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#1 Michael Coppock

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:15 AM

Orthodox (and former Orthodox) countries tend to have a rich heritage of saints. In Wales, where I live, there appear to be hundreds of Orthodox saints, especially from around the 6th century. There is inevitably confusion and conflicting information about their lives, and different names for what turns out to be the same saint.

I'm researching the history and legends of the 6th century saint which my village is named after, but the more I discover that's written about him, the more confusing it becomes. However, it's fascinating to re-discover the life of a saint whose all but lost in history, other than the place names.

Does anyone else have local saints?

In Christ,
Michael

#2 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 03:03 PM

I appreciate what Fr David often says about keeping your name when you come to Orthodoxy if this was already an Orthodox name. Similarly here in the west we often feel that the city or locality where we live offers nothing of Orthodoxy or sacredness. But yet many place names around us refer to saint's names especially if these places were established by French or Spanish explorers. Thus as my first Orthodox priest liked to point out- the first name of Montreal was Ville Marie; ie the City of Mary. Here in our city the French Canadian area is called St Boniface- who as it turns out was an enlightener of Germany. Since this was before the schism and there are a number of icons that represent him, why not venerate him for the protection and guidance of our present Orthodox parishes (or at least this Russian one!). All the more is this something to do since his name is currently so forgotten here as that of a saint, and his once magnificent cathedral is just a shell with one wall where they hold concerts.

In Christ
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#3 Kusanagi

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 07:24 PM

Yes, I have protomartyr of Britain St Alban.

#4 Olga

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:23 PM

No Australian Orthodox saints yet. :-( Though I could think of a few good, humble and pious souls who deserve to be proclaimed as saints. ;-)

#5 Richard A. Downing

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:16 AM

If there is anyone interested in Irish saints, then this site is helpful:
Early Christian Ireland

There is also some information on Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) here:
The Living Tradition

I have to admit a technical connection, and hence a vested interest, since I help maintain them. If anyone has information that might help to improve these sites then I can put them in touch with the sites' owner.

Love,
Richard.

#6 Kusanagi

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:36 PM

I would recommend the book Britain's holiest places

http://www.amazon.co...h/dp/0954476743

Take note that it is written by an Anglican so he includes lots Roman Catholic, Protestant, Quakers etc etc in the book as well.
It is very detailed in giving details of Holy Relics and Holy Wells, Caves where the saints once dwelled and how to access them.

He does however leave some parts out that are not mentioned in his book for eg. a martyr of Chester (whose name escapes me at the moment), it's like a Roman Theatre and there is a sign saying the name of the saint and how he was martyred as well.
Also it is supposedly the final resting place of King Harold who some say didn't die on the battle field in 1066 but became a monk in the St John the Baptist church/ abbey which is located near by.

Plus the Orthodox Synaxarion (it's really a Coptic Calendar with British saints only) and the book by Fr Andrew Philips which both mention Orthodox Shrines and relics not covered by the book above.

#7 Michael Coppock

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 11:25 PM

Thank you for the links, Richard. Very interesting sites.
Kusanagi, that looks like a great book!

I'm doing a site for the local saint, and I'm still trying to come to some conclusions about him.
http://www.saintsilin.co.uk/

Michael

#8 Kusanagi

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:26 PM

After looking at the books only the Coptic Synaxarion has info on St Silin (Sulian)

29 July

6th Century - Son of Brocmail a King of N. Wales. As a youth he angered his father by following a company of monks and associating with them, but his father later relented and acknowledged that he wanted to become a monk. His abbot blessed him to live as a hermit on a island in Menai Straits later becoming the abbot of the community. A local woman became infatuated with him so he left and travelled to Brittany founding a small monastery of 15 in Rance where St Samson met him once. He returned to Wales when he learned that the woman had passed away but he preferred to stay where God led him. He sent his gospel and staff back to the monastery in Wales as a token of his love for them.

There is another St Silin on the same day also around 6th Century - Founded a community at Luxulyan in Cornwall where he became an abbot. He supposedly came from Brittany.

#9 Kusanagi

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:31 PM

Wanted to add extra, you may need to expand your search on St Silin to outside UK, for example the life of a saint in Norwich (St. Wandregesilius) was recently published and the life was a translation from French sources. They too didn't have much information about their local saint until they did some research and got in contact with some sources in France. See below.

http://www.joyofallw...dregesilius.pdf

#10 Michael Coppock

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:06 PM

After looking at the books only the Coptic Synaxarion has info on St Silin (Sulian)

29 July

6th Century - Son of Brocmail a King of N. Wales. As a youth he angered his father by following a company of monks and associating with them, but his father later relented and acknowledged that he wanted to become a monk. His abbot blessed him to live as a hermit on a island in Menai Straits later becoming the abbot of the community. A local woman became infatuated with him so he left and travelled to Brittany founding a small monastery of 15 in Rance where St Samson met him once. He returned to Wales when he learned that the woman had passed away but he preferred to stay where God led him. He sent his gospel and staff back to the monastery in Wales as a token of his love for them.

There is another St Silin on the same day also around 6th Century - Founded a community at Luxulyan in Cornwall where he became an abbot. He supposedly came from Brittany.


Thank you very much. I've noted that the other St Silin is different from my local one. It's caused a bit of confusion as to whether he comes from Brittany or Wales, but that's now clearer. Having two saints of the same name around the same time had put a spanner in the works.

I've been trying to find the Coptic Synaxarion online, but can only seem to find it in Arabic, or incomplete in English. The text you quote is very helpful indeed, and clarifies the story in The Lives of the Saints. (1914)
I'll keep looking.

The only real confusion I have now is the question that arises from him being the son of a welsh tribal leader, and travelling from Brittany with St Cadfan, and what seem to be numerous other welsh saints, many of whom seem to be princes.
Originally I had thought Silin was Breton, because of this journey, but it looks more like a 'return home' journey.

Here's where I could do with the help of Sherlock Holmes.

#11 Nick Mayhew Smith

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:39 AM

some parts out that are not mentioned in his book for eg. a martyr of Chester (whose name escapes me at the moment), it's like a Roman Theatre and there is a sign saying the name of the saint and how he was martyred as well.
Also it is supposedly the final resting place of King Harold who some say didn't die on the battle field in 1066 but became a monk in the St John the Baptist church/ abbey which is located near by.


A very warm thanks for mentioning my book; I should add that although I'm Anglican my wife and hence much of my family are Orthodox, which has greatly shaped the book's content (and caused it to exist, come to think of it). Many Orthodox priests, monks and nuns have also helped me. About 75% of all the sites in the book are part of Orthodox tradition, and the rest tell the ongoing story of Christianity in Britain after 1066.

So saying I readily claim all errors and omissions as my own. The story about Chester though needs a bit of careful consideration, since the claims about an otherwise undocumented Christian martyr appear to have arisen in publicity put out by the History Channel in 2010 to support a documentary they had made. If you scroll down to the bottom of this very informed website about the Chester amphitheatre, by a well-read local historian, it has some good points to make about the supposed shrine, which is actually a Roman altar stone dedicated to the goddess Nemesis: http://www.chesterwa...itheatre12.html

I'm sure that if there were a named martyr, possibly older than St Alban, he or she would be well known in the Christian community. Archaeology might well turn up some future surprises but I'm pretty confident that the Chester tale as it stands is too speculative to adopt into Christian tradition. If I'm proved wrong on that, we had better organise a reprint!

And yes, the neighbouring church dedicated to St John the Baptist is absolutely worth a visit even so!

#12 Kusanagi

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:00 PM

Many thanks for updating me Nick!:)

I have checked my photos when I was visiting Chester and the metal plaque says according to St Gildas, Sts. Aaron and Julius were martyred at the City of the Legions.

I thought this City of the Legions was Chester and assumed it was at the amphi theatre they were martyred, marked with a metal plaque nearby, hence I mentioned the part above.

Do you also have any information on the supposed finding of the relics of St. Edburga in Bicester?
I did visit the place where the diggings took place where the new flats will be built but there was not much for me to see or find out about.

#13 Nick Mayhew Smith

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 12:55 AM

Hello again, very happy to share what I've learned on my travels - my Anglican friends tend to glaze over when I talk about all our fascinating and inspiring history! The name 'City of the Legions' that Gildas uses is more commonly thought to refer to Caerleon at the other end of Wales, since both cities were referred to by the same name. At Caerleon (or rather on the edge of neighbouring Newport) there is a suburb called St Julian's which is named after St Julius' former shrine site (now under a modern housing development), while a mile or so out of town is the possible site of St Aaron's ruined chapel. I did visit both places and wrote about them in my book on page 437-8 but there is nothing to see of the chapels that once stood here up until the Reformation.

And with St Edburga I haven't yet heard anything more since the initial flurry of publicity last summer (such as http://www.dailymail...ment-block.html). There is written evidence that her relics were taken to Flanders and buried in secret in about 1500 to stamp out veneration at her shrine, which was apparently not sanctioned by the Pope. Frustratingly I did visit the site in Bicester but it was before any archaeology took place so I assumed there was nothing to report! They seem to be doing carbon dating on the bones, which will shed further light on the story I hope. The Daily Mail claims the discovery of a lead reliquary containing a saint's bones is unprecedented, but that is exactly what happened with St Edward King and Martyr's relics in Shaftesbury in the 1930s... And I'm sure it will happen again too!

#14 Nick Mayhew Smith

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:28 PM

Many thanks for updating me Nick!:)

I have checked my photos when I was visiting Chester and the metal plaque says according to St Gildas, Sts. Aaron and Julius were martyred at the City of the Legions.

I thought this City of the Legions was Chester and assumed it was at the amphi theatre they were martyred, marked with a metal plaque nearby, hence I mentioned the part above.

Do you also have any information on the supposed finding of the relics of St. Edburga in Bicester?
I did visit the place where the diggings took place where the new flats will be built but there was not much for me to see or find out about.


You may have already seen the news about the supposed relics of St Edburga, but I repeat it here to tie up a loose thread. The results of radio carbon dating announced in October 2012 suggest the bones belong to someone who lived in the 13th century, so obviously not St Edburga herself. The archaeologists rather leap to conclusions by stating that the bones were a medieval forgery of St Edburga's relics: we have no way of knowing whether anyone did once claim these to be her actual bones. They might have been the mortal remains of someone else held in high regard, for example.

By the way, I'm delighted to say the BBC has picked up on my book and filmed a BBC4 series, due to be broadcast sometime in the coming Lent 2013 season. This is a rare chance to put some of our most precious and appealing Christian heritage on public show. I came within a whisker of arranging for an Orthodox priest to be interviewed too, but alas there were complications about the site concerned so it didn't happen. Hoping to explore in greater depth in a second series...

#15 Michael Coppock

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:35 AM

That's great news, Nick. I'll look forward to seeing that. You'll have to leave a note when it's due to be broadcast, nearer the time.

#16 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:18 AM

Some saints of Yorkshire:

Alkelda nun c. 800
Begu nun c. 690
Bosa bishop of York (consecrated by St Theodore of Tarsus), educated under Hilda of Whitby c. 705
Caedmon of Whitby c. 680
Haedde monk of Whitby became bishop of Winchester c. 676
Hilda abbess of Whitby 680
John of Beverley bishop of York, founder of Beverley Grammar School in 700 (which still exists) 721

#17 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:00 AM

Fr Raphael wrote:Here in our city the French Canadian area is called St Boniface- who as it turns out was an enlightener of Germany.



St Boniface (675-754) was English being born in Crediton, Devon. To him, tradition attributes the Christmas tree. He successfully preached the Gospel in Hesse and after a long absence, he returned for Christmas 723, and found that the Germans there had reverted to their former idolatry of pagan divinities and were preparing to celebrate the winter solstice under Odin's sacred oak tree. Fired by holy anger, St Boniface took up an axe and dared to cut down the oak. At the first blow of the axe, a strong gust of wind instantly brought down the tree. The astounded Germans asked Boniface how they should celebrate Christmas. The Bishop pointed to a small fir tree that had miraculously remained upright and intact beside the debris and broken branches of the fallen oak. Boniface told everyone to take home a small fir tree. This tree signifies peace, and as an evergreen it also symbolizes immortality with its top pointing upwards to heaven.

#18 Phoebe K.

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:46 PM

Hampshire has St Swithin, he was bishop of Winchester he restored and built churches in the 9th century, though he is moistly remembered for making it rain when he was moved from his humble grave to a shrine in the cathedral.

St Wilfred who brought Christianity to West Sussex

There are also many local saints connected to individual religious houses or missions which are only remembered locally, to such an extent you can live in the next town and not know of them

Phoebe

Edited by Phoebe K., 17 December 2012 - 03:47 PM.
formating


#19 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:35 PM

York - Eboracum - is significant in that St Constantine, though not a Yorkshireman, resided in York and was proclaimed emperor there.




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