522631 January #2
- Jan 30, 2014Celtic and Old English Saints 31 January
* St. Aidan of Ferns
* St. Madoes
* St. Melangell
* St. Adamnan of Coldingham
* St. Eusebius of Saint Gall
St. Melangell (Monacella) Virgin and Hermitess
Died c. 590 (possibly 7th or 8th century).
Melangell was a hermitess in Montgomeryshire, who later became abbess of
a small community in remote Pennant Melangell (now Powys). Her church
and shrine have been restored recently. She is another of those saints
who cultus flourished locally long before any vita was written; the only
source still available is a 15th-century version that appears to have
been based on an earlier source.
In the "Historia Monacellae," which may have been written by Matthew of
Westminster, Melangell is said to be the daughter of a Scottish King,
Iowchel, who intended to marry her to a certain noble, but she fled and
secreted herself in the hills of Pennant in Powys. There she lived,
according to the history, for fifteen years "without seeing the face of
man, serving God and the spotless virgin".
Her story connects Melangell with King Brochwel Ysgithrog of Powys, who
happened upon her while he was hunting in her neighbourhood. At that
time she had been living at Pennant Melangell for 15 years after having
fled from an unwanted marriage in Ireland. Brochwel gave her land for a
convent and a sanctuary for the hares she had befriended.
The saint is reputed to have lived another 33 years after this
encounter. The text explicitly states that she was a virgin, which may
provide some that she and Saint Winifred are the only two female saints
from Wales who have Latin biographies. (Benedictines, Farmer).
In the little church there is some wood carving from the old rood screen
depicting the story of the saint and the remains of her shrine which is
now restored. A quarter of a mile away on the opposite side of the
valley there is a cleft in the rock which is known as Gwely Melangell,
Melangell's hard bed.
Melangell is the patron of hares and rabbits(Farmer).
Celtic Orthodox Church site
The Life of Saint Melangell of Wales (+ca. 590)
ST MELANGELL (whose name has been latinised as Monacella) is interesting
because the incident for which she is known is a Welsh version of one
that is known in various forms in several European countries. She
appears in the pedigrees as a descendant of Macsen Wledig (the usurping
Roman emperor Magnus Maximus), and according to her legend her father
was an Irish king (probably Scottish, in its later meaning, is
intended). She vowed herself to God, and when pressed to marry fled to
the part of central Wales called Powys, where she remained hidden for
fifteen years. Then one day the prince of Powys, Brochwel Ysgythrog,
came hunting in her neighbourhood, and pursued a hare into a clearing of
the forest where Melangell was at prayer. The hare ran for the shelter
of her garments, and turned to face its pursuers from a fold of her
skirt. Brochwel urged on his hounds, but they drew off, howling; the
huntsman tried to wind his horn, but it stuck mute to his lips; and
Brochwel approached the girl for an explanation When he had heard
Melangell's story of herself, he made her a present of the land on which
they were standing as a "perpetual refuge and place of sanctuary", in
recognition of God's protection of the " little wild hare" in the shadow
of His servant Melangell.
Accordingly she lived the rest of her life there, another thirty-seven
years, gathering a community round her which she directed as abbess. But
it was also a meeting-place for hares, who never showed any fear of
their protectress, so that they came to be called "Melangell's lambs".
The church of Pennant Melangell in Montgomeryshire claims to stand on
the site of this happening, It still has some mediaeval carvings
relating the story of the hare, and the shrine chapel at east end.
The Official Website of the Shrine Church of St. Melangell, which houses
the oldest Romanesque Shrine in northern Europe and is a thriving
Pilgrimage Centre. The site contains information for visitors and
Woodcut of Saint Melangell
Pennant Melangell (with picture of church and surroundings)
Icons of St. Melangell:
Troparion of St Melangell tone 8
Preferring the rigours of monasticism to worldly status and marriage, 0
pious Melangell,/ though wast fifteen years on a rock, emulating the
example of the Syrian Stylites./ Wherefore, 0 Saint, pray to God that He
will give us strength to serve Him as He wills,/ that we may be found
worthy of His great mercy.
Kontakion of St Melangell tone 4
Praise, glory and honour are thy due, 0 righteous Melangell,/ for in
consecrating thy virginity to Christ, thou didst give us a model of
Christian living./ Wherefore we who keep thy festival/ pray for grace to
amend our lives according to thy example,/ glorifying God in every word
For All the Saints: - new active link
An Alphabetical Index of the Saints of the West - new active link
- << Previous post in topic