Celtic and Old English Saints 25 September
* St. Ceolfrith of
Wearmouth and Jarrow
* St. Caian of Tregaian
* St. Findbar of Cork
St. Cadoc of
First Bishop of Cork, and
Finbarr=Barr the White
6th Century. He was the son
of an artisan and a lady of the Irish royal
court. Born in Connaught,
Ireland, and baptized Lochan, he was educated
at Kilmacahil, Kilkenny, where
the monks named him Fionnbharr (white
head) because of his light hair; he is
also known as Bairre and Barr. He
went on pilgrimage to Rome with some of the
monks, visiting St. David in
Wales on the way back. Supposedly, on another
visit to Rome the Pope
wanted to consecrate him a bishop but was deterred by
notifying the pope that God had reserved that honour to Himself,
Finbar was consecrated from heaven and then returned to Ireland. At
rate, he may have preached in Scotland, definitely did in
Ireland, lived as a hermit on a small island at Lough Eiroe, and
on the river Lee, founded a monastery that developed into the city
Cork, of which he was the first bishop. His monastery became famous
southern Ireland and attracted numerous disciples. Many
miracles are attributed to him, and supposedly, the sun did not
two weeks after he died at Cloyne about the year
The name of St. Findbarr holds a prominent place in the
early history of the
Irish Church. St. Cuimin of Connor, in his poem on the
virtues of our saints, writes :
torch of wisdom, loved
Humility towards all men ;
He never saw in pressing
Any one whom he would not relieve, "
To the ancient list
of Irish saints, which illustrates their lives by
comparison with the saints
of other nations, St. Finbarr, who is styled
"Bishop of Minister and
Connaught," is placed in parallel with St.
Augustine, the apostle of England.
(Liber Hymnorum, I.A.S., p. 70. )
The martyrology of Donegal marks St.
Bairre's festival on the 25th of
September. The martyrology of Tallaght on
that day gives the feast of
Barrind Corcaige, but adds, on the 26th of
September vel hie, Barrind
Corcaighe. In the famous Catalogue of the Three
Orders of Irish Saints,
published by Fleming and Usher, the name of S.
Barrindau appears among the
saints of the second order. Marianus O'Gorman, in
his metrical martyrology,
"May the noble Baire from
Be before me to the great land,
For he is blooming-sweet to the
St. Oengus, in his Felire, also commemorates on the 25th of
"The solemnity of the beloved man,
The festival of Bairre
And the note is added in the Leabhar Breac: "This is the
festival of Bairre
from Corcach : he was of the race of Brian, son of
and it is in Achadh Cill-Clochair, or Drochait, in
Aird-Uladh on this day
with Bairre." There is evidently an omission in this
note, which is thus
supplied in the Roman MS. of the felire : "Of the race of
Brian Mac Eochaidh
M. was Bairre of Corcach, and it is in Achadh
Cill-Clochair. or at Drochait
in Aird-Uladh, that his festival is kept ; or
it is the feast of lomchadh
that is kept in Cill-Clochair at Ard-Uladh on
this day with llairre."
Two ancient Latin lives of St. Finbarr were
published by Mr. Caulfield in
1864. In the Irish life preserved in the
Brussels MSS. the virtues of the
saint are thus compendiated : "His humility,
his piety, his charity, his
abstinence, his prayers by day and by night, won
him great privileges : for
he was godlike and pure of heart and mind, like
Abraham ; mild and
well-doing, like Moyses; a psalmist, like David ; wise,
like Solomon; firm
in the faith, like Peter; devoted to the truth, like Paul
the Apostle; and
full of the Holy Spirit, like John the Baptist. He was a
lion of strength,
and an orchard full of apples of sweetness, When the time
of his death
arrived, after erecting churches and monasteries to God, and
them bishops, priests, and other degrees, and baptising and
districts and people, Barra went to Kill na-Cluana (i.e. Cloyne),
him went Fiana, at the desire of Cormac and Baoithin, where they
two churches. Then he said, ' It is time for me to quit this
prison, and to go to the heavenly King who is now calling me to
And then Barra was confessed, and received the Holy Sacrament
from the hand
of Fiana, and his soul went to heaven, at the cross which is in
of the Church of Cloyne ; and there came bishops, priests, monks,
disciples, on his death being reported, to honour him. And they took him
Cork, the place of his resurrection, honouring him with psalms and hymns
spiritual songs ; and the angels bore his soul with joy unspeakable
heaven, to the company of the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and
of Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy
Among the sacred treasures of Cork was preserved a copy of the
transcribed by St. Finbarr, and encased in a precious shrine: "
sacris Sancti Barrii digitis exscriptum librum gemmis auroque
Towards the close of the l0th century, Columb
Mac Kieregan sent this relic,
borne by two priests, as a protection to Mahoun
Mac Kennedy, King of
Munster. It was brought back stained with that prince's
blood, and our
annalists relate that Bishop Cormac, raising his hands to
heaven, uttered a
prophecy (inserted in the ' Wars of the Danes,' p. 93,) in
the dread sacrilege which had been perpetrated, he
the future fate of the
MONASTICON HIBERNICUM, OR, A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE ANCIENT
Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Vol VII, 1871,
of St Finbar tone 4
Truly thou art hymned, O Hierarch Finbar,/ as a Father of
shepherd of souls./ Seeing our plight and feeling for us in our
necessity,/ cease not to intercede with Christ our God/ that He
raise up in our days pastors of thy stature to lead us into the way
Cadoc, Abbot of
Died c. 575 AD. St
Cadoc (Cadog, Catwig) was one of the most
celebrated of the Welsh saints, but
the earliest accounts of him were
not written till some 600 years after the
events they claim to record.
According to these he was the son of St.
Gundleus and St. Gwladys, and
was baptized by the Irish St. Tatheus, to whom
Gundleus entrusted the
boy's education, "in preference to all the other
teachers of Britain",
in his school at Caerwent. At Llancarfan (formerly
Cardiff and Llantwit Major, Cadoc founded a monastery,
and then passed
over to Ireland, where he spent three years in study. On his
went into Brecknock, for further study under a tutor named Bachan;
he miraculously relieved a famine by the discovery of an unknown
of wheat, and at the scene of this find founded the church
Llanspyddid, which still bears his name.
Cadoc then went back to
Llancarfan, which was the resort of many because
of its fame for holiness and
learning. We are particularly told that he
gave his disciples (St Gildas is
said to have been one of them) the
example of living by the work of his own
hands and not those of others,
for "he who does not work shall not eat". His
biographer Caradoc gives
some details of
the teaching methods at the
monastery, which clearly represent his own
practice in the eleventh century
at Llancarfan, not Cadoc's. The
monastery fed five hundred dependants and
poor every day, and its abbot
had authority over all the surrounding
During Lent Cadoc would retire from all this activity to the
the islands of Barry and Flatholm, but always came back to his
in time for Easter. Another place of retreat, bearing his name, is
called Cadoxton, by Neath.
There is evidence that St Cadoc visited
Brittany, Cornwall, and
Scotland, founding a monastery at Cambuslang; and he
is said to have
been present at the synod of Llandewi Frefi, and to have made
common-form pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem. Very wonderful are
circumstances of his death, as reported by his biographer
Warned by an angel in a dream on the eve of Palm Sunday, he
transported "in a white cloud" to Benevento in Italy, where he was
bishop and met his death by martyrdom. Caradoc, too, takes him
Benevento, not miraculously, but by road, and says nothing
martyrdom: he died peacefully, and all the city accompanied him
burial, "with hymns and songs and lights". It is not unlikely
actual place of St Cadoc's death was at Llansannor, a few miles
Llancarfan. His feast is observed today throughout Wales.
biographers were both clerics of Llancarfan: Lifris wrote his
and translation in A.W. Wade-Evans, "Vitae sanctorum
between 1073 and 1086, and Caradoc his about 1100.
This long-lost life by
Caradoc, found in the Gotha MS. I. 81, is printed
in "Analecta Bollaniana,
vol. lx (1942), pp. 35-67, with an introduction
by Father P.
There are two interesting notices of "King" Arthur in Lifris.
Wade-Evans, "Welsh Christian Origins" (1934), pp. 126-132;
LBS., vol. ii, pp.
G.H. Doble, "St Cadoc in Cornwalll and Brittany (1937); KSS.,
J. Barrett Davies in "Blackfriars", vol. xxix (1948), pp.
J.S.P. Tatlock, "Caradoc of Llancarfan" in "Speculum", vol.
For the influence of Cadoc in Ireland, see
J. Ryan's "Irish Monasticism
From "Butler's Lives of the
Saints," Complete Edition, Edited, Revised,
and Supplemented by Herbert J.
Thurston, S.J. and
Donald Attwater, Christian Classics, a division of Thomas
Publications, Allen, Texas. ISBN 0-87061-137
Cadoc's life is also covered in a number of podcasts by a Catholic lady
Wales. In the first one she starts to speak about his life at about 17:30
and then there is a second broadcast detailing his various travels.
another podcast on Trevethin Pontypool, St Cadoc features again:
century Wales as the British chieftains fight it out, St Anna of Gwent
her son Tryddin to the Valley to begin a monastery, later enlarged
cleared possibly by Cadoc. Secrets of the Monks rituals in purifying
land. My visit to the present Church accompanied by the engaging
Pippin who guided and explained what I saw.Some prayers from St
time. The Haunted Bell of Trevethin and the mystery of the burial of
Cadoc.....was the saint buried at Trevethin or Mamhilad?
25 September #2
This lady's blog also has many wonderful pictures of Welsh churches and
shrines which might be of interest to people on this list. On the entry to
accompany the third broadcast she posted this item:
*The Wisdom of St Cadoc
Cadoc was known as 'The Wise'
Without knowledge, no God.
No man is the son of knowledge if he is not also the son of poetry.
The best of attitudes is humility;
the best of occupations, work;
the best of sentiments, pity;
the best of cares, justice;
the best of pains, that which a man takes to make peace;
the best of sorrows, sorrow for sin;
the best of characters, generosity.
Truth is the elder daughter of God.
No man loves poetry without
loving the light,
nor light without truth,
nor truth without loving God.
The best of patriots is the man who tills the soil.
No man is pious who is not cheerful.
There is no king like him who is king of himself.
Loving is Heaven; hatred is Hell.
Conscience is the eye of God in the soul of man*
Holy Father Cadoc, pray to God for us!
Icon of St. Cadoc
These Lives are archived at: