Celtic and Old English Saints          24 July

* St. Declan of Ardmore
* St. Germoc of Cornwall
* St. Lewina of Berg
* St. Menefrida of Cornwall
* Ss. Wulfhade and Ruffinus
* St. Christiana of Termonde

St. Declan of Ardmore, Bishop & Abbot
Born at Desi (Decies), Waterford, Ireland, 5th century.

Declan, an Irish monk, was baptized by and a disciple of Saint Colman.
He appears to have been an Irish evangelist before the arrival of Saint
Patrick. He may have made two pilgrimages to Rome and later became the
first bishop of Ardmore, a see confirmed by Patrick during the synod of
Cashel in 448. Many miracles are attributed to Declan, who is much
honoured in Dessee (formerly Nandesi) (Benedictines, Delaney,
Encyclopaedia, Husenbeth).

St. Declan, son of Erc, chief of the Desii, was born at the beginning of
the fifth century near Lismore, Co. Waterford. As a young boy he was
sent to fosterage with a certain Dimma, who is said to have been a
foreigner and a Christian. While under Dimma's guardianship, Declan was
converted and baptised by one of the several Irish saints named Colman.

After leaving Dimma, Declan went to Rome, where he studied for the
priesthood and was later consecrated bishop. On his return to Ireland,
he established a monastic community at Ardmore and was later confirmed
in this office by St. Patrick himself. Declan was well known as an
active missionary in Ireland prior top the coming of St. Patrick, the
great organiser of Irish Christianity.

Many miracles are attributed to the intervention of St. Declan. He is
credited, in particular, with having arrested a serious plague by his
prayers and fasting. He is reputed to have been a very close friend of
St. David (patron saint of Wales) and, perhaps more importantly, to have
been on very good terms with Aengus, king of Munster. His influence,
therefore, would have been considerable.

According to tradition, Declan made a miraculous return from Rome by
crossing the sea on a large flagstone. Popular belief has it that this
flagstone ran aground at Ardmore, where he decided to establish his
monastery. To this day the flagstone is pointed out by the locals on the
popular beach at Ardmore.

St. Declan's day is still actively celebrated by the Ardmore
parishioners on 24 July. Until recent times it was the custom, on this
day, for those suffering from back ailments to crawl under the flagstone
as a method of obtaining relief. One nineteenth century commentator,
however, voiced a certain amount of disapproval of the practice on the
grounds that participating ladies would, of necessity, reveal their
ankles in the process. Such a display could, conceivably, lead the
onlooking menfolk into temptation!
The described treatment for backache, however, was said to have been
ineffective if the patient had anything borrowed or stolen on his/her
person at the time.

The waters of St. Declan's well (which was restored in 1951) are said to
posses miraculous powers of healing. Those who suffer from sprains,
injuries or rheumatism, it is said, will obtain relief by bathing the
injured limb in its cool waters.

Each year, the week including his feast day is known as "Pattern Week".
Pilgrims still come to pray at the site of Declan's church on the
headland of Ardmore, adjacent to the round tower which is in an
excellent state of preservation .

St. Declan died in the latter half of the fifth century. He was laid to
rest in his beloved Ardmore, and his burial place is marked by the ruins
of an oratory built over his grave.

The Irish Life of Saint Declan of Ardmore

The Round Tower of St. Declan's Cathedral (12th. century)

A Map of Irish Monasteries

Troparion of St Declan tone 4
Thou wast a bright light in Ireland before the days of Saint Patrick,/ O
holy Father Declan./ Thou didst travel in Europe and return to found a
monastery/ where thou wast ever kind to the poor./ We praise thee, O
glorious Hierarch.

St. Germoc of Cornwall

6th century.
Bishop Gwinear, an Irish prelate made an expedition to Cornwall he had
news of heathenism among the people. This expedition ended in disaster
for St Gwinear and his followers were massacred possibly on the spot
where Gwinear parish church now stands. By the heathen chieftain Teudar.
The chief stronghold of Teudar was at Riviere, and now lies buried under
the sands at Hayle Towens. The disciples of St Patrick do not seem to
have been greatly discouraged by the massacre of Gwinear and his
companions. A fresh band of missionaries was formed to go to Cornwall.
St Germoe was chosen among many others (inc St Breaca ) to take part in
this expedition. A landing was effected at St Ives but no sooner had
this intrepid band reached land than it was violently assailed by the
heathen Teudar, and many missionaries were slain at Conetconia, now
buried under the Hayle Towens. St Germoe escaped, and eventually found
safety in the distraction the south side of Tregonning, possibly amongst
a Cornish clan which had successfully resisted Teudar's power. There in
the course of time he founded and consecrated after the Brito-Celtic
manner, during a period of Forty days fasting and prayer, the site upon
which the ancient Church of St Germoe stands.


St Germoe is a near relative, possibly brother, of St Breaca.

We have found this information in the Celtic Year By Shirley Toulson but
at present are unable to know the wall painting to which she is
referring to. Quote "In a wall painting in the church in Breage he is
shown wearing a Crown and Sceptre no doubt because he appears as a
monarch in the legends connected with Breaca".

St. Lewina of Berg, Virgin & Martyr
5th century. The first extant record of Saint Lewina dates from 1058,
when her relics were translated from Seaford (near Lewes) or Alfriston
in Sussex, England, with those of Saint Idaberga (not sure which one)
and portions of Saint Oswald, to Saint Winnoc's Abbey Church in Bergues,
Flanders, where she had been venerated and her relics honoured by
numerous miracles, especially at the time of the translation. A history
of these miracles was written by Drogo, an eyewitness to several of
them. Lewina is reputed to have been a British maiden martyred by the
invading Saxons (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).

St. Menefrida of Cornwall, Virgin
5th century. Another saintly progeny of the prolific Saint Brychan of
Brecknock, Menefrida is the patron of Menver in Cornwall (Benedictines).

Ss. Wulfhade and Ruffinus, Martyrs
Died 675. Although the legend that grew up around the names of these
martyrs contradicts the known facts of history, they may well have been
genuine martyrs. It is said that these two Mercian brothers, sons of
King Wulfere who had succeeded Peada, were converted and baptized by
Bishop Saint Chad of Litchfield about 670. While at prayer, they were
martyred by their then-pagan father, who later underwent remarkable
penance for his crime. Their mother, Queen Emmelinda, had their bodies
buried at Stone, Staffordshire, and covered their tombs with stones in
the Saxon manner. These stones were later used to build a church over
the spot.

Wulhere's father Penda had persecuted Christians, but his elder brother
Peada had allowed Christianity to be established in his realm. There is
much speculation as to the date of Wulfere's conversion and whether he
actually committed the crime or took responsibility for the acts of some
of his courtiers.

The procurator of the Peterborough Abbey built at Stone travelled to
Rome and prevailed upon the pope to enrol the martyrs among the saints.
He left the head of Saint Wulfhade, which he had taken with him, in the
church of Saint Laurence at Viterbo (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia,
Farmer, Husenbeth).

In art, these two are a pair of princely huntsmen who pursue a stage,
which takes refuge with Saint Chad, sitting by a pool (Roeder). They are
venerated at Lichfield, York, England (Roeder) and are patrons of the
town and monastery of Stone (Husenbeth).

St. Christiana of Termonde, Virgin
7th century. Saint Christiana is said to have been the daughter of an
Anglo-Saxon king. She crossed over to Flanders where she lived until her
death. She is the patron saint of Termonde, Belgium (Benedictines).


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

Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket dictionary of saints, NY:
Doubleday Image.

Encyclopaedia of Catholic saints, July. (1966).
Philadelphia: Chilton Books.

Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford dictionary of saints.
Oxford: Oxford University 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:
These Lives are archived at:


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