Thursday, 5 September 2013

Saints of Britain

Saints of Britain – Saint Deiniol (Sept 11th)

Saint Deiniol (died 584) was traditionally the first Bishop of Bangor in the Kingdom of
Gwynedd, Wales. The present Bangor Cathedral, dedicated to Deiniol, is said to be on the
site where his monastery stood. He is venerated in Brittany as Saint Denoual. In English and
Latin his name is sometimes rendered as Daniel. The churches of Hawarden and
of Marchwiel are dedicated to Deiniol and there are also dedications at Itton in
Monmouthshire and Llangarron in Herefordshire.
According to a Latin Life of Deiniol, preserved
in Peniarth MS226 and transcribed in 1602 by
Sir Thomas Williams of Trefriw, he was the
son of Abbot Dunod Fawr, son of Pabo Post
Prydain. The family, having lost their land in
the North of England, were given land by the
king of Powys, Cyngen ap Cadell. Dunod,
embraced the religious life and founded the
monastery at Bangor-is-y-coed on the Dee.
Deiniol is said to have studied under Cadoc of
Llancarfan. Sir David Trevor describes Deiniol
as one of the seven blessed cousins who had
spent part of his early life as a hermit "on the
arm of Pembrokeshire" but was called to be a
bishop despite deficiencies in his formal
education. Deiniol soon left Powys for
Gwynedd where he founded the monastery of
Bangor under the patronage of Maelgwn
Gwynedd who endowed it with lands and
privileges, later raising it to the rank of the
official seat of a bishop, sharing a common
boundary with the principality of Gwynedd. Deiniol spent the remainder of his days here as
Abbot and Bishop.
He attended the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi in c. 545 with Saint David when the subject of
rules for penance was being discussed. He was apparently consecrated in 545 by Saint
David. According to the Annales Cambriae Deiniol died in 584 and was buried on Bardsey

Saints of Britain – Saint Finbarr (Sept 25th)

Born in Templemartin, near Bandon, and originally named Lóchán (modern form, Loan), he
was the son of Amergin of Maigh Seóla. He studied in Ossory, corresponding approximately
to the present County Kilkenny. He was renamed "Fionnbarra" (Fairhead in Irish),
reportedly when, on being tonsured, the presiding cleric remarked: "Is fionn barr (find barr,
in the Irish of the time) Lócháin", meaning, "Fair is the crest of Loan"), and he then became
known as "Findbarr" ("Fionnbarra" in modern Irish).
On completion of his education he returned home and lived for some time on an island in
the small lake then called Loch Irce. The island is now called Gougane Barra (the little rockfissure
of Finnbarr). He is reputed to have built small churches in various other places,
including one in Ballineadig, County Cork, called Cell na Cluaine, anglicized as Cellnaclona
and sometimes referred to as Cloyne, causing it
to be confused with Cloyne (Cluain Uamha) in
east Cork. It was in Cell na Cluaine that, years
later, he happened to die.
He settled for about the last seventeen years of
his life in the area then known as "an Corcach
Mór" (Great Marsh), now the city of Cork, where
he gathered around him monks and students.
This became an important centre of learning,
giving rise to the phrase "Ionad Bairre Sgoil na
Mumhan" ("Where Finbarr taught let Munster
learn"), chosen for motto by today's University
College Cork.
His church and monastery were on a limestone
cliff above the River Lee, an area now known as
Gill Abbey, after a 12th-century Bishop of Cork,
Giolla Aedha Ó Muidhin. It continued to be the
site of the cathedral of his diocese. The present
building on the site, owned by the Church of Ireland, is called Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral.
The people of Cork often refer to it as the South Cathedral, distinguishing it from the North
Cathedral, the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint Anne.
Finnbarr died at Cell na Cluaine, while returning from a visit to Gougane Barra. He was
buried in the cemetery attached to his church in Cork.