- Feb 15, 2014Celtic and Old English Saints 12 February
* St. Siadhal of Ireland
* St. Ethelwald of Lindisfarne
St. Siadhal (Sedulius, Seadhal, Siadal)
5th century. Sedulius (known in Irish as Siadhal, pronounced Shiel), was
an Irish priest known as the Christian Virgil on the strength of his
epic poem in five books "Carmen Paschale" . He left Ireland to found a
school of poetry in Athens, proving that outstanding scholarship existed
on the Emerald Isle prior to Saint Patrick. While he was still in
Ireland, he may have been a disciple of Saint Ailbhe (f.d. September
In 494, a decree of the First Roman Council contained a phrase
"honouring by signal praise the Paschal Work of the Venerable man,
Sedulius" We know that the oldest manuscript from Siadhal was that
recorded by the monks of Saint Columbanus at Bobbio (Montague).
Text of Carmen Paschale:
Brief Explanation of Carmen Paschale:
"Open me the way that to the City bright
Leads forth; let Thy Word's lamp be light
To guide my footsteps through the narrow gate,
Where the Good Shepherd feeds His sheep, elate:
There first the Virgin's white lamb entered
And all His fair flock followed where He led!
With Thee how smooth the way: for Nature all
Thine empire owns! Thou speakest, her fetters fall
And all her wonted shows new forms assume:
The frozen fields will into verdure bloom
And winter gild with grain: if Thou but will
'Mid budding Spring the swelling grape shall fill,
And sudden labor tread the bursting vine.
All seasons answer to the call Divine!"
(the above is an extract from his Carmen Paschale, or Easter Song)
And from his Nativity Hymn "A solis ortu cardine"
At both the confines of the earth,
where suns arise again and set,
Christ shall be sung, The Prince whose birth
puts us in maiden Mary's debt.
Blessed the Author of the world,
who took a body like a slave:
to save us through flesh from loss incurred
the flesh He had made, His flesh He gave.
Closed was His mother's womb before,
still closed when Grace came through the door.
Sweet virgin! She had not foreseen
that Heaven in her to earth would lean.
Down to her spotless ark God came,
the very temple for His name.
Did ever virgin have a son?
This one God for her child had won.
Egress she gave to Him at length
Whose coming Gabriel had declared,
Whose presence John's exultant strength
adoring, with his mother shared.
Freely He chose, possessing all,
the hay-strewn bed the cattle stall;
and He who gives the birds their bread
Himself on meagre milk was fed.
"Glory," Saints and Angels sang:
heaven with their praises rang;
while shepherds watched with wondering eyes
the Shepherd Who had made the world.
St. Ethelwald of Lindisfarne, Bishop
Born in Northumbria; died c. 740; second feast of the translation of his
relics by King Edgar to Westminster on April 21. Ethelwald was one of
Saint Cuthbert's (f.d. March 20) chief assistants. He was prior and then
abbot of Old Melrose in Scotland. On the death of Saint Edfrith (f.d.
June 4), Ethelwald succeeded to the see of Lindisfarne. His interest in
Edfrith's work is demonstrated by his patronage of the hermit Saint
Billfrith (f.d. March 6), who made at his request a binding for it of
gold and precious stones (now lost). His relics were translated from
Lindisfarne with those of Saint Cuthbert. A stone cross bearing his name
went from Lindisfarne to Durham. A compilation by him called "Ymnarius
Edilwald" may be the source of the "Book of Cerne" (Benedictines,
Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.
Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland.
Guildford: Billing & Sons.
For All the Saints: - new active link
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Suppliers of Icons of Celtic Saints for the church
or the prayer corner at home.
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