Justinian of Ramsey Island

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Saint Justinian
Born 5th century
Died 6th century
Ramsey Island, Pembrokeshire
Venerated in Eastern Orthodox church
Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion
Major shrine St David's Cathedral
Feast 5 December

Saint Justinian (Welsh: Stinan, Jestin, Iestin) was a 6th-century hermit who lived on Ramsey Island, near St. David's, in the Welsh county of Pembrokeshire.

Traditional life[edit]

Tradition states that he was a Breton nobleman who settled on the island of Ramsey as a hermit. He was visited by Saint David who was so impressed with his holiness that he made him his confessor and Abbot of St David's Cathedral. However, Justinian became disillusioned with the poor attitude of the monks at St Davids and took himself away the short distance to remote Ramsey Island to establish a more holy spiritual community. His more loyal monks followed him. Legend has it that he was eventually murdered by some disgruntled servants or monks fed up with his strict regime, it is said by beheading him. Apparently he picked up his head and crossed Ramsey Sound walking on the water carrying his head in his arms and his body was buried in the small ruined chapel which still stands on the mainland at St Justinian's, immediately opposite his island home.


Justinian is listed on very ancient Welsh calendars of saints and martyrs and the Anglican church at Llanstinan, near Fishguard, is dedicated to him. His body was transported to the shrine of Saint David in St David's Cathedral. The remains of their supposed bones are housed in a casket in the Holy Trinity Chapel there, although the earliest of these have been carbon-dated to the 12th century.

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