in the blessing of the father and the support of the horse he uses it for a ship, inasmuch as the horse ploughed through the swelling masses of the waves as through a level field.

40. As he was proceeding further into the sea, he appeared where Saint Brendan was leading a wondrous life on a marine animal. When Saint Brendan saw a man horse-riding in the sea, he was astonished and said, “God is wonderful in his saints.” The horseman drew near where he was, so that they were able to exchange greetings. When they had saluted one another, Brendan asks whence he was, and from whom he had come, and how he rode a horse in the sea. Barre, after having narrated to him the causes of his pilgrimage, said, “Since the vessel’s delay kept me from my brethren, the holy father, David, gave me the horse whereon he had been wont to ride that thereby I might satisfy my need, and so, fortified by his blessing, I entered on such a journey.” Brendan said to him, “Go in peace, I will come and see him.” Barre arrived in his native land, his journey unbroken, and narrated to the brethren who met him what things had been done. They kept the horse in the service of the monastery till its death. But after its death they made a painted image of the horse as a memorial of the miracle, which even till now may be found in the island of the Irish, covered with gold. It is also renowned for the number of its miracles.

41. On another occasion also, his other disciple, Modomnoc by name, was excavating a road with the brethren on the steep near the confines of the monastery, whereby an easier access might be made for wayfarers to convey their burdens of necessities. He said to one of those who were working, “Why dost thou work so lazily and so slowly?” The man, stirred by the spirit of anger against him who said the words, lifted up the iron which he held in his hand, to wit, a two-edged axe, and attempted to strike him on the head. The holy father, David, saw this from a distance, and raised his hand towards them, making the sign of the cross; and so the hand of him striking was withered.

42. But almost a third part or fourth of Ireland is subject to David the Waterman, where Maeddog was, who also from infancy is Aeddan, to whom Saint David gave a little bell, which is called “Cruedin.” But he, sailing to Ireland, forgot his little bell. And Maeddog sent a messenger to noly David that he might send the dear little bell across to him. And Saint David said, “Go, boy, to thy master.” And it was done while that messenger was returning. And lo, the little bell on the morrow was alongside of the renowned Aeddan, an angel carrying it across the sea before his messenger had arrived.

43. After that the aforesaid Modomnoc had devoted himself for a long lapse of years to the humility of obedience, his virtuous merits increasing, he sought the island of Ireland. The whole multitude of bees followed the ship which he had entered and settled with him in the ship, where he had sat down, on the ship’s prow. For as he attended on the bees’ quarters, he paid heed with the rest of the work of the brotherhood to the hives in rearing the young of the swarms, whereby he might procure some luxuries of sweeter food for those in need. He, loath to defraud the fraternal community, returned, re-appearing in the presence of the holy father, and attended by the swarm of bees, which flew to their own quarters. David blessed him for his humility. Then bidding farewell to the father and brethren, and being saluted, he went away, but again the bees follow him. And it so happened that, whenever he started forth, they also followed. Again, a third time, he sailed for a while, and it happened as before. The swarms followed him, and he returned to David thrice. On the third occasion holy David dismissed Modomnoc to sail with the bees, and he blessed them, saying, “May the land to which ye hasten abound with your offspring. Never may your progeny be wanting in it. Our monastery will be deserted for ever by you. Never shall your offspring grow up in it.” That this has continued till now we have learnt by experience, for we find swarms imported into the monastery of this father, but they, remaining there a little while, gradually cease. Ireland, however, wherein never could bees exist till that time, is enriched with abundance of honey. And so by the blessing of the holy father they have multiplied in the island of Ireland, since it is agreed that they could by no means exist there at first, for if you should cast Irish earth or stone in the midst of bees, they would shun it greatly, being scattered and flying away.

44. As his merits increased, his offices of honour increased also. For one night an angel visited him, and said to him, “Tomorrow thou wilt gird thyself. Put on thy shoes. Start to go to Jerusalem. Undertake the desired journey. But two others will I call also to be thy companions on the way, to wit, Eiludd,” who is now commonly called Teilo, who formerly was a monk in his monastery, ” and Padarn,” whose life and miracles are contained in his history. The holy father, wondering at the word of command, said, “How shall this be, for the comrades whom thou dost promise are distant by the space of three days, or as many more, from us and from themselves? By no means, therefore, shall we come together tomorrow.” The angel informs him, “I will go this night to each of them, and they shall assemble at the place appointed, which I now shew.” Saint David, making no delay, settled what was necessary for the monastery, received the blessing of the brethren, and started on his way early in the morning. He arrives at the appointed place, finds there the promised brethren, and together they enter on the journey. Their pilgrimage is on terms of equality, for none in mind is prior to another, each of them being servant, each being master. They persevere in prayer, and water the way with tears. The further the foot proceeded, the reward increased, they being one as to their mind, one in joy, one in sorrow.

45. When they had sailed over the Britannic sea and were come into the Gauls and were hearing the strange languages of diverse nations, father David was endowed with the gift of tongues like that apostolic gathering of old, lest when in need among foreign peoples they might want an interpreter, and also that they might confirm the faith of others with the word of truth.

46. At length they arrive at the confines of the desired city, Jerusalem. On the night before their arrival an angel appeared to the Patriarch in a dream, saying, “Three catholic men are coming from the limits of the west, whom thou art to receive with joy and the grace of hospitality, and to consecrate for me to the episcopate.” The Patriarch made ready three most honourable seats, and when the saints came into the city he rejoiced with great joy and received them graciously into the seats which had been prepared. After indulging in spiritual conversation, they return thanks to God. Then supported by the divine choice, he promotes holy David to the archiepiscopate.

47. When these things were ended, the Patriarch addressed them, and said, “Obey my voice, and attend to what I direct. The power of the Jews (says he) grows strong against the Christians. They alarm us, they reject the faith. Attend ye, therefore, and go preach daily that their vehemence, being confuted, may quiet down, knowing that the Christian faith is spread abroad to the limits of the west and sounded forth to the utmost parts of the earth.” They obey the command. They preach, each of them, every day. Their preaching becomes acceptable. Many come together to the faith. Others they strengthen.

48. When all things are done, they undertake to return to their native land. Then it was that the Patriarch presented father David with four gifts, to wit, a consecrated Altar, whereon he was wont to consecrate the Lord’s Body, which, potent in innumerable miracles, has never been seen by men from the death of its pontiff, but covered with skin veils, lies hidden away. Also, a remarkable Bell, which too is renowned for miracles. A Bachall. And a Tunic woven with gold. The Bachall, resplendent with glorious miracles, is extolled throughout the whole of our country for its wonders. “But because,” said the Patriarch, “they are a labour for you to carry on the journey, whilst going back to your country, return in peace. I shall send them over after you.” .They bid farewell to the father, and come to their native land. They severally await the promise of the Patriarch and receive their gifts sent to them through angels, David in the monastery called Llan Gyvelach, Padarn and Eiludd in their respective monasteries. Therefore it is that the common people call them gifts from heaven.

49. Because after the aid of Saint Germanus for the second time the Pelagian heresy was reviving, introducing the vigour of its stubbornness, like the venom of a poisonous serpent, into the inmost joints of the country, there gathers a universal synod of all the bishops of Britannia. Accordingly, one hundred and eighteen bishops having assembled, there came an innumerable multitude of presbyters, abbots, and other orders, kings, princes, laics, men and women, so that this vast army covered all the places round about. The bishops whisper among themselves, saying, “So great is the multitude that not only a voice, but even a trumpet’s call will fail to sound into the ears of everybody. Consequently almost the whole of the people will be unaffected (or alienated) by the preaching, and will carry the heretical taint back with them as they return home.” It is arranged, therefore, to preach to the people in this manner, that a heap of garments should be piled up on high ground, whereon one should stand and preach from above; and whosoever should be endowed with such gift of speech that his discourse sounded into the ears of all, who stood afar off, should be made with universal consent metropolitan archbishop. Then at the appointed place, the name of which is Brevi, they endeavour to preach on a raised tower of garments, but scarcely does speech, being swallowed as it were in the throat, reach the very nearest. The people wait for the word, but the most part hear it not. One after another tries to expound, but they avail nothing. The difficulty increases. They fear the people will return to their homes with the heresy undiscussed. “We have preached,” say they, “and have no gain. And so our labour is rendered void.” One of the bishops, called Paulinus, rises, with whom the pontiff, Saint David, had formerly read, and says, “There is one, made bishop by the Patriarch, who has not yet appeared at our synod, an eloquent man, full of grace, approved in religion, who has an angel as comrade, a lovable man, pleasing in feature, distinguished in form, upright in stature of four cubits. My advice, therefore, is that you invite him.”

50. Messengers are forthwith sent. They come to the holy bishop. They announce for what purpose they had arrived. The holy bishop refuses, saying, “Let no one tempt me. “What they cannot do, who am I that I can do it? I acknowledge my lowliness. Depart ye in peace.” Messengers are sent a second and “third time, but neither so does he consent. At last the most holy men and the most faithful brethren, Daniel and Dubricius, are sent. Saint David, the bishop, foreseeing this by the spirit of prophecy, says to his brethren, “Today, brethren, most holy men are visiting us. Receive them with a joyful mind. Procure fishes with bread and water.” The brethren arrive. They salute one another. They enter into holy conversation; A meal is placed before them. They affirm that never will they eat in his monastery unless he returns with them to the synod. To this the saint replied, “Refuse you I cannot Eat, and we will visit the synod together, but I am unable to preach on the occasion. Yet with prayers I shall bring what little help I may.”

51. They start out and arrive at a place very hear to the synod, and lo! they hear lamentable mourning close by. Says the saint to his companions, “I will go where this great wailing may be.” His companions answered and said, “We will go to the assembly lest our delay vexes those who are waiting for us.” But the man of God went forward and came to the place where the lamentation was, by the river Teivi. And lo! a widowed mother was watching over the body of her dead boy, who was called Magnus. Blessed David consoled the mother and comforted her with salutary admonitions, but she, having heard of .his fame, threw herself at his feet, and begged with distressing appeals that he should have pity on her. The man of God, having compassion on human weakness, went near to the body of the deceased, and watered the face with tears, and threw himself on the body of .the dead, and prayed to the Lord, and said, “O Lord, my God, who didst descend into this world for us sinners from the bosom of the Father to redeem us from the jaws of the old enemy, have pity on this widow, and restore life to her only son, and breathe into him the breath of life, that Thy name may be magnified in all the earth.” Then the limbs became warm, the soul returned, the body stirred. And taking the boy’s hand, he restored him alive and well to his mother. The mother turns her sad weeping into joyful tears and says, “To me my son was dead, but to thee and God let him live henceforth.” The holy man took the boy and placed on his shoulders the copy of the Gospel which he always carried on his breast, and caused him to go with him to the synod. Afterward, as long as he lived, he led a holy life for many years. And all, who beheld that miracle, praised the Lord and holy David.

52. Then he enters the synod. The company of bishops rejoices. The people are glad. The whole army exults. He is asked to preach. He rejects not the wish of the council. They bid him mount the pile of garments, but he refused. So he orders the boy newly raised from the dead to spread his handkerchief under his feet. On this he stands, and expounded the gospel and the law as from a trumpet. In the presence of all a snow-white pigeon, sent from heaven, settled on his shoulders, which remained as long as he preached. While he was holding forth in a voice clear to all, both to those nearest to him and equally to those who were far off, the ground beneath him swells upwards and is raised into a hill. Placed on the top he is seen by all, so that standing on a high hill he might lift his voice like a trumpet. On the top of this hill a church is situated. The heresy is expelled. The faith is confirmed in sound hearts. All are in agreement. They pay thanks to God and to Saint David.

53. Then, blessed and extolled by the mouth of all, he is with the consent of all the bishops, kings, princes, nobles, and all grades of the whole Britannic race, made archbishop, and his monastery too is declared the metropolis of the whole country, so that whoever ruled it should be accounted archbishop.

54. The heresy, therefore, having been expelled, decrees of catholic and ecclesiastical rule are confirmed, which, owing to the frequent and cruel attacks of enemies, have become void, and, being almost forgotten, have ceased to be. By these, as though roused from heavy slumber, they one and all zealously waged the battles of the Lord. They are found in part in the oldest writings of the father, enjoined in his own sacred hand.

55. Then, when a number of seasons was gone, another synod assembles, called Victory, in which a crowd of bishops, priests, and abbots, having come together, renew what they had confirmed hi the former, after a close and severe scrutiny, some useful matters being added. So from these two synods, all the churches of our country take their standard and rule by Roman authority. The decrees which he had affirmed with his mouth, the bishop alone committed to writing with his own sacred hand.

56. Consequently in every place throughout the whole country the brethren built monasteries. Everywhere indications of churches are heard. Everywhere sounds of prayers are raised to the stars. Everywhere miracles are reported to the bosom of the Church on unwearied shoulders. Everywhere offerings of charity are distributed to the needy with an open hand. Saint David, the bishop, was made the chief overseer of all, the chief protector, the chief spokesman, from whom all received the rule and model of right living. He was the standard for all, he was consecration, he was benediction, he was absolution and correction, learning to readers, life to the needy, nourishment to orphans, support to widows, head to the country, rule to the monks, a way to seculars, all things to all men. What swarms of monks he engendered! With what advantage he profited all! With what blaze of miracles he shone!

57. All the bishops surrendered to holy David both monarchy and primacy, and they all agreed to the granting of his right of sanctuary, that it should apply to every ravisher and homicide and sinner, and to every evil person flying from, place to place, in priority to every saint and kings and persons of the whole Britannic island, in every kingdom and in each region, wherever there may be land consecrated to holy David. And let no kings or elders or governors, or even bishops or superiors and saints, dare to provide right of sanctuary in priority to holy David. Indeed he provides right of sanctuary before every person, and there is none prior to him, because he is head and leader and primate over all the Britons. And all the saints ordained that whosoever should not observe that decree, namely, Saint David’s right of sanctuary, should be anathema and accursed.

58. And thus continuing into old age he was renowned as the head of all the Britannic race and the honour of his country, which old age he completed in a round one hundred and forty-seven years.

59. When the day was drawing nigh for compensating the hallowed rewards of good deeds, on the eighth day before the first of March, whilst the brethren were observing matins, an angel addressed him, announcing in a loud voice, “The long-desired day,” said he, “is now reckoned nigh at hand.” The holy bishop recognised the friendly voice, and said to him with a joyful mind, “Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace.” The brethren merely received the sound into their ears without distinguishing th$ words, for they had heard them conversing together and were fallen to the earth in terror. Then the whole monastery is filled with angelic harmonies and sweet-smelling fragrance. The holy bishop calling with a loud voice, with mind intent on heaven, says, “Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit.” Again the angel speaks in a clear voice, the brethren understanding the same, “Prepare and gird thyself. On the first of March the Lord Jesus Christ, accompanied by a great host of angels, will come to meet thee.”

60. When these things were heard, the brethren made great lamentation with violent sobs. There begins a great sorrowing. The monastery overflows with tears, saying, “O Saint David, bishop, remove our sadness.” He, caressing them and sustaining them with comforting consolations, said, “Brothers, be ye constant. The yoke, which with single mind ye have taken, bear ye to the end; and whatsoever ye have seen with me and heard, keep and fulfil.” From that hour, therefore, to the day of his death he remained in the church and preached to all.

61. That report, therefore, was carried most swiftly in one day throughout the whole of Britannia and Ireland by the angel, saying, “Know ye that next week your master, holy David, will migrate from this light to the Lord.”

62. Then there arrive from all sides assemblies of saints, like bees to a hive on the approach of a storm, who hasten with speed to visit the holy father. The monastery overflows with tears. Lamentation resounds to the stars. Youths mourn him as a father, old men as a son. On the intervening Sunday, whilst a very great multitude is listening, he preached a most noble sermon, and consecrated the Lord’s Body with pure hands. Having partaken of the Body and Blood of the Lord, he was immediately seized with pain and became unwell. When he had finished the office and blessed the people, he addressed them all, saying, “My brethren, persevere in these things which ye have learnt from me and which ye have seen with me. I on the third day of the week on the first of March shall go the way of my fathers. Fare ye well in the Lord. I shall depart. Never shall we be seen on this earth again.” Then the voice of all the faithful was raised in lamentation and in wailings, saying, “O that the earth would swallow us, the fire consume us, the sea cover us! O that death by a sudden irruption would overtake us! Would that the mountains would fall upon us!” Almost all yielded themselves to death. From Sunday night till the fourth day of the week when he was dead, all who came remained weeping, fasting, and watching.

63. And so when the third day of the week was come, at cock crowing the monastery is filled with angelic choirs, and is melodious with heavenly songs, and is full of sweetest fragrance. At the hour of matins, when the clerks were replying to the songs with psalms and hymns, the Lord Jesus deigned to bestow his presence for the consolation of the father, as he had promised by the angel. When he saw him, he altogether rejoiced in spirit. “Take me,” said he, “after thee.” With these words he gave back his life to God, Christ being his companion, and accompanied by the angelic host he went to the abodes of Heaven.

64. O, who then could bear the weeping of the saints, the sad sighs of the anchorites^ the groaning of the priests, the wailings of the disciples, who exclaimed, “By whom shall we be taught?”, the grief of the pilgrims, saying, “By whom shall we be aided?”, the despair of kings, who said, “By whom shall we be appointed, corrected and established? Who so very mild a father as David? Who shall intercede for us to the Lord?”, the lamentations of peoples, the grief of paupers, the cryings of sick folk, the clamour of monks, the tears of virgins, married people, penitents, young men, young women, boys, girls, infants sucking breasts? Why do I delay? The voice of all was one of mourners, for kings grieved for him as an arbiter, old men wailed for him as a brother, adults honoured him as a father, nay, he was one whom all venerated as God.

65. And so his body, carried in the arms of holy brethren, and accompanied by a great throng, is honourably committed to the earth and buried in his own monastery. But his soul without any limit of passing time is crowned for ever and ever.

May he, whose festival we devoutly celebrate on earth, unite us by his intercessions to the angelic citizens, God being over all and our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

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66. These and many other things did the holy father, David, do, while a corruptible and burdensome habitation carried his soul. But out of many we have in a mean form of speech supplied a few to assuage the thirst of the ardent. Even as none can exhaust to dryness in the hollow of a shallow vessel a stream flowing from a perpetual fountain, so none can commit to writing even with an iron pen all his miraculous signs, his most devoted practice of the virtues, and his observance of the commandments. But these few things out of many, as we have said, we have collected together into one place for example to all and for the glory of the father. They have been found scattered in very old writings of the country, especially of the monastery itself, which have survived until now, eaten away by the constant devouring of moths and the yearly borings of ages through the hours and seasons, and written according to the old style of the ancients. Having brought them together into one place, as from a flowery garden of diverse plants, I, sucking most .discriminatingly as it were with the mouth of a bee, have collected them to the glory of so great a father and for the use of others, lest they should perish. But those things, now that he has laid aside the burden of the flesh and sees God face to face, which he does and has done at constant intervals of time, so much the more effectively as he adheres closer to God, he, who would wish to know of them, can do so from the relation of many.

67. And as for me, who am named Rhygyvarch, and who, although rashly, have applied the capacity of my small intelligence to these things, let those who shall have perused them with a devout mind, render assistance by their prayers that, because the clemency of the father, like that of spring, has conducted me in the summer heat of the flesh to a tiny flower of intelligence, it may at length lead me by mature works before the end of my course, when the vapours of concupiscence are exhausted, to the fruit of a good harvest. So that, when the reapers shall separate the tares of the enemy and fill the barns of the heavenly country with most carefully picked bundles, they may place me as a tiny sheaf of the latest harvest within the hall of the heavenly gate to behold God for ever, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Of the Genealogy of Saint David

68. Here begins the genealogy of Saint David, archbishop of all Britannia by the grace and predestination of God David was the son of Sant, Sant son of Cheritic, Cheretic son of Cuneda, Cuneda son of Etern, Etern son of Patern, Patern son of Peisrud, Peisrud son of Doeil, Doeil son of Gurdeil, Gurdeil son of Dumn, Dumn son of Guordumn, Guordumn son of Amguoil, Amguoil son of Amguerit, Amguerit son of Omid, Omid son of Perum, Perum son of Dobun, Dobun son of louguen, louguen son of Abalach, Abalach son of Eugen, Eugen son of Eudolen, Eudolen son of Eugen, Eugen son of Mary’s sister.

Here ends the Life of Saint David, Bishop and Confessor.

The Mass Of Saint David

69. God, who didst fortell thy blessed confessor and pontiff, David, by the announcement of an angel to Patrick, prophesying thirty years before he was born, we beseech thee that by his intercession, whose memory we celebrate, we may come to the eternal joys, through [thy Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen].


70. Almighty God, be pleased to regard the sacrifices of praise and the devout prayers, which we offer to thee in honour of thy blessed confessor and pontiff, David; and what our merit may not obtain, may thy mercy and his frequent intercession for us effect, through [thy Son, etc. Amen].

Post Communio

71. O Lord, being replenished with the partaking of the Sacrament, we beseech thee that by the merits of Saint David, thy confessor and pontiff, whose glorious festival we do celebrate, we may be sensible of the patronage of thine ineffable mercy, through [thy Son, etc. Amen].

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Selections from Other Lives that Refer to Saint David of Wales

From the Life of Saint Aeddan of Ferns

11. When Saint Aeddan wished to abandon his race and country, and go into exile, the king of his race, named Albus was unwilling to let him go. Saint Aeddan said to him, “Let me go into exile, and I will give thee the kingdom of heaven.” The king says to him, “Whence shall I know this, that thou wilt give me the kingdom of heaven?” Saint Aeddan answered, “Thou wilt receive the new tonsure from my hand, and thou shalt be till old age and death under the new tonsure.” The king said, “What thou dost promise pleases me, if thou wilt bear with me till the time of tonsure, that we may see whether the hair grows again.” And Saint Aeddan bore with him till the time. And so he let him go on pilgrimage. And that king remained till old age under the new tonsure.

Saint Aeddan came to the territories of the Leinster men. And desirous of reading the holy scriptures, he sailed over sea to,the districts of the Britons, and reading there at the monastery of Saint David he remained a long time, and performed many miracles in that place.

12. One day whilst Saint Aeddan sat reading there, the prior came to him, saying, “Rise and take a wagon that thou mayest accompany the brethren to carry necessary loads.” And straightway the boy obeyed, rising quickly, and in his haste left the book open. And much rain falling did not hurt the book, until David himself came to the book. And the prior told the holy boy to lay hold of two untamed and savage oxen, but the oxen straightway became gentle and tame under the boy’s hand. The prior also gave the boy a yoke without thongs, and the yoke adhered to the necks of the oxen, as though it were securely tied with thongs. And the boy asked the prior for a cross-piece to join the waggon, that is, huili ar in feni. The prior says to him, “Put thy finger instead of the piece.” And so the obedient boy did, yet his finger was not hurt.

A11 the workmen in consequence preceded Saint Aeddan whilst he tarried and a small boy with him. And the boy said to him, “It was ordered us to proceed on this journey.” And Aeddan says to the small boy, “Make the sign of the cross on thine eyes, and come after me.” And they crossed thiough a marsh. The path remains to this day. And Aeddan a second time outstripped the workmen and their waggons. And that hour David went forth as far as the seashore with his community. And there he said to the holy boy, “Why didst thou leave the book open in the rain?” When the boy, Aeddan, heard this, he bent his knees, and prostrated himself in the presence of David. And he rose not until that the elder, David, should tell him. And ” Rise ” was not said to him. And the brethren came to their monastery, and the boy remained prostrate on the shore. Afterwards David inquired where the boy was? And the brethren said, “We have not seen him, save when we saw him prostrate on the shore.” Then David sent his community to the shore, and they found the tide in, and the boy lying in the tide. And the sea was uplifted round about him. And they drew him into a ship with a cord.

13. Also at another time the prior, moved with envy, meditated killing the holy boy, Aeddan. One day he sent the boy with another lay brother and a cart to bring timber from the woods. And the prior persuaded the lay brother to kill the boy in the woods. When, then, the oxen were yoked, the lay brother and the holy boy went into the woods. And when the boy was stooping there to shift the timber, the lay brother raised his axe to strike a blow on his head. But his hands, raised aloft, dried in the air. Then the lay brother confessed his fault, and so through the prayer of the saint was free. This deed was revealed to Saint David, who straightway rose up quickly, and ran with a boot on one foot. Then the brethren, upset at seeing the elder walking without a boot, followed him. The holy boy came with the cart to the river, which is called Gladius. When David saw the boy coming, he stopped there, and said to the brethren, “Do not follow me.” For Saint David saw innumerable troops of angels round about the boy as he came. When the boy saw from afar that Saint David was waiting for him, he came quickly through the river, and through rough ways, where no man walked before, in a straight line to the place where he saw David standing. And there a cross was erected, which stands to this day. When the brethren had returned home, David began to upbraid the prior. And the holy boy said, “It is not necessary for thee to upbraid him, for if thou upbraid him, he will soon die, and his sepulchre no one will know.” And so it happened.

14. Another day the holy boy, Aeddan, carried a “tribute” vessel, full of beer, to his monastery. When, then, he had reached a certain difficult road near a valley, the waggon together with the vessel and oxen fell into the valley. The holy boy made the sign of the cross on vessel and oxen, and not even one drop perished from the vessel till the waggon reached level ground in safety.

15. One day the king’s son, who was blind and lame and deaf, was brought to the holy boy, Aeddan. And whilst he prayed, he healed the king’s son of every infirmity.

16. Another day there was brought to him a man, having a tabulatam faciem, flat face, void of eyes and nostrils. And Aeddan blessed his face, and God gave him eyes and nostrils.

17. Another time, too, the Saxons came to war against the Britons. Then the holy boy, when asked, went with the Britons to war. And immediately the Saxons saw him, they were put to flight. And the Britons pursued them seven days, but by the blessing of the holy boy, not even one man fell in that war. And as long as the holy boy, Aeddan, dwelt in the districts of the Britons with Saint David, the Saxons dared not come thither.

18. Some robbers of the Saxons came into those districts of the Britons that they might injure anyone there, if they could. When Aeddan knew this, they were immediately blinded by his curses. And without hurting anyone or killing they returned back, and were blind through the whole year.

A king of the Saxons came to prove him saying, “I am blind and deaf.” Saint Aeddan answered him, “On the contrary thou art nor deaf nor blind, but as thou hast lied by tempting me, from this day thou shalt not be king; and to the day of thy death thou shalt remain blind and deaf.” And so it was fulfilled.

19. After these things Saint Aeddan with the blessing of the blessed David sailed to the island of Ireland, and he arrived at the districts of Fothart campi Itha. . . .

20. . . . Saint Aeddan thought in his heart, saying, “It repents me that I did not ask of my teacher, Who in this island of Ireland shall be my amicus anime, soul-friend?” Then he arose to go over sea to Saint David. And when he was walking on the sea dry shod, even a third part of the journey, lo, an angel of God met him, saying, “Great assurance is in this thou hast done, to walk afoot on the sea.” Aeddan answered him, “Not from assurance have I done it, but from strength of faith.” And the angel said to him, “It is not necessary for thee to have a soul-friend, for God loves thee, and between thee and God there will be no middle person. And if thou wilt have a soul-friend, thou shalt have Molue mac Coche.” Then Aeddan returned to Ireland.

After these things Aeddan came into that district, which is called Ard Ladrand. And when he had settled there in the place, which is called Accel, he considered that he had forgotten his bell in the land of the Britons. And when it was necessary for him to strike his bell at the regular hour, he straightway saw his bell placed at his side, for it had come from Britannia across the sea; and rejoicing at its arrival, he gave thanks to God.

32. At another time Saint David sent to Saint Aeddan to go to salute him. Aeddan straightway obeyed and went to the districts of the Britons. And when the time had come that he should return again, he said to Saint David, “How shall I go through the sea?” The blessed David answered him, “Go to the sea, and whatever animal shall come to thee, mount it and proceed through the sea.” Then Aeddan came to the sea in the land of the Britons, and saw a great animal like a great horse. Sitting on its shoulder he came over sea to Ireland to the place which is called Imber Cremthain, and the animal returned into the sea.

From the Life of Saint Ailbe or Aelvyw

In those parts too Saint Ailbe found in a certain church a priest standing before an altar, wishing to offer the sacrifice. But he could not, for his tongue was tied. Then Ailbe looking round at the people, who were in the church, saw among them a certain pregnant woman; and he said to the priest, “The reason thou canst not offer is because this woman has in her womb a bishop. He is David of Cill Muni. For a priest ought not to celebrate in the presence of a bishop, except at his bidding.” And when that woman was outside the church, straightway the priest offered with a loud voice. And all the people with one consent blessed Ailbe, who, by God’s grace, had revealed this dark matter. But the father gave that son of his, David, to Saint Ailbe for ever.

[A different ending occurs in T (V.S.H. i. 53) as follows.]

. . . “The reason thou canst not speak is because God hath willed that the fame of the infant, which that woman has in her womb, should first be heard. For he shall be the elect of God, and a renowned bishop, and will be called David. This shalt thou have for a sign, when the people present shall have heard these words, thou shalt sing with a clear voice.” When, then, the people had heard this prophecy, he sang the mass. And all the people with one consent blessed the blessed Ailbe, who by God’s grace revealed this dark matter. Afterwards the son was born. His father gave him to Saint Ailbe to bring him up to God. The same is David, a holy bishop, whose relics lie in the monastery of Chell Muni, which is in Britain.

From the Life of Saint Cadog

How Saint David at an angel’s direction assembled a Synod.

In that time, wherein these things were being accomplished (or done), Saint David, a true confessor of God and a bishop, shone with great virtues in Britannia, to whom an angel was sent by God, saying to him, “Rise, do not tarry, assemble all the clergy, elders, and the better born, and form a synod.” The blessed David answers him, “I am ready at thy bidding to do whatever shall be well-pleasing to the Lord, were I worthy, but there dwells in Glywysing one named Cadog, sprung from the satraps of Britannia, who is much more worthy by birth than myself, more distinguished for sanctity, wiser in understanding, and more skilful in speech for assembling- a synod, without whose leave and support I least of all presume to undertake so large a matter.” To whom the angel, “Nay, fulfill my commands, and fear him not in the least for in this affair he will in no way thwart thee, since he will straightway go abroad.” The rest truly is accomplished (or done) in both instances according to the angelic discourse. Cadog went on a journey, and David after his departure assembled a synod in the monastery of Brevi.

Of the indulgence shown to Saint David for summoning the Synod.

When certain disciples of the blessed [Cadog] were gathered together, they said to each other in turn, “Who of us will dare to disclose to our master what thing’s were done by Saint David in Britannia, whilst he was on pilgrimage?” To this all were silent, nor presumed anyone to mention the matter to him. Therefore they cast lots on this affair, and the lot fell on Finnian. Therefore Saint Finnian rose from the midst of the brethren, and went forward with great trepidation. He prostrates himself in the footsteps of the man of God, devoutly beseeching that he should not be angry with him. And he insinuated how that a universal synod had been assembled by Saint David, whilst he was travelling abroad. Which thing displeased him not a little, and he was incensed with great anger against Saint David for such an affront, and continued fasting a day and night. The same night, too, an angel of the Lord came to him, speaking in words of this kind, “I beseech thee not to be angry against thy brother, for as it is written in the Epistle of John, He who hates his brother is a murderer.” By the angelic intervention in this matter he quite forgave the blessed David his fault. Wherefore the angel added, “Because thou hast obeyed my voice, and at my request hast pardoned him who did thee wrong, the Lord thy God will free thy castle full of the souls of men, three times, in the Day of Judgment from eternal penalties. And as many tufts or hairs as are joined together in thy cowl (as is commonly called a certain kind of garment, which the Irish use out of doors, full of shaggy hair or tufts in modum cinium), so many persons shall be snatched for thy sake from perpetual penalties. Also every Saturday from this night for ever, let one soul be freed from infernal torments for thy love, and all your familiar friends, who shall have died in this place, will be liberated from the sufferings of hell. Moreover, whatsoever thou shalt ask of the Lord, thou shalt obtain.” Then the blessed Cadog rejoiced in his fort, and rose up, and recounting the angelic promises to his disciples, exclaimed, “Praise ye the Lord, ye servants of his, praise the name of the Lord, for his mercy is confirmed upon us, and the truth of the Lord remains for ever.”

From the Life of Saint Cynnydd

Saint David, Teilo, and Padarn, journeying for the consolation of the brethren, came to the man of God (Cynnydd), who, rejoicing at their arrival, received them kindly and ministered the benefits of hospitality as to reverend fathers. The blessed David had announced that there was to be a general synod, and humbly took care to invite Saint Cynnydd there. The latter says, “I, having merited crooked limbs, and being unworthy of companionship, am more unworthy to associate with such great men; and, moreover, natural power to proceed on such a journey is lacking to me.” Saint David says, “Let us pray to Jesus Christ that He may think fit to straighten thy limbs to accompany us on our journey.” And a prayer being poured out to God, his calf is loosened from his thigh, as the natural arrangement should be. And when, ready to start on their way, they were all proceeding forward, Cynnydd, the servant of God, pouring out a prayer in the secrets of his heart, attached his calf to his thigh as before. Then Saint David, the bishop, said, “Why dost thou despise our fellowship, seeing that we rejoice in thy society? Why dost thou leave us, pious father, who are anxious in thy absence, seeing we can relieve the burden of our cares in thy presence?” And when they had mutually saluted, the bishops departed, and he returned to his own monastery.

From the Life of Saint Declan of Ardmore

15. The people say that Saint Declan visited Rome many times, but in old writings we have not found that he did so more than thrice. Whilst he was returning on one of these occasions, he came to a holy bishop of the Britons, named David, remaining in his monastery of Chell Muny, which is on the shore of the sea that divides Ireland and Britannia, and was received there honourably. And Saint Declan remained there at the request of Saint David in all charity for forty days, celebrating mass every day. These two pontiffs, to wit, Declan and David, confirmed for ever in Christ’s name the brotherhood between themselves and their followers. And after forty days, with the blessing and permission of the most holy Bishop David and his brethren, the blessed father Declan and his followers with the kiss of peace took ship, and began to sail to Ireland.

From the Irish Life of Findian of Clonard

2527. Now when [Findian] reached the age of thirty, he went over sea. He came to [Dairinis, an island in Wexford Haven]. There he found before him an elder named Caeman. They were for a time together, and they made a union. After that Findian came to Cell Muine. There he found before him three sages, named David, and Gildas, and Cathmael. This was the cause of their being gathered together there a contention for the headships and abbacy of the island of Britain between two of them, that is, between David and Gildas. They agreed that Cathmael should be arbitrator between them. Now when Cathmael beheld Saint Findian, he looked at him meditatively. “What is that great attention,” saith David to Cathmael, “that them bestowest on the unknown youth that is gone into the house?”

“Great grace,” said Cathmael, “I perceive upon him.”

“If,” saith David, “there is grace upon him, let him now speak in the British tongue, and let him decide the cause in which we are engaged.”

Findian made the sign of the cross over his mouth, and he spake in British, as if it had been his mother-tongue, and he awarded the island to David because of his seniority.

2540. Then went Findian and Catmael and David and Gildas to parley with the king, (and) to ask him for the site of a church. He said that he had none. Howbeit a certain man in the house said boldly, “If the clerics like,” saith he, “let them put this great lake away from the side of the fortress, and let them build their church in its place.” “If they do that,” saith the king, “they shall have even this stronghold beside the place of the lake.” Howbeit Findian went with a torch in his hand, and he dipped it into the lake, and the lake fled before him into the sea; and God’s name and Findian’s were magnified by that great miracle. So those lands were offered to God and Findian. He gave them to the British elders, who were along with him. Three monasteries were founded by them thereon. Of these is Lann Gabran today.

2550. Now Findian was for thirty years studying together with the British elders, who were along with him.

From the Latin Life of Saint Finnian

4. Here he completed the thirtieth year of his age, when he resolved to go across the sea. Bidding farewell to his master, he started on his journey, desiring first to visit an elder named Cayman, with whom he sojourned awhile for the sake of learning. This elder was living in an island which is called Dayrineanis [an island in Wexford Haven]. From there he went across the sea with merchants, but their object was different, for he purposed to trade in the affairs of the kingdom of heaven, but they in temporal gain. When they had landed at the civitas Kellmunnensis, the monastery of Saint Davids, in Britain, Saint Finnian found there three holy men, to wit, Saint David, and Saint Cathmael [i.e. Cadog], and Saint Gildas. As Finnian drew near to the place, where the elders were, he blessed them. Then Cathmael looked diligently at the youth. “Wherefore,” says David, “dost thou look at the young stranger, blooming with the grace of the true God?” And Cathmael says, “The reason I look so diligently at him is, because the grace of God glows in him.” And David says, “He speaks the language of our race fluently, as though he were a native.”

5. When the elders had welcomed the arrival of such a guest, they retired and came to a certain powerful man. When they had asked of him a small place to dwell in, he replied, “I have no such place at hand.” One of his household adds, “If they desire a place to dwell in, let us concede this great mere, which is near them.” For there was close by a great lake, on the shore of which was a fortress, wherein kings were wont to dwell. Cathmael says again, “Not only will this extensive lake be given to them, but also the fortress will be gifted to them.” After this Finnian says to Cathmael, “Allow me to approach the mere and say to it, Withdraw from these bounds in the name of the Lord.” Cathmael is said to have replied, “If this contradicts not the counsel of God, you certainly have permission.” The holy youth, Finnian, approached the shore of the lake with fire, and in the name of the Holy Trinity he. put its waters to flight as far as the sea. And there afterwards many monasteries were built, of which one is called in the Welsh language Melboc, and another Nont, and so forth.

From the Life of Saint Gildas by Caradog of Llancarvan

[Gildas] used to preach every Lord’s Day at a church by the sea, which stands in the region of Pepidiauc in the time of King Trifin, a countless multitude of people listening to him. Whilst he was beginning to preach, the sound of the preaching was checked in the act, for which reason the congregation was very astonished at the strange interruption. Saint Gildas, discovering this, ordered all who were standing by to go out, that he might be able to know whether the interruption of the divine discourse was due to one of them. And not even after their exit could he preach. He then asked if any man or woman was hiding in the church. There answers him the pregnant Nonnita, who was about to be the mother of a most holy boy, Dewi, “I, Nonnita, remain here between the wall and the door, unwilling to join the crowd.” Having heard this, he ordered her to go out; and after she had gone he called the people, who, when summoned, came to hear the preaching of the gospel. After the end of the sermon, he asked an angel of God about the aforesaid incident, to wit, why he had begun to preach and had not been able to finish. And he revealed to him in such words as these: “Nonnita, a holy woman, remains in the church, who is now pregnant and is with great grace about to give birth to a boy, before whom thou couldst not preach, for divine power hindered thy discourse.” [Then Gildas said to the people,] “Of greater grace will be a boy who is about to come. None in your parts will equal him. This district I will leave to him. He will speedily grow and flourish from age to age. For an angel messenger of God has declared this to me as my true destiny.” Whence it happened that? the most holy preacher, Gildas, crossed over to Ireland, where he converted countless people to the Catholic faith.

From the Life of Saint Illtud

Very many scholars flowed to him [Illtud], of the number of whom these four, to wit, Samson, Paulinus, Gildas and Dewi (i.e. David), studied with him, being wisely erudite, and others, very many, like them.

Whilst such things and many others were being said, a certain wayfarer passed by, who was a messenger of Gildas the historian, carrying a brazen bell made by the same Gildas, to be given as a present to the holy pontiff, Dewi, in memory of past fellowship and love. And as he passed by the cave which was near the public road, the bell sounded, being moved without human agency. Saint Illtud, hearing the sweet sound, came to the person who was carrying it, and being pleased with its very delightful melodiousness he moved it three times, asking the man where he was going or whither he carried that beautiful thing, superior to gold? He answered and said, “I go and I carry this bell to Saint Dewi by order of the renowned Gildas.” These things being said, he withdrew and came to Meneuensem vallem, the Mynyw Valley, presenting the pontiff with such a gift. Being presented with the bell, he moved it; it rendered no sound with the motion. The pontiff, wondering at that marvel, asked the messenger if it had been moved or tested by anyone along the way during his messengership. He being asked told him as had happened above, and the bishop believed it to be truly told, saying, “I know that our master, Illtud, wished to possess it for the sweetness of its sound, but he was unwilling to ask for it, hearing it was to be sent to me by the donor, Gildas. God does not wish that I should have this. Return without delay to the cave, and restore to Saint Illtud the thing meant for him which he desired.” The messenger returned to Illtud and did the pontifical command, leaving there the lonely occupant, were it not for the frequent visitation of angels.

From the Life of Saint Justinian

Saint Justinan drew his origin from a most noble stock of Lesser Britain [i.e. Brittany]. Given to literature from childhood, he shone owing to his wonderful learning among the most renowned doctors of his nation. Having received the order of priesthood, he faithfully discharged his sacred duty, and at length merited having a divine message as follows, “Go forth from thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house.”

When the holy man understood this, he joined to himself certain companions, and entered a vessel of woven osiers and hides, praying continually to God that he might convey him to a land where he could lead a solitary life. And at length he touched a country called Chorineum, where for some time he sojourned, and where many began to abandon the world after his example, and to hasten to the holy man for instruction.

But soon, as it had been commanded him at first by God to leave his country and his kindred, so for the second time it was told him to leave that abode. Then entering a skiff and committing himself to the sea and to the winds, he came to the island, which at that time was called Limeneia, where a man devoted to God, Honorius, son of King Thefriaucus, having abandoned the things of this world, was giving himself entirely to God. Being received therefore with kindly hospitality, he increased in such ardour of devotion, that [Honorius] would hand over to the holy man his place and abode, that he might devote himself to gaining souls for Christ without any inconvenience. The blessed Justinan, seeing that the place was fitted for the religious life and was remote from all worldly chatter, said, “I would assent to thy request, if thy sister with her handmaid had a bed far away from us,” which by some incredulous ones was derisively laughed at. But since the eloquence and charm of his holy preaching, and the glory of so great a reputation pleased the blessed man, he said, “Holy father, in order that I may enjoy thy sweet and honourable society, I will send away my sister to another country.” So the sister of the blessed Honorius, having received the blessing and consent of the holy men, went away to far-off regions. And in that place, when very many had come together to him, being illuminated by the word of faith, they returned with the salvation of their souls.

When the fame of so great a man had reached the blessed David, he was overjoyed at the rare arrival of so great a man, and, calling for him through messengers, humbly entreated that [Justinan] would honour him by paying him a visit. It pleased both the blessed David and Saint Justinan to be supported by each other’s fellowship and prayers. And Saint David took him to be his confessor, and to be after God the guardian of his life. And what cells he chose both in the island and outside the island, he granted to him and to the brethren who flowed together unto him.

One day whilst he was given to praying and reading, five men arrived sailing in a fast sailer, and hurrying to him said, “Lo, he whom thou lovest is sick. He bids thee to hasten to him without any delay.” When [Justinan] heard of the sickness of him, who was his friend in Christ, he hastened to the fast sailing skiff, and began to chant psalms. When he had come by rowing to the middle of the sea, then at length lifting up his face, he perceived that they were uglier than people whom he had been wont to see, and he observed plainly that they were evil spirits. Then with hands and eyes lifted up to heaven, he began the 79th Psalm, to wit, “Haste Thee, O God, to deliver me.” And when he was chanting the second verse of that psalm, “Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul,” they vanished and flew away like black crows. Relying so on God’s help he was carried to land on a rock, which rose by divine power from the depth of the sea, and found Saint David, whom the evil spirits asserted to be sick, safe and sound.

The enemy of the human race, seeing therefore that he was overcome by the holy man, and that neither could he prevail by trying him with frequent assaults, nor could he separate him from the service of God by evil suggestions, devised other means of his crafty art, and poured his poison into the three servants of the holy man. The servants, then, seized by madness, not only despised the salutary admonitions of their master wherewith he used to exhort them so to employ their labour as not to live an idle life, but rushed at him and threw him on the earth, without fearing cruelly to cut off his head, On the spot where his sacred head fell to the ground, a copious fountain of clearest water emanated forthwith in abundance from the rock, whose stream, quaffed by sick folk, conveys health of body to all.

One named Jonas, having poison administered to him in a drink of milk, found his belly marvellously swollen. When he had partaken of that water, he straightway threw up a live frog, and all the swelling of his belly disappeared.

Those sons of iniquity, after the deed of iniquity committed by them, perceived that they were struck by leprosy, and that divine vengeance had been manifestly directed against them. Having gone from that place with groaning and weeping, they arrived together at a certain rock, which to this day is called “the Rock of the Lepers.” Afterwards, mourning there and torturing their bodies with heavy afflictions, and beating them with many stripes, in grief and hardship as long as they lived, they ended their existence in greatest penitence, and deserved to obtain pardon for their sins by the merits of Saint Justinan.

Greater marvels followed great ones. For the body of the blessed martyr, deprived of its head, rose in that place, and bearing the head between its arms, descended to the sea-shore; and walking on the sea, went over to the creek called by his name; and in the place, where now stands a church dedicated to his honour, falling on the ground, lay there, and at that spot he deserved to be buried.

In the same church, where the holy martyr’s body lies, our Saviour has seen well to exhibit many miracles. Sick people going there, detained by any kind of sickness, return home safe and sound, full of thanksgiving to God.

The holy bishop, David, not unaware of the suffering of his friend, and the full issue of the matter, warned by divine revelation, with his brethren carried the sacred body with hymns and chants to the Church of Mynyw, and placed it honourably in a new sarcophagus.

From the Life of Saint Molua, Abbot of Clonfertmulloe

38. The most blessed archbishop of the Leinstermen, Moedhog (i.e. Saint Aeddan of Ferns), wished to cross the sea to Britannia to his holy master, the bishop David, to ask him whom he should have in Ireland as his patrem confessionis, father confessor. And an angel of the Lord came to him, saying, “Do not cross the sea, for almighty God knows that thy confession is holy and pure. Yet go thou to Saint Molua, son of Coche, and let him be thy father confessor, unless thou wiliest otherwise.” Afterwards the holy archbishop Moedhog came to Saint Molua, and was received honourably by him. . . .

From the Life of Saint Padarn

“A heavenly messenger comes to Saint David, who was serving the God Christ in Vallis Rosina, and says to him, ‘Rise, and go to Jerusalem, that thou mayest be ordained there. Join to thee two worthy comrades, who likewise will be ordained, that is, Padarn and Teilo.’ Thereupon David sent to them. They came without delay. They proceeded together through foreign nations, receiving the gift of languages, for though they were men of one language, they addressed each person in his own language wherein he was born. At length they arrived at Jerusalem, and there they preach in the noblest fashion after the manner of the apostles. Afterwards the three saints were ordained bishops by the imposition of the Patriarch’s hand. Then they were presented with gifts. Padarn was presented with a double present, to wit, a Bachall and a Tunic woven throughout. They returned happily. They divided Britannia into their three episcopacies, had not the wickedness of tyrants afterwards disturbed them.”

* * *

“The Patriarch of Jerusalem being present, the three southern kingdoms of the Britons succeeded under three episcopacies of three saints: the kingdom of Seisyll [i.e. Seisyllwg] received the consecration of; churches, and the imposition of ecclesiastical orders, and the confirmation of episcopal baptism, and the chrismal oil, and all episcopal duties from the episcopacy of Saint Padarn; the kingdom of Rhain [i.e. Rheinwg] received these aforesaid rights from the episcopacy of Saint David; and the kingdom of Morgan [i.e. Morgannwg] received episcopal duties from Saint Eiludd [i.e. Teilo]. Therefore the third episcopal locus, monastery, among the southern Britons is the monastery of the bishop, Saint Padarn.”

From the Life of Saint Teilo

Then having heard of the fame of a certain learned man, Poulinus, [Saint Teilo] went to him and abode with him for some time. If there were any scriptural obscurities hidden from him before, they saw all things made reasonably clear by mutual conference. And there he had Saint David as companion, a man of most perfect life. Such great love joined them together with the grace of the Holy Spirit, that in their transactions their likes and dislikes were identical.

Now in the days of these saints, certain peoples, who either from their painted clothes or from their eye-marks were called Picts, came in a number of ships to Britannia from Scythia, and desirous of possessing the land on account of the supply of good things, wherein at that time it excelled all islands, they attacked the Britons more by treachery than by force, and for a while exercised extraordinary tyranny over them. Nor is it a wonder that the Britons were overcome by them, for the Pictish nation was crafty and trained in many engagements by sea and land, whereas the Britons, although enidowed with strength of body, were artless and peaceful, and, not having hitherto been assailed by anyone, were, so to speak, ignorant of warfare, so that they could the more easily be brought under. If anyone from this wishes to know more fully of the matter, he will find it in the history of Gildas, the historian of the Britons.

When a certain prince of that execrable race (they had landed from their skiffs), after butchering the wretched inhabitants and burning houses and temples of saints, had proceeded as far as minuensem ciuitatem, the monastery of Mynyw, he there remained, and there he built his palatium, chief stronghold. When he saw the uprightness of the life of Saint Teilo, David and the other servants of God who lived with them in the same place, he not only envied them, as is ever the wont of the wicked to envy the good, but also, seeing them so intent on the service of God, frequently said many shameful things to them, that so he might separate them from Christ. But as he could not effect his designs by threats and low talk, having tried to seduce them by many devices, he saw he could not accomplish his purpose in any way more aptly than by feminine allurements. So he bade his wife to send her female attendants to the saints, and to offer themselves to the passions of the saints, that by the silly motions of their bodies and by meretricious charms they might try to turn the minds of the saints from their saintly purpose. While they were carrying out the commands of their mistress and feigning, as it were, to be mad, they became mad. For as it is truly said, He who is filthy deserves to become more filthy [Revelation 22:11]. When this was seen, the aforesaid persecutor and all his house by the grace of the servants of God received the Catholic faith, and were baptized by them in the name of Christ.

* * *

After these things the holy man [Teilo] sought again his episcopal see [of Llandaff], accompanied by a supply of clergy and people, and he dwelt there to the end of his life, holding supremacy over all the churches of the whole of “Dextral Britannia” [i.e. Deheubarth] according to the instruction of the fathers, who had consecrated him at Jerusalem, as aforesaid. But the race very rapidly increased from ever so few to a great multitude; and this no doubt happened, because it now became obedient to every ordinance of the saint. Thus, holy Church, which for a long time had been dispersed, was restored by the intervention of Teilo, the most holy of the saints. To him disciples gathered together, who had been disciples of the blessed Dubricius, to wit, Iunapeius, Gurmaet, Toulidauc, Iuhil, Fidelis, Hismael, Tyfhei, Oudoceus, and many other disciples, that they might copy him in morals and doctrine. Of these he consecrated Hismael to be bishop, and sent him to take charge of aecclesiam minuensem the Church of Mynyw, which was now deprived of its pastor. For Saint David had migrated to the Lord.

About This EBook

The text of this ebook is taken from the book Life of Saint David by A W Wade-Evans. It is part of the series Translations of Christian Literarure, Series V, Life of the Celtic Saints, edited by Eleanor Hull and published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in London, England in 1923.

The print book contained approximately 100 pages of introductions, end notes and bibliography concerning the manuscripts, their authors, their history and their provenance. As the expected audience for this ebook is a general reader, I have omitted that material.

Note that while the author was an Anglican clergyman, and the print publisher was an Anglican organization, the material here is simply Wade-Evans translation of the original Latin texts, all of which were written well before the Anglican schism, and is presented without commentary by the translator.