St Edelienta

When we stayed in Cornwall a couple of years ago, we stayed near the village of St Edellion. As with so many places named after local saints, the place becomes part of the local fabric whilst the story of the saint is lost to the modern or post-modern age. Thus even though we passed by repeatedly we never stopped to see the remains of the shrine of St Endelienta.

She was quite a lady. She was a daughter of St Brychan, King of Brycheiniog, namesake of the town of Brecon and the county of Brecknockshire (now absorbed into the county of Powys). St Brychan sired many saintly sons and daughter – the most common number given is 24.

St Edelienta chose to join a number of her siblings as missionaries from Wales to north Cornwall. She was very ascetical and lived on the milk of one cow and well water. The cow was killed by, or on the orders of a local chieftain, when it strayed onto his land. The chieftain was killed by others in retaliation, outraged at the injustice. Various stories connect this revenge King Arthur (either he sent someone to do it or did it himself), but this is extremely unlikely for reasons that would take too long here.

Was appears to be undisputed is that the local chieftain and the cow were both brought back to life by St Edelienta.

The site of the church bearing her name is also a result of her last wishes. She asked that her body be put on a cart, yoked to two unguided bulls and that they be left to take her wherever they liked. The church was built at the place where they stopped. Her shrine remained there until the Reformation, when the whole miracle thing was not popular with the Protestants and it was demolished.

A troparion in her honour:

O holy Endelienta,/ when thy cow, thine only source of sustenance, was cruelly killed,/ thy heart was filled with forgiveness for the slaughterer./ Pray to Christ our God/ that we may ever forgive our enemies/ and ourselves find mercy.

St Endelienta, pray to God for us.


2 Responses to St Edelienta

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Pray for us indeed !

  2. Margi says:

    šŸ™‚ Grazie mille. I forgot St Endellion yesterday! I have, however, post-dated her referring folks here.

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