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524615 February

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  • ambrois@xtra.co.nz
    Feb 15, 2014
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      Celtic and Old English Saints 15 February

      * St. Berach of Cluain
      * St. Dochow of Wales
      * St. Farannan of Iona
      * St. Sigfrid of Wexlow
      * Ss. Winaman, Unaman & Sunaman
      * St. Tanco of Werden

      St. Berach of Cluain, Abbot
      (also known as Barachias, Berachius, Barry)
      6th century. From the time of his birth, Berach was placed in the care
      of his uncle, Saint Freoch. Later in life he became a disciple of Saint
      Kevin and founded an abbey at Clusin-Coirpte in Connaught. He is the
      patron saint of Kilbarry, County Dublin (Benedictines).

      On the Feast of Saint Berach:

      A righteous man was this man. He was all purity of nature like a patriarch;
      a true pilgrim in heart and soul like Abraham; gentle and forgiving like
      Moses; a psalmist worthy to be praised like David; a
      moon (or treasury) of knowledge and wisdom like Solomon; a chosen vessel to
      proclaim righteousness like Paul the apostle; a man full of grace and favour
      of the Holy Spirit, like John the youth; a fair
      garden with plants of virtue, a branch of a fruitful vine; a shining fire
      all aglow to cherish and warm the sons of life in kindling and inflaming
      love. A lion for might and power; a dove for gentleness and
      simplicity, a serpent for prudence and ingenuity for good; gentle, humble,
      merciful, lowly towards sons of life; dark and pitiless towards sons of
      death; an industrious and obedient slave to Christ; a
      king for dignity and power to bind and loose, to free and to enslave, to
      kill and make alive. (89)

      So then after these great miracles, after raising the dead, after healing
      lepers and blind and lame, and every other plague, after ordaining bishops,
      and priests, and deacons, and people of every other order in the Church,
      after teaching and baptizing many, after founding churches and monasteries,
      after overcoming the arts of idols and of druidism, the day of St. Berach's
      death and of his going to heaven drew near. And before he went thither there
      appeared an angel to him, and said to him, that the Lord had great care for
      him, and for his monks and for his monastery; and said that whoever should
      ask a righteous perfect petition of him, it should be granted to him; and
      revealed to him the day of his going to heaven. (90)

      Now Berach spent his life in fastings and prayer and almsgivings in the
      presence of the Lord. He received communion and sacrifice from the hand of
      Talmach [and commended] to him his inheritance and the
      headship of his monastery and of his young ecclesiastics. He sent his spirit
      to heaven, and his body was buried in the dark house (i. e. grave) with
      great honour and reverence, and with miracles and mighty
      works in this world; but greater far will be (his honour) in the (great)
      Assize, when he will shine like the sun in heaven in the presence of the
      apostles and disciples of Jesus, in the presence of the Divinity and
      Humanity of the Son of God, in the presence of the sublime Trinity, Father,
      Son, and Holy Spirit.

      I pray the mercy of the Son of God Almighty through the intercession of St.
      Berach whose festival and commemoration are (observed) in many noble
      churches to-day, that we may attain, that we may merit, that we may inherit
      the kingdom in secula seculorum. Amen. Finis.

      'Life of Berach' in C. Plummer ed.and trans. Bethada Naem nErenn -
      Lives of Irish Saints, Vol II, (Oxford, 1922), 42-43

      Troparion of St Berach tone 1
      Disciple of our Father Kevin,/ teacher of true piety and radiance of all
      Connaught, O Father Berach,/ by thy life and example thou didst bring
      many souls to Christ./ Wherefore we pray thee to intercede for us that
      our souls may be saved.

      Kontakion of St Berach tone 4
      Bright jewel in the crown of Erin's saints, great Father Berach,/ we
      hymn thee and pray for the fortitude to follow thy steep path to
      salvation,/ ever praising thy most glorious memory.

      St. Dochow (Dochau, Dogwyn)
      Date unknown. According to the life of Saint Samson, Dochow travelled
      from Wales to Cornwall and founded a monastery there. In the Ulster
      Annal, he is styled bishop. Saint Dochtwy appears to be another saint
      altogether (Benedictines).

      St. Farannan, Abbot
      Died c. 590. The Irish Saint Farannan was a disciple of Saint Columba.
      He eventually returned to Ireland to lead an eremitical life at
      All-Farannan, now Allernan, Sligo, where he probably died

      St. Sigfrid of Wexlow, Bishop
      (also known as Sigfrid Vaxjo)
      Born in Glastonbury, England (?); died at Vaxjo, Sweden, c. 1045.

      Tradition says that the patron saint of Sweden is an Englishman,
      Sigfrid, who reached Sweden as a result of a call from King
      Olaf Tryggvason of Norway, who had been converted himself by another
      Englishman, Saint Alphege. Sigfrid is said to have been born in
      Northumberland, become a priest at York or Glastonbury, and was sent by
      King Ethelred as a missionary to Norway with two other bishops, Grimkel
      and John.

      They laboured under the protection of the archbishop of Bremen
      (Germany). After converting many pagans, Sigfrid continued on to Sweden
      in 1008. Saint Ansgar had planted the seeds of faith in Sweden in 830;
      but the country had relapsed into paganism soon after his time. A second
      wave of missionary saints, including Sigfrid, followed about two
      centuries later.

      There he built himself a wooden church at Vaxjo in southern Sweden, and
      laboured with success in the Smaeland and Vastergotland districts. He
      converted twelve of the principal men of the province, then many others
      followed their example. The fountain near the mountain of Ostrabo, since
      called Wexlow) in which Sigfrid baptized the catechumens, long retained
      the names of the first 12 converts, engraved on a monument.

      Others, including the King Saint Olaf Skotkonung of Sweden, were
      attracted out of curiosity to see the rich fabrics and beautiful vessels
      used during the celebration of the Divine Service, to hear his
      preaching, and to observe the dignity and majesty of the Christian
      worship. That attracted them first. But it was the example of the lives
      of Sigfrid and his companion missionaries that open their eyes of faith
      and led to the baptism of so many others including the king, who was
      baptized at Husaby (one of the sites in Sigrid Undset's book "Kristin
      Lavransdatter") in a spring that later bore Sigfrid's name and was the
      channel of many miracles.

      Sigfrid ordained and consecrated two native bishops to govern
      neighbouring territories, but he retained the episcopacy of Vaxjo while
      he lived. His three nephews--Unaman, a priest; Sunaman, a deacon; and
      Winaman, a subdeacon--were his chief assistants in his apostolic

      Sigfrid also laboured in Denmark. During one of Sigfrid's absences from
      Sweden, he instructed his three nephews to carry on the missionary work.
      A troop of idolatrous rebels--perhaps out of hatred for Christianity,
      perhaps in search of booty--plundered the church of Vaxjo and
      barbarously murdered Sigfrid's nephews by cutting off their heads,
      putting them in a box, and flinging them into a lake. The bodies they
      buried in the midst of the forest where they were never found.

      Sigfrid returned, recovered the three heads and claimed that they could
      still talk. He asked whether the crime would be avenged. "Yes," replied
      the first head. "When?" asked the second. "In the third generation,"
      answered the third. And so it was. The saint had brilliantly used the
      dead heads to terrorise his living enemies. Their heads were placed in a
      shrine. The king was angered by their deaths and resolved to execute the
      murderers, but at Sigfrid's earnest entreaties Olaf spared their
      lives--an early testimony against capital punishment. Olaf compelled the
      guilty to pay a heavy fine to Sigfrid, but the saint refused to accept
      it even though he was living in extreme poverty and had to contend with
      rebuilding his church. Thenceforth,
      he was invincible.

      The saint became so renowned that the Germans claimed him as their own,
      insisting that he had been born either in Bremen or Hamburg. He died in
      old age, and his bones rest beneath the high altar of the cathedral of
      Vaxjo, and are famous for miracles. Sigfrid was so successful that he is
      called the Apostle of Sweden, where he is still venerated. A metrical
      office for his feast survives in both Sweden and Denmark (Attwater,
      Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh).

      Saint Sigfrid is pictured as a bishop with two companion monks crossing
      the sea in a ship. He may also be shown baptizing King Olaf of Sweden,
      or menaced by devils. There is a 14th century wall-painting possibly of
      him at Stoke Orchard, Worcestershire (Roeder). He may also be
      represented as a bishop carrying the heads of his three nephews, which
      are sometimes misrepresented as three loaves (Farmer).

      Ss. Winaman, Unaman & Sunaman, Monks Martyrs
      Died c. 1040. Thes trio of nephews of Saint Sigfrid of Wexlow, followed
      their uncle to the Swedish mission. The monks were martyred at Wexlow
      (Vaxjo) by beheading. There bodies were buried deep in the forest but
      the heads, which had been thrown into the nearby lake, were recovered
      and enshrined in the church at Vaxjo until the impious Lutherans removed
      them. These three are venerated in Sweden (Benedictines, Husenbeth).

      St. Tanco of Werden, Bishop Martyr
      (also known as Tancho, Tatta, Tatto)
      Died 808. Irish Saint Tanco became abbot of the Benedictine monastery of
      Amalbarich in Saxony and eventually bishop of Werden. He died at the
      hands of a pagan mob whose savage customs he had denounced

      For All the Saints: - new active link

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

      These Lives are archived at:
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