The 1st of March is St. David's Day.
I was asked to write about the saints in the Link for the next few months. It seems good to start with a fellow Celt and Patron Saint of Wales. St David stands among the British and Saxon saints of the early days of Christianity in the UK. Much of St David’s life is today a mix of mystery and legend, but he lived in Wales in the 6th century, preached the Gospel to the Celtic tribes of western Britain, and founded several religious communities, notably one at what is now St David’s. His rules for the monks were austere, even by the standards of the time, and legend has it that, as happened to St Benedict, his strictness made him so unpopular at one monastery that his monks tried to poison him – but, as with St Benedict, he came to no harm.
It is also said that St David travelled as far as Jerusalem and that he was consecrated Archbishop by the Patriarch there – a story that may have its roots in later propaganda, as it would have indicated that the Welsh church need not be expected to take instructions from Canterbury. Be that as it may, he appears in many Welsh churches wearing headgear different from what we expect to see on an Archbishop, and about his neck is a priestly breastplate of the kind we associate with Aaron. These features seem likely to have a connection with the Jerusalem story. In Wales, St David is often depicted with a white dove on his shoulder – for it is said that once, when he was preaching outdoors, the ground miraculously rose into a mound so that he could be seen and heard more easily, and at the same time the dove alighted upon him.
Happy Saint David's Day to all with Welsh connections.
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The Link is a monthly publication by members and staff of Morningside United Church.