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522631 January #2

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  • ambrois@xtra.co.nz
    Jan 30, 2014
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      Celtic 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).

      Another Life:
      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
      and deed.

      For All the Saints: - new active link

      An Alphabetical Index of the Saints of the West - new active link
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