- Celtic and Old English Saints 2 May
* St. Gennys of Cornwall
* St. Germanus of Normandy
* St. Gluvias of Cornwall
* St. Neachtain
* St. Ultan of Peronne
Date unknown. Saint Gennys is often confused with Saint Genesius of
Arles, but the patron of Cornwall has his own feast today, which may
point to the fact that he is a different individual and an obscure,
local founder. He may more properly be identified with Saint Genesius
the Martyr, whose head was translated on July 19 to Lismore. To add to
the confusion, the famous Germanus of Auxerre is also known as Gennys or
Genewys (Benedictines, Farmer).
Saint Genny's Church in Cornwall
The church is situated in a dell amongst the high cliffs of the North
Cornish Coast that look over the ever-surging sea- High Cliff to the
south west towering over "The Haven" is 730 ft high and the tallest in
This secluded isolated spot so solitary for a parish church is because
its origins go back to the years of the Celtic Church. Sometime in the
mid 7th Century a Celtic Monk (hermit) arrived here, on foot or by boat,
and chose our site for its solitude and its ready supply of water.
The locals must have been very quickly attracted to the "Holy Man" and
he in due time taught them the Christian message and baptised them in
his source of water which became known as "The Holy Well" so the site
was established as the Holy Place in the locality. A stone cross set up
close by & a tiny wooden hut for the priest or monk to live in. The
services would be held in the open air.
On the right hand -side of the path that leads to the church the green
drops away steeply. A careful look down and across, or a jaunt over the
grass will reveal an old well - its is not so long ago the water from
here was still on domestic use - however this is the spot or very close
to it where the Holy Well of St Gennys was located. Here from the 600's
people have been baptised.
926 - After King Athelstan's final conquest of Cornwall, it is almost
certain a small Saxon church was built on this site and it is possible
at this point the dedication to St Genesius probably originates.
St. Germanus (Germaine) of Normandy, Bishop Martyr
Died c. 460. It may be hard to believe that someone named Germanus of
Normandy originated either in Ireland or Wales, but it is true. Today's
saint was converted by Saint Germanus of Auxerre, whose name he took,
when the bishop was visiting Britain. Today's saint worked as a bishop
with Saint Patrick and is alleged to have evangelized in Wales, Spain,
Gaul, and the Isle of Man. Some regard Germanus as the Apostle of the
Isle of Man. He was martyred in Normandy (Benedictines, Montague).
St. Gluvias (Glywys)
6th century. Saint Gluvias may have been sent to Cornwall by his
brother, Saint Cadoc of Llancarfan. There he laid the foundation for a
monastery and a parish commemorates his name (Benedictines).
The church stands on the site of the hermitage of its patron, Gluvias,
who belongs to that great tide of saints which swept down from Wales and
overspilled into Brittany. He is the brother of S.Cadoc, which would
make him the son of St.Woolos of Newport and St.Gladys, one of the
daughters of Brychan. St.Petroc, the founder of Padstow and Bodmin, was
uncle to Cadoc and Gluvias, and St.Keyne would have been their great
aunt. St.Keyne gives her name to Keynsham between Bristol and Bath and
to the parish in Cornwall between Looe and Liskeard.
These family connections are a feature of the Celtic saints, but of
St.Gluvias himself we know little except that he chose this fertile
valley for his retreat, famous for its flowers as well as its granite.
His church looks down over Penryn, which lies at the side of Falmouth,
and although it is probably older and more distinguished than its
neighbour, it has not grown so large. It now has no church of its own,
but once it was a famous place of learning, receiving scholars from
Oxford to join the canons of its famous Glasney College, founded by
Bishop Bronescombe. It had a great collegiate church, dedicated to
St.Thomas of Canterbury, but there are few traces of the church and
college buildings, which were once "strongly walled".
Glasney College might have become a university if it had survived the
sixteenth century, but during the middle ages it had a great influence
on the life of the Church in Cornwall, and some of the miracle plays in
Cornish, which were composed there, are extant. Among some of the
manuscripts that have survived is a reference to St.Gluvias as a martyr,
but there is no indication of the manner in which he glorified Our Lord
by his death (Bowen, John, Mee).
"The Saints of Cornwall" - Catherine Rachel John.
"The King's England - Cornwall" - Arthur Mee.
The church of Saint Gluvias in Cornwall
Present structure dates from1883, with sections from earlier centuries.
Troparion of St Gluvias Tone 2
O glorious Father Gluvias,/ thou didst bring the light of Christ to
Cornwall/ while thy brother holy Cadoc enlightened Wales./ As thou dost
intercede for all mankind,/ pray to Christ our God to grant us His great
5th century. Saint Neachtain was present at the death of his near
relative Saint Patrick of Ireland (Benedictines).
St. Ultan of Peronne, Abbot Bishop
Died c. 686. Ultan, an Irish monk like his brothers Saints Fursey and
Foillan, went with them on a missionary journey to East Anglia. There,
with Fursey, he founded Burghcastle Monastery near Yarmouth but migrated
to France and the Abbey of Saint-Quentin, then to Belgium, to escape
raiding Mercians. His brother Foillan built and became abbot of Fosses
Monastery on land given to him by Blessed Itta and her daughter Saint
Gertrude of Nivelles. During this time Ultan was chaplain to Gertrude's
convent and taught them chant. He succeeded his brother in the abbacy at
Fosses and later he became abbot of a monastery at Perrone, where he
died. He was buried in Fosses Abbey (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney,
Attwater, D. (1983). The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, NY:
Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.
Bowen, Paul. When We Were One: A Yearbook of the
Saints of the British Isles Complied from Ancient Calendars.
Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket Dictionary of Saints, NY:
Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
John, C. R. (1981). The Saints of Cornwall
Lodenek Press Ltd.
Mee, A. The King's England - Cornwall.
(41 vols). Hodder & Stoughton.
Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland.
Guildford: Billing & Sons.
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