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St. Magloire
San-Maglorio di Dol.JPG
Saint Magloire of Dol, oil painting by Eugène Goyet (1798–1846), Church Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas in Paris
Died 575
Venerated in Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity
Feast October 24

Magloire,[1] better known as Saint Magloire of Dol, is a Breton saint, one of a number attributed an origin the other side of the English Channel.[2][3] Due to the earliest written sources dating to three centuries after his death, almost nothing historically reliable is known of Magloire, but it is claimed that he was a British monk who became Bishop of Dol-de-Bretagne in Brittany, and ended his life on the island of Sark, where he was abbot of a monastery.[4]


Although unlikely to contain any reliable biographic information concerning Magloire, the Vita sancti Maglorii presents a narrative of his life as follows. Magloire was born in the early 6th century to Afrelia and Umbrafel, the aunt and uncle of Samson of Dol. As a child, he studied at the monastery at Llantwit Major under the tutelage of St Illtud. Following this he journeyed to Brittany with his cousin Samson, who then became 'archbishop' of Dol.[5] After Samson's death, Magloire succeeded him as his chosen successor to the 'archbishopric', although, having received instructions from a visiting angel, he soon resigned his post to Budoc and withdrew to the island of Sark, where he established a community of 62 monks.[6] According to Butler's dating, he died about the year 575, but since the hagiography gives no dates, such statements are highly approximate.[7][8]


As well as this biographical information the Vita sancti Maglorii also attributes several miracles to St Magloire and claims that as a result of these, he acquired much land. It claims that Count Loisescon, who had been gravely ill and was miraculously cured by Magloire, gave him a sixth of all his wealth and that Nivo, the owner of Guernsey, asked for his help in curing his daughter who was deaf and dumb, and for this Magloire was granted a third of Guernsey.

One of the most well known and detailed stories about him concerns his rescue of a group of children who were playing on the beach below the monastery in an abandoned wreck, when a sudden violent storm swept them out to sea. Hearing their cries for help, Magloire is said to have transported himself out to sea and saved them and their boat, steering it to the safety of shore before vanishing.[6]

Other tales include that he travelled to the island of Jersey and destroyed a dragon, that he resurrected a drowned fishermen of Sark and that he led the Islanders to fight of a highly anachronistic fleet of Vikings.

The story is also told that he was having trouble keeping a vow to drink neither wine nor ale, and to fast from all food twice in the week. Then an angelic visitation dispensed him from his vow.

Posthumous miracles of St Magloire are also included in the surviving texts. After his death, Sark was attacked again by Vikings, who sacked the monastery, killing the monks. When seven of them attempted to open St. Maglorius' tomb, they were blinded, and many of the others began to kill each other.


Later on, in the reign of Nominoe, the body of Magloire was stolen by the monks of Lehon Abbey. There he was venerated by the monks as their primary saint, and it seems likely that the majority of his hagiography was written there in the late-ninth century.[9] Following the increase in Viking raids in the early-tenth century, his relics were transported to Paris by the monks, where Hugh the Great granted them land to establish a new monastery. In 1572 Catherine de' Medici decided to use the site as home for a group of Benedictine monks who had been expelled from their abbey of Saint-Magloire. In 1620, the seminary of the Oratorians under Pierre de Bérulle, the first seminar in France, replaced the Benedictines. It was known as the seminary of Saint-Magloire. The relics of St. Magloire and his disciples were transferred to the hospital at the site of the Église Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas, which became a monastery. The relics were buried secretly during the French Revolution, and were found in 1835, during the installation of a new high altar.


A Latin Vita Sancti Maglorii exists, of uncertain provenance, on which almost all of the knowledge of Maglorius rests. François Duine (1874–1924) called this work a masterpiece of ancient Breton literature. Scholars place its composition between the later 9th century and the middle of the 10th century. There also exists a Translatio Parisios, which tells of the monks of Lehon's flight to Paris in the tenth-century, and is the primary source for the foundation of their monastery in Paris.[10] The Vita is untranslated, but is accessible in the Acta Sanctorum series.[11]

Feast Day[edit]

He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church on October 24.[7][12]


  1. ^ Maglorius, Maelor; also called Maglorius, Melorius, Peter Doyle (1996), Butler's Lives of the Saints, pp. 170–1and Maelor.
  2. ^ David Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, Oxford: (Clarendon Press, 1978), pp. 256–257.
  3. ^ John Henry Newman, Lives of the English Saints, (London: Freemantle, 1901), vol. 3, pp. 40–41.
  4. ^ Joseph-Claude Poulin, L'hagiographie bretonne du haut Moyen Age, (Thorbecke, 2009), pp. 199–234
  5. ^ From the 860s onwards, the bishops of Dol began to claim that their saint, Samson, had been an archbishop and it seems likely to be these claims which the Vita sancti Maglorii is reflecting.
  6. ^ a b "St. Magloire", St. Peter's Church, Sark Archived 2013-12-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b Butler, Alban, The Lives of the Saints, Volume X, 1866
  8. ^ Julia M. H. Smith, "Maglorius, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online, ed.)
  9. ^ Poulin, L'hagiographie bretonne, p. 207
  10. ^ Poulin, L'hagiographie bretonne, pp. 223-5
  11. ^ Joseph Van Hecke, Acta Sanctorum, (Paris and Rome, 1869), pp. 772-93
  12. ^ Vladimir Moss, A century of English sanctity 69. SAINTMAGLORIUS, BISHOP OF SARK.


  • Peter Doyle (1996), Butler's Lives of the Saints, pp. 170–1
  • Joseph-Claude Poulin (2009), L'hagiograohie bretonne du haut Moyen Age, pp. 199-234