Celtic and Old English Saints          27 September

* St. Barrog of Wales
* St. Sigebert of East Anglia
* St. Marcellus of Saint-Gall

St. Barrog of Wales, Hermit
(Barnock, Barry, Barnoch, Barnic, Barruc, Barrwg)
Died 7th century. Saint Barrog was a disciple of the great Welsh saint
Cadoc (f.d. September 23). He was a hermit on the island off the coast
of Glamorgan, now called Barry (Barruc or Barnoch) Island, where he is
buried (according to Leland). His chapel became a famous pilgrimage
site. William Worcestre records that he was buried at Fowey in
Cornwall. His feast is celebrated on this day in both places,
indicating that there is probably only one saint with two obscure
histories (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Farmer).

Troparion of St Barrog Tone 8
Light of the West, inspirer of monastics and boast of ascetics,/ thy
radiant life was pleasing to God, O Father Barrog./ Do not reject us in
our pitiable state but pray, O Saint,/ that repenting and weeping we may
be found worthy of a place in Christ's holy Kingdom.

St. Sigebert of East Anglia, King & Martyr
Died 635; feast day sometimes January 16. Saint Bede (f.d. May 25)
tells us that Saint Sigebert, the first Christian king of East Anglia,
was baptized in France. He had gone into exile during the reign of
Redwald, who attempted to combine Christian worship with that of the
German gods in the same church. In 630, Sigebert returned home as king
with Saints Felix of Dunwich (f.d. March 8) and Fursey (f.d. January
16), who evangelize his kingdom with the help of Bishop Saint Honorius
(f.d. September 30). He provided Fursey with the land and money to
establish Burgh Castle monastery, and Felix to set up schools. Sigebert
took the Benedictine habit, probably at Dunwich or Burgh Castle, but was
forcibly removed from the cloister by his warrior subjects when Penda of
Mercia attacked the kingdom. His subjects thought Sigebert would
encourage the troops, but he refused to carry a weapon. Armed with only
a staff, Sigebert was killed in a battle against the pagan Penda;
therefore, his subjects venerated him as a martyr (Benedictines,

St. Marcellus (Moengal) of Saint-Gall
Died c. 869-887. Although Saint Marcellus was born either in Scotland
or Ireland, he was a monk of Saint-Gall in Switzerland. It seems that he
and his uncle, the learned Bishop Marcus, were among a group of pilgrims
who stopped at Saint-Gall on their return to the islands. Instead of
continuing on, they placed themselves under the direction of Abbot
Grimwoald. Marcellus sent his horses and pack mules home, but kept the
gold, vestments, and books for the abbey. The 8th-century "Book of
Gospels" (manuscript 51), now housed in the Saint-Gall Cathedral
Library, may have been one of the books the bishop donated to the

The young, brilliant Saint Marcellus was given charge of the cloister
schools. He is known for having tutored Blessed Notker Balbulus (f.d.
April 6), who originated liturgical sequences, as well as other
celebrated figures. During this period, Saint-Gall's scribes supplied
all of Germany with manuscript books of Gregorian chant, often

The Irish with some merit claim him as the instigator of the cultural
eminence of Saint Gall. The 11th-century German historian Ekkehard
wrote: "It is delightful to recall how Saint-Gall began to increase and
flourish under the auspices of Moengal and his colleagues." In the 19th
century, H. Zimmer wrote: "In my opinion, there were very few men who
in the middle of the 9th century exerted such a beneficent influence
upon the German mind in the cultivation of the higher arts and sciences
as Moengal and his followers." The abbey necrology calls Marcellus "the
most learned and excellent man" (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Fitzpatrick 2,
Gougaud, Henry, Montague, Tommasini).


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

D'Arcy, M. R. (1974). The Saints of Ireland. Saint Paul, Minnesota:
Irish American Cultural Institute. [This is probably the most
useful book to choose to own on the Irish saints. The author
provides a great deal of historical context in which to place the
lives of the saints.]

Encyclopedia of Catholic Saints, August. (1966).
Philadelphia: Chilton Books.

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

Fitzpatrick, B. (1927). Ireland and the Foundations of Europe.
New York: Funk & Wagnalls.

Gougaud, L. (1923). Gaelic Pioneers of Christianity, V.
Collins (tr.). Dublin: Gill & Sons.

Henry, F. (1967). Irish Art during the Viking Invasions (800-1020).
Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland.
Guildford: Billing & Sons.

Tommasini, A. (1937). Irish Saints in Italy.
London: Sands and Company.

For All the Saints:

These Lives are archived at:

Reply via email to