The Catholic Defender: Saint David of Wales
David is the patron saint of Wales and perhaps the most famous of British saints. David was a native of Wales, and tradition has preserved a relatively large amount of detail about his life.
He became renowned as a teacher and preacher, founding monastic settlements and churches in Wales
The 12th century St Davids Cathedral, built on the site of a much older religious buildings, is the reason for little St Davids' outsize city status. Constructed from dusky purple sandstone, it's one of Wales' most iconic religious sites and sits tucked away in a sheltered vale beside the River Alun.
It is known that he became a priest, engaged in missionary work, and founded many monasteries, including his principal abbey in southwestern Wales. Many stories and legends sprang up about David and his Welsh monks. Their austerity was extreme. They worked in silence without the help of animals to till the soil. Their food was limited to bread, vegetables and water.
In about the year 550, David attended a synod where his eloquence impressed his fellow monks to such a degree that he was elected primate of the region. The episcopal see was moved to Mynyw, where he had his monastery, now called St. David’s. He ruled his diocese until he had reached a very old age. His last words to his monks and subjects were: “Be joyful, brothers and sisters. Keep your faith, and do the little things that you have seen and heard with me.”
St. David is known in the Welsh language, is the patron saint of Wales. He was a Celtic monk, abbot and bishop, who lived in the sixth century. During his life, he was the archbishop of Wales, and he was one of many early saints who helped to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of western Britain.
There are many stories of St David's miracles. They include bringing a dead boy back to life by splashing the child's face with tears, and restoring a blind man's sight. David's best-known miracle took place in the village of Llanddewi Brefi. David is said to have denounced Pelagianism during this incident and he was declared archbishop by popular acclaim
St. David of Wales was preaching in the middle of a large crowd at the Synod of Brefi: the village of Llanddewi Brefi stands on the spot where the ground on which he stood is reputed to have risen up to form a small hill. A white dove, which became his emblem, was seen settling on his shoulder.
A great crowd gathered at the synod, and when Devid stood up to speak, one of the congregation shouted, 'We won't be able to see or hear him'. At that instant the ground rose till everyone could see and hear David. Unsurprisingly, it was decided, very shortly afterwards, that David would be the Archbishop
Saint David is pictured standing on a mound with a dove on his shoulder. The legend is that once while he was preaching a dove descended to his shoulder and the earth rose to lift him high above the people so that he could be heard. Over 50 churches in South Wales were dedicated to him in pre-Reformation days.
he would stand up to his neck in a lake of cold water, reciting Scripture.
His last words to his followers came from a sermon he gave on the previous Sunday: 'Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do. '
St. David once rose a youth from death, and milestones during his life were marked by the appearance of springs of water.
David lived for over 100 years, and it is generally accepted that he died in 589. On a Tuesday, the first of March, in the year 589, the monastery is said to have been 'filled with angels as Christ received his soul'.
After his death, his influence spread far and wide, first through Britain and then by sea to Cornwall and Brittany. In 1120, Pope Callactus II canonised David as a Saint. Following this he was declared Patron Saint of Wales. Such was Davids influence that many pilgrimages were made to St.
David was officially recognised at the Holy See by Pope Callixtus II in 1120,
Saint David is usually represented standing on a hill with a dove on his shoulder.
March 1st was celebrated until the Reformation as a holy day.
St. David's day has long been a celebration of the saint of Wales. Traditional festivities include wearing daffodils and leeks, recognized symbols of Wales and Saint David respectively, eating traditional Welsh food including cawl and Welsh rarebit, and women wearing traditional Welsh dress.