Celtic and Old English Saints          16 August

* St. Armagil of Brittany

St. Armagillus of Brittany
(Armagilus, Armail, Armael, Armahel, Armel, Arthmael,
Arzel, Ermel, Erme, Ermin, Ermyn, Hermel, Thiarmail)
Born in southern Wales; died c. 552-570.

Most commonly known as Saint Erme in Cornwall. The monk Armagillus, a
cousin of Saint Samson (f.d. July 28) and Saint Cadfan (f.d. November
1), crossed the English Channel to Brittany with many kinsfolk. With
the help of King Childebert, he founded and was abbot of
Saint-Armel-des-Boscheaux and Plou-Ermel (Ploermel), which still has
8th-century, stained-glass windows depicting scenes from his life.
Connor, a local chieftain, forced them to leave the mission until 555.
Connor was slain in battle that year, allowing their return.

A church called Saint Erme is dedicated to him in Cornwall, perhaps
because King Henry VII of England believed that Armagillus's
intercession saved him from shipwreck off the coast of Brittany. His
earliest known "vita" dates only from the 12th century, but his cultus
spread from Brittany to Normandy, Anjou, and Touraine. His feast was
added to the Sarum Calendar in 1498 (Benedictines, Farmer, Roeder).

In art, Saint Armagillus is portrayed as an abbot receiving envoys from
the king (Roeder). There is a statue of Armagillus in Henry VII's
chapel at Westminster, and another on Cardinal Morton's tomb at
Canterbury. In paintings on the reredos (the decorative backdrop to the
altar against a wall) of Romsey Abbey and elsewhere, he may be
represented in armour and a chasuble, leading a dragon with a stole
around its neck. This image recalls a legend that the saint lead a
dragon to Mont-Saint-Armel and commanded it to dive into the river below

Saint Armagillus is invoked to cure headaches, fever, colic, gout, and
rheumatism. He is the patron of hospitals (Farmer).

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