Portal:Catholicism/Patron Archive/March 1

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Jesus Chapel St David.jpg

Saint David (c. 500589) (known in Welsh as Dewi Sant) was a church official, later regarded as a saint and as the patron saint of Wales. David contrasts with the other national patron saints of the British Isles, Saints George and Andrew and in that a relatively large amount of information is known about his life. However, his birth date is still uncertain, with suggestions ranging from 462 to 512.

David was the son of sanctus rex ceredigionis, where Sanctus has been interpreted as a proper name and its owner honoured by Welsh Christians as Sandde, King of Ceredigion. According to Rhygyfarch, Sandde was his brother, so probably only a king of part of Ceredigion. They were sons of King Ceredig, founder of Ceredigion. The saint was conceived through violence and his poor mother, Non (possibly just 'a nun'), the daughter of Lord Cynyr of Caer Goch (in Pembrokeshire), gave birth to him on a cliff top during a violent storm. David was educated at what is usually taken to be Whitland in Carmarthenshire under Saint Paulinus of Wales.

He became renowned as a teacher and preacher, founding monastic settlements and churches in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany in a period when neighbouring tribal regions (that were to be united as England three hundred years later) were still mostly pagan. He rose to a bishopric, and presided over two synods, as well as going on pilgrimages to Jerusalem (where he was anointed as a bishop by the Patriarch) and Rome. St David's Cathedral now stands on the site of the monastery he founded in the remote and inhospitable valley of 'Glyn Rhosyn' in Pembrokeshire.

The Monastic Rule of David prescribed that monks had to pull the plough themselves without draught animals; to drink only water; to eat only bread with salt and herbs; and to spend the evenings in prayer, reading and writing. No personal possessions were allowed: to say "my book" was an offence. He lived a simple life and practiced asceticism, teaching his followers to refrain from eating meat or drinking beer. His symbol, also the symbol of Wales, is the leek.

It is claimed that David lived for over 100 years, and he died on a Tuesday 1 March (now St David's Day). It is generally accepted that this was around 590, making the actual year 589. Attributes: bishop with a dove, usually on his shoulder, sometimes standing on a raised hillock Patronage: Wales; Pembrokeshire; vegetarians; poets Prayer: