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2 July

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  • ambrois@xtra.co.nz
    Celtic and Old English Saints 2 July =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= * St. Swithin of Winchester * St. Oudoc of Llandaff
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 1 9:11 PM
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      Celtic and Old English Saints 2 July

      * St. Swithin of Winchester
      * St. Oudoc of Llandaff

      St. Swithun (Swithin) of Winchester, Bishop
      Born in Wessex, England; died at Winchester, England, July 2, 862.
      The translation of his relics is observed 15 July.

      Swithin was educated at the Old Abbey, Winchester, and was ordained (it
      is uncertain whether or not he was a monk). He became chaplain to King
      Egbert of the West Saxons, who appointed him tutor of his son Ethelwulf,
      and was one of the king's counsellors. Swithun was named bishop of
      Winchester in 852 when Ethelwulf succeeded his father as king. Swithun
      built several churches and was known for his humility and his aid to the
      poor and needy (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).

      A miracle attributed to him in the Golden Legend illustrates his
      understanding of ordinary folk. A poor woman was pushed in a market-day
      crowd and dropped her basket of eggs. St. Swithun blessed the broken
      shells and the eggs were made whole again.

      A long-held popular belief declares it will rain for 40 days if it rains
      on his feast day.

      Saint Swithun's day, if thou dost rain,
      For forty days it will remain;
      Saint Swithun's day, if thou be fair,
      For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.

      * * *

      St. Swithun's Shrine at Winchester Cathedral
      (On the web, with photographs, at
      http://www.britannia.com/church/shrines/sw-shrine.html )

      Before its destruction in 1538, the Shrine of St. Swithun in Winchester
      Cathedral was perhaps the second most popular place of pilgrimage in
      Medieval England. However, despite its popularity in times gone by, no
      illustrations or detailed descriptions of the shrine have survived. The
      form, style and even site of this holy relic remain controversial even

      The pious Swithun, Bishop of Winchester in the mid 9th century was
      originally buried (862) in a humble grave in the open between the tower
      of St. Martin and the Cathedral Church of the Old Minster in Winchester.
      This original grave, along with the minster itself, was excavated by
      Martin Biddle in the 1960s. St. Swithun, however, was long gone.

      Popular legend insists that the monks tried to move Swithun inside the
      Old Minster, some nine years after his death. The saint, however, did
      not approve of his removal from exposure to the elements. There was a
      clap of thunder and it began to rain for forty days and forty nights!

      About a hundred years later, however, Swithun appears to have changed
      his mind. For various visions are said to have led a subsequent bishop,
      (St.) Aethelwold, to successfully transfer his body inside the Old
      Minster, on 15th July 971. Screens were placed round the grave and St.
      Swithun was ceremonial exhumed: the bishop himself taking up the spade.
      At around the same time, Bishop Aethelwold instigated an ambitious plan
      to turn the Old Minster into a shrine-church centred around St.
      Swithun's relics. He extended the building and enclosed the saint's
      original grave beneath a huge crossing tower. In 974, King Edgar donated
      a magnificent gold and silver feretory in which to enshrine St.
      Swithun's body. It was studded with precious jewels and depicted scenes
      of Christ's Passion, Resurrection and Ascension. On 30th October,
      therefore, Swithun was translated once more. His head was removed to a
      separate head shrine kept in the sacristy upon the altar "in a space
      with a locked door, which could be described as a 'chamber' or
      vestibule, and was guarded by a watcher or sacrist". The main shrine is
      believed to have been placed on an altar over the original grave. Three
      years later, Aethelwold had this area of the Minster completely rebuilt
      with a massive westwork fit to receive the many pilgrims not only
      visiting St. Swithun's Shrine, but those of St. Birinus and St. Birstan

      St. Swithun's head was taken to Canterbury Cathedral by (St.) Alphege
      when he was elevated from Bishop of Winchester to Archbishop of
      Canterbury in 1006. An arm was also taken to Peterborough Abbey (now

      With the arrival of the Normans and the building of the present
      Winchester Cathedral to the south of the Old Minster, St. Swithun was on
      the move once more. On his feast day in 1093, his feretory was carried
      into the, still incomplete, new building and, the very next day, Bishop
      Walkelin ordered the demolition of the Old Minster.

      St. Swithun's feretory was probably placed behind the High Altar. In the
      mid-12th century, Bishop Henry (of Blois) elevated St. Swithun onto a
      large platform built into the eastern apse of the Norman Cathedral
      especially for his veneration. Much remodelled, this area is still known
      as the Feretory or Feretory Platform. Beneath it is the 'Holy Hole': a
      small (originally larger) passage which enabled pilgrims to crawl from
      outside the cathedral to right beneath St. Swithun's Shrine! Bishop
      Henry also surrounded Swithun with the bones of various Saxon Kings and
      Bishops in lead coffers, which he had removed from their 'lowly place'
      of burial. But for how long did the new shrine remain in this position?
      Here the controversy begins.

      Please continue reading at


      Translation of St. Swithin, Bp. Conf., AD 970.

      St. Swithin passed from this world to the' heavenly kingdom in the year 863.
      At his own request he had been buried under the open sky, ' that the rains
      of heaven might fall upon him, and that he might be trodden under foot by
      those who passed along the way. In truth, his humble petition seemed to have
      been fulfilled, and the memory of the holy pastor, of his virtues and his
      miracles, had almost perished, when, more than a century afterwards, God was
      pleased to reveal the glory of his good and faithful servant. The Saint
      appeared to a poor but pious artisan, who lived by the labour of his own
      hands, and charged him to go to St. Ethelwold, then Bishop of Winchester,
      and tell him to effect the translation of his relics, which would be a
      treasure more precious than pearls, by the number of miracles which he would
      work. He then gave him a sign that the mission was a true one namely, that
      he, and none but he, should be able to raise the stone which covered the
      grave, with ease and without assistance. St. Ethelwold readily obeyed, and
      the tomb was opened amidst a crowd of spectators, who brought their
      offerings and commended themselves to the Saint. All obtained their desires,
      and numbers of miracles were worked, in gratitude for which St. Swithin from
      that time was called the Pious that is, the fatherly or compassionate Saint.
      The translation was solemnly performed by St. Ethelwold, with the assistance
      of the Abbots of Glastonbury and the new Monastery of Winchester, and the
      Saint was laid with honour in a fair sepulchre within the church.
      The miracles did not cease, and the monks had become almost weary and
      negligent in attending those who came to seek relief, when they were
      recalled to their duty by a threatening vision of the Saint himself. This
      translation took place on Friday, 15th July, 970.

      AND ENGLISH SAINTS, LONDON, 1892,338-9.



      Service to out Father among the Saints Swithun, Bishop of Winchester

      Icons of Saint Swithun

      An article on the Wells of St Swithun:

      The modern shrine (1962) over what was the grave of St Swithun

      Tiny Url: http://tinyurl.com/ratlz

      A Walk around Winchester Cathedral

      St. Oudoc of Wales, Abbot
      (Oudecus, Oudoceus, Eddogwy)
      Died c. 600. About 545, the pious Prince Budic of Brittany, migrated
      with his family to Wales, where Saint Oudaceus is said to have been born
      soon after. Oudaceus was the disciple and nephew of Saint Teilo
      (f.d.February 9). Following the inspired training of Teilo, Oudaceus
      became a monk at Llandogo (and some say its bishop about 580). He
      succeeded his uncle as abbot of Llandeilo Fawr.

      All that is known about Oudaceus comes from the "Book of Llan Dav,"
      written about 1150 but incorporating some older material. Oudaceus is
      one of the four patrons of Llandaff cathedral, where his relics rested
      until 1540, although he was never bishop and is sometimes described as
      one, perhaps because of the efforts he made to persuade the abbots of
      Llancarfan, Llantwit, and Llandough to join forces against a corrupt
      local chieftain. The areas served by these monasteries approximates the
      later see of Llandaff.

      Husenbeth, for example, relates the story that when Oudaceus
      excommunicated King Mauric of Glamorgan for killing Prince Cynedu, the
      king immediately repented because of the high esteem in which he held

      The feast of Saint Oudaceus appears on numerous English calendars,
      including Sarum, York, and Hereford, probably due to a belief that he
      presented himself to Saint Augustine of Canterbury (f.d. May 27) for
      consecration (Attwater2, Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).


      Attwater, D. (1983). The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, NY:
      Penguin Books.

      Attwater, D. (1958). A Dictionary of Saints. New York:
      P. J. Kenedy & Sons. [Attwater 2]

      Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
      (1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.

      Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket Dictionary of Saints, NY:
      Doubleday Image.

      Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
      Oxford: Oxford University Press.

      Husenbeth, Rev. F. C., DD, VG (ed.). (1928). Butler's
      Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints.
      London: Virtue & Co.

      For All the Saints:

      These Lives are archived at:
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