Celtic and Old English Saints          11 April

* St. Aid of Achad-Finglas
* St. Guthlac of Croyland
* St.Machai of Bute
* St. Maedhog- Aedhan

St. Aid of Achad-Finglas, Abbot
Date unknown. Abbot Saint Aid of Achard-Finglas, County Carlow, Ireland,
may be identical with Saint Aed Maedhog. He is the titular of a church,
an abbey, and several chapels (Benedictines, Husenbeth).

St. Guthlac of Croyland, Hermit
Born in Mercia, c. 673; died at Crowland, Lincolnshire, England, in 714;
feast day formerly on April 12; feast of his translation is August 30
and there is a commemoration on August 26.

As a young man of royal blood from the tribe of Guthlacingas, Guthlac
had been a soldier for nine years, fighting for Ethelred, the King of
Mercia. At age 24, he renounced both violence and the life of the world
and became a monk in double abbey at Repton, which was ruled by an
abbess named Elfrida.

Even in these early years his discipline was extraordinary. Some of the
monks in fact disliked him because he refused all wine and cheering
drink. But he lived down the criticism and gained the respect of his
brothers. After two years in the monastery it seemed to him far too
agreeable a place. On the feast of Saint Bartholomew about 701, he found
a wet, remote, unloved spot on the River Welland in the Fens, which
could be reached only by boat, and lived there for the rest of his life
as a hermit, seeking to imitate the rigours of the old desert fathers.

His temptations rivalled theirs. Wild men came out of the forest and
beat him. Even the ravens stole his few possessions. But Guthlac was
patient, even with wild creatures. Bit by bit the animals and birds came
to trust him as their friend. A holy man named Wilfrid once visited
Guthlac and was astonished when two swallows landed on his shoulders and
then hopped all over him. Guthlac told him, "Hast thou not learned,
brother, that with him who has led his life after God's will, the wild
beasts and birds become more intimate, just as to those who leave the
world, the angels approach nearer?".

Apparently, Guthlac was also had a vision of Saint Bartholomew, his
patron. Nor was he entirely alone in his refuge: He had several
disciples, Saints Cissa, Bettelin, Egbert, and Tatwin, who had cells
nearby. Bishop Hedda of Dorchester ordained him to the priesthood during
a visit. The exiled prince Ethelbald, often came to him for advice,
learned from Guthlac that he would wear the crown of the Mercians.

When he was dying, Guthlac sent for his sister, Saint Pega, who was a
hermitess in the same neighbourhood (Peakirk or Pega's church). Abbess
Edburga of Repton sent him a shroud and a leaden coffin. A year after
his death, Guthlac's body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. Soon
his shrine, to which his sister had donated his Psalter and scourge,
began popular. When both King Wiglaf of Mercia (827-840) and Archbishop
Ceolnoth of Canterbury (who was cured by Guthlac of the ague in 851)
became devotees, Guthlac's cultus grew and spread. A monastery was
established on the site of Saint Guthlac's hermitage, which developed
into the great abbey of Crowland, to which his relics were translated in
1136. There was another translation in 1196.

One can go on pilgrimage to the site, which has much of interest, but
nothing of the saint's era remains, for it was destroyed by pagan
raiders who ravaged the region at that time. Persons linked with
Cambridge will recall that their University was founded under the
inspiration of the abbot of Crowland, thus Sabine Baring-Gould has said,
making St Guthlac the University's spiritual father.

Guthlac's vita was recorded in Latin by his near contemporary Felix.
Several others were composed in Old English verse and prose. Together
with Saint Cuthbert, Guthlac was one of England's most popular
pre-Conquest hermit saints (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Farmer,
Gill, Husenbeth).

In art, Saint Guthlac is depicted holding a scourge in his hand and a
serpent at his feet. At times he may be shown (1) receiving the scourge
from Saint Bartholomew; (2) being ordained priest by Saint Hedda of
Winchester; or (3) with devils molesting and angels consoling him
(Roeder). A magnificent pictorial record of his life survives in the
late 12th-century Harleian Roll Y.6 at the British Museum, which is
usually called the Guthlac Roll. This is a series of eighteen roundels,
cartoons for stained glass windows, based on Felix's vita and the
pseudo-Ingulph's history of Crowland.

Crowland also has several 13th-century sculptures of his life. Abbot
Henry of Crowland's 13th-century seal depicts Guthlac receiving a
scourge from Saint Bartholomew for fending off diabolical attacks
(Farmer). He is venerated in Lincolnshire (Roeder).

o The Deserts of Britain
o Four places of ascetical struggle in Britain and the saints who
laboured there: St Gwyddfarch, St Melangell, St Cadfan, and St Guthlac...


Alternative Tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/eo3yz

o Akathist to our Holy Father Guthlac:

o Saint Pega and Saint Guthlac
in the South English Legendary
by Alexandra H. Olsen

St.Machai of Bute, Abbot
(also known as Maccai)
5th century. Machai, a disciple of Saint Patrick, founded a monastery on
the isle of Bute (Benedictines, Husenbeth).

St. Maedhog- Aedhan, Abbot
(also known as Aedhan, Mogue)
6th century. The Irish Abbot Saint Maedhog of Clonmore, was closely
associated with SS. Onchu and Finan (Benedictines).

Troparion of St Maedhog tone 3
Thou didst govern thy monastery of Clonmore/ in Ireland's Age of Saints,
O holy Abbot Maedhog./ Pray to Christ our God that we too may find
grace/ to live in faith and penitence,/ that we may attain to salvation.


Attwater, D. (1983). The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, NY:
Penguin Books.

Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of saints. NY: Macmillan.

Bentley, J. (1986). A Calendar of Saints: The Lives of the
Principal Saints of the Christian Year, NY: Facts on File.

Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gill, F. C. (1958). The Glorious Company: Lives of Great
Christians for Daily Devotion, vol. I. London:
Epworth Press.

Husenbeth, Rev. F. C., DD, VG (ed.). (1928). Butler's
Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints.
London: Virtue & Co.

Roeder, H. (1956). Saints and Their Attributes, Chicago: Henry

For All the Saints:

Pronunciation Help with Irish Names

A Beginner's Guide to Irish Gaelic pronunciation

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