Celtic and Old English Saints          3 July

* St. Bladus of the Isle of Man
* St. Byblig of Wales
* St. Cillene of Iona
* St. Germanus of the Isle of Man
* St. Tirechan
* St. Gunthiern of Wales and Brittany
* St. Guthagon the Irishman
* St. Rumold of Dublin & Malines

St. Bladus of the Isle of Man, Bishop
Date unknown. According to tradition, Saint Bladus was one of the early
bishops of the Isle of Man (Benedictines).

St. Byblig of Wales
(also known as Biblig, Peblig, Piblig, Publicius)
5th century (?). Although Saint Byblig was obviously a holy man
connected with Carnarvon and honoured with much veneration in Wales,
nothing is known about his life (Benedictines).

St. Cillene of Iona, Abbot
Died c. 752. The Irish Saint Cillene migrated to Iona, where he was
elected abbot in 726 (Benedictines).

St. Germanus of the Isle of Man, Bishop
Born c. 410; died in Normandy, c. 474; today is his feast on the Isle of
Man; in Wales it is kept on July 31 or October 1 (because of the
confusion with another Germanus whose feast was on that day).

Farmer states:

"The presence of a number of dedications in North Wales
and Cornwall, sometimes wrongly attributed to Germanus of
Auxerre, together with references to German in Lives of
Celtic saints which are chronologically impossible for
Germanus, has led Celtic scholars to seek at least one
other German to explain them."

Tradition tells us that Saint Germanus was a nephew of Saint Patrick.
We are also told that when Saint Germanus of Auxerre
(f.d. July 31) visited Britain in 448 AD to refute the Pelagians, he met
an Irish colonist whose son became his disciple and chose his master's
name for himself. Baring-Gould reports that Germanus of Man was born in
Brittany and went to Ireland to work with Saint Patrick.

He was a missionary monk in Ireland, in Wales under Saints Brioc (f.d.
May 1) and Illtyd (f.d. November 6), and Brittany. Germanus left
Brittany to meet Patrick in Britain about 462. There he engaged in a
magic contest with Gwrtheyrn. After that he returned to Ireland (c.
466) eventually to become the bishop of the Isle of Man during the
lifetime of Patrick.

After evangelising in Wales, his name is traced in Spain and Gaul. His
martyrdom is recorded in Normandy. His memory is preserved in place
names, such as Jarman and Gremain, in areas such as Caernavonshire,
Denbighshire, Montgomeryshire, and Radnorshire. His name is also found
in the Acts of Kieran and those of other early Irish saints. Leland
mentions a pilgrimage to Garmon ("Armon") at Llanarmon yn Ial, where
votive offerings were made to a statue in sacerdotal vestments
(Baring-Gould, Benedictines, D'Arcy, Farmer, Leland, Moran).

Troparion of St German tone 2
Nephew of Patrick and missionary in Ireland,/ thou didst spread the
Faith in many lands./ From Wales to Brittany, and thence to the Isle of
Man,/ thou didst glorify Christ wherever thou didst tread./ Pray to
Christ to save our souls.

St. Tirechan
7th century. About 670-700 AD, Saint Tirechan wrote a memoir of Saint
Patrick, known as the "Breviarium." which is preserved in the "Book of
Armagh." He was a priest in Meath and disciple of Ultan of Ardbraccan,
who gave Tirechan his notes on Patrick. Using these notes, Tirechan
became one of Patrick's first biographers about a century after the
Irish patron's death.

The oldest extant hagiographical text to bring St. Patrick into contact
with Mag Slecht is Tirechan's Breviarium written between 668 and 701 a.
d. and entered in the Book of Armagh by the scribe Ferdomnach about the
year 807.

Tirechan records that Patrick travelled to Gaul (especially Auxerre and
Lerins), Italy, and the Tyrrhenian Sea. His work also includes valuable
details about Ireland during his own life (Binchy, D'Arcy, Needham,
O'Hanlon, Ryan).

St. Gunthiern, Prince of Wales, Hermit in Brittany
Died c. 500. Gunthiern, a Welsh prince, left his homeland in his youth
to become a hermit in Brittany (Armorica). On the Isle of Groie near the
mouth of the Blavet, he was given land for a monastery by the local
lord, Grallon, who was impressed by Gunthiern's holiness. The abbey is
known as Kemperle, which indicates its location between the Isol and
Wile Rivers.

Once a swarm of insects threatened to devour the crops. Count Guerech I
of Vannes, dreading a famine, sent three dignitaries to request the
saint's intercession to turn away the scourge. Gunthiern blessed some
water and told them to sprinkle it over the fields. When they followed
Gunthiern's instructions the insects were destroyed.

During the Norman invasions, Gunthiern's body was concealed in the isle
of Groie. When it was discovered in the eleventh century, it was
translated to the monastery of Kemperle, which now belongs to the
Benedictine Order. Saint Gunthiern is patron of this abbey as well as of
many other churches and chapels in Brittany (Benedictines, Husenbeth).

The Life of St Gurthiern,
Celtic Christianity e-library
University of Wales, Lampeter

St. Guthagon the Irishman, Hermit in Belgium
8th century. Like so many other Irish saints, Guthagon is said to have
been born of royal blood. Forsaking the world, he crossed over into
Belgium, where he became a recluse at Oostkerk near Bruges in Flanders.
His sanctity was confirmed by numerous miracles worked by God following
the saints death. Guthagon's shrine and chapel are venerated. On July 3,
1059, Bishop Gerard of Tournai translated Guthagon's relics
(Benedictines, Husenbeth).

St. Rumold(us), Bishop Martyr
(also known as Rombauld, Rumbold, Rombaut)
Died c. 775; feast day formerly June 24. Rumold, an Anglo-Saxon monk,
became a regionary bishop and worked under Saint Willibrord in Holland
and Brabant. He was martyred near Malines, where he is now the titular
of the cathedral and his relics rest in an elaborate golden shrine over
the high altar. His feast is still a major event. The Roman martyrology
and later legends say that he was of Irish descent and bishop of Dublin
(Benedictines, Montague). In art, Saint Rumbold is a bishop with a
missioner's cross, a bearded man with a hoe lying under his feet. He may
also be shown murdered near a coffer of money (Roeder).


Baring-Gould, S. (1914). Lives of the Saints.
Edinburgh: John Grant.

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.]

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.

Moran, P. (1879). Irish Saints in Great Britian.

Needham, K. (1963). Life of Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick Fathers.

O'Hanlon, J. (1875). Lives of Irish Saints, 10 vol. Dublin.

Ryan, J. (1931). Irish Monasticism. Dublin: Talbot Press.

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

For All the Saints:

These Lives are archived at:

Reply via email to