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21 September

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  • ambrois@xtra.co.nz
    Celtic and Old English Saints 21 September =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= * St. Mabenna, Daughter of Saint Brychan of Brecknock * St.
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 20, 2013
      Celtic and Old English Saints 21 September

      =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
      * St. Mabenna, Daughter of Saint Brychan of Brecknock
      * St. Landelin of Rouffach
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      St. Mabenna, Daughter of Saint Brychan of Brecknock
      (Mabyn Mabon, Mabenna)
      ---------------------------------------------------------------
      Died 6th century. There are possibly several Welsh and Cornish saints
      by this name and its variations, but nothing is definitely known about
      them. The name is associated with that of Saint Teilo (f.d.February 9).
      Mabenna is the name of one of the daughters of the prolific Saint
      Brychan of Brecknock (f.d. April 6). Various place-names are attributed
      to these saints (Benedictines).


      Kontakion of St Mabyn Tone 8
      Preserving thyself in virginity, and pleasing Christ our God with thy
      asceticism, O holy Mabyn,/ thou didst give to the faithful an example of
      pious and godly living./ Pray that the example of our lives will also be
      pleasing to God,/ that our souls will be brought into the Way of
      Salvation.



      St. Landelin of Rouffach
      (Landelinus)
      ---------------------------------------------------------------

      21 September sees the commemoration of an Irish hermit and martyr, Landelin,
      or Landelinus in Latin. Roísín Ní Mheara describes what is known of his life
      and of how his memory has been kept alive for over a millenium in the area
      in which he flourished:

      In Murbach we are in reach of the famous Alsatian wine route bordering the
      Rhine. There one should look out for Rouffach, a small town where, on the
      gentle slope of its vineyards large letters proclaim: CLOS ST LANDELIN.

      The choicest of Alsatian wines are produced here in Rouffach, and stopping
      to savour them we honour both saint and proprietor who is proud to greet a
      guest from Landelin's homeland. Studying his wine-card we read in French:
      'Saint Landelin, an Irish prince, came to preach the Gospel. Around the year
      640 he suffered the death of martyrdom. In the eighth century the bishop of
      Strasbourg donated to the 'Monks of Landelin' stocks cultivated on the best
      wine-growing slopes of Alsace, since titled 'Saint Landelin's Vineyard'.

      Landolin the Martyr and his cult

      A leap over the Rgine back into the Ortenau (Breisgau) will take the curious
      to the haunts of this Landelin (Landolino; in the oldest form Lendlin). It
      is a way taken since time immemorial by the inhabitants of Rufach (Rouffach)
      and other Alsatian parishes to Ettenheimmunster. There they take part in a
      long procession, headed with a silver bust reliquary carried on a bier, and
      an old Landelinus-Litanei is sung while they trace the grounds of the
      abbatial domain, long since disappeared. Riders also make the round,
      carrying a banner and a relic of the saint, and their horses are blessed on
      the green beside the holy well. The beautiful and imposing church of St.
      Landelin adjoins the well's sanctuary. Built in 1688 and enlarged again in
      the eighteenth century to serve the never abating concourse of visitors, it
      superseded former pilgrim churches built on the spot where the saint was
      martyred. The new altar, erected by the abbot of Ettenheimmunster, carried
      an inscription in golden letters - S Landelinus Scotiae Regis Filius,
      followed by a Latin hymn of praise with an explicative second verse that
      runs:

      Quinque fontes semper manant
      Landelini meritis
      Aegros, caecos, claudos sanant
      Sors magna est inclytis

      Five sources always flowing
      are Landelin's merit
      healing the sick, blind and lame
      famed among nobility.

      Today the high altar of St. Landelin's has an oil painting of the
      'glorification' of its patron, while a side-altar shows him in a wooden
      statue as a young man. Only in the baroque period did this youthful image
      appear; older ones portray Landelin as a mature, bearded man, often crowned
      in princely robes. On the ceiling his legend is told in seventeen frescoes,
      the first two of which, starting to the right of the west entrance show the
      saint's departure from Ireland.

      It seems that the cult of St. Landelin set in straight after his death at
      the hands of a local huntsman, infuriated by the conduct of his hounds,
      which refused to chase deer in the vicinity but became meek and docile when
      nearing the hermit's cell. The huntsman had the backing of his pagan lord,
      Gisico, who considered Landelin a sorcerer.

      There in the glad, where Landelin lay outstretched in his blood, spring
      water gushed forth from under the severed head and at each limb's extremity.
      The five sources (some legends say there were four) soon formed a basin, to
      which the natives resorted, and bathing, found healing there for many ills.

      Anchorites, settling in the neighbourhood, were gathered together in the
      early eighth century by the bishop of Strassburg to form a colony and
      provide for the increasing number of pilgrims to the spot. Out of this the
      first cella monachorum grew, with time, the impressive resort we find there
      now.

      It was Etto (Eddo), the succeeding bishop of Strassburg in the eighth
      century, who caused another monastery to be erected a little further up the
      valley for thirty Benedictines. Etto was deeply impressed by the miracles at
      the well, over which he had a new sanctuary built. His interest may reflect
      Irish sympathies for, before becoming bishop of Strassburg, he was abbot of
      Reichenau, in direct succession to Pirmin.

      Etto's monastery, built in honour of Landelin, was given the name of its
      founder - Monachium divi Ettonis - and became 'Ettenheim-Munster'.
      Incorporating the pilgrim church of St Landelin's, it cherished the saint's
      memory through more than a thousand troubled years.

      Nothing remains but a monastery wall of this once great seat of learning, a
      centre of theology and music, which radiated into the Rhine valley and
      influenced its spiritual and cultural life for centuries. The percussions
      caused by the French Revolution and the Secularization of 1803 saw its
      library scattered, its archives in ashes, its monks finally dispersed and
      the huge complex razed to the ground after having served as a a factory.
      This all has left us with a great void, concerning Ettenheimmunster's early
      history and also that of its Irish patron saint.

      Of the few items salvaged from the abbey after confiscation in 1803 the most
      precious was the bust reliquary of Landeling, made in 1506 as a recipient
      for the saint's skull. It was taken to the pilgrim church of St. Landelin,
      acting from then on as the parish church, and is kept in the sacristy. It is
      exposed on special occasions. That it was saved goes to the credit of an
      undaunted parish priest, pouring condemnation on the heads of those involved
      in transporting the bust on a cart to the smelting foundry. To eschew the
      fires of hell they unloaded it, dropping it into a ditch.

      The reliquary, a prime work of art of the late Gothic period, portrays the
      bust of St. Landelin in chased silver. Bejewelled and embossed, it contains
      the saint's skull, and has, inserted on the chest, a figuration of the
      martyrdom, whereby circles around the outstretched limbs and severed head
      demonstrate the pools of rising water. Scenes from the life of the saint
      surround the base of the reliquary, and these are especially interesting for
      they follow early legends that were recorded from oral tradition. Here the
      true peregrinus confronts us, with satchel and staff. This is what we are
      told:

      Crossing the Rhine, into the wilds of the Alemanni, Landelin makes his first
      stop at the house of a certain Edulf, where the village of Altdorf now
      stands, at the foot of the northern Black Forest range. Here he wanders off
      up the valley of the Undiz to where it is joined by the Luttenbach, a little
      stream - today Lautenbach - and builds himself a hut in the forest glade.
      Animals befriend him, especially deer, who brings him food. There fate
      overtakes him.

      Full of misgivings, Edulf's wife and three daughters set out from Altdorf to
      search for Landelin, accompanied by a guide. One of the daughters is blind,
      and when they come across the body of the murdered hermit, she is left
      behind weeping, while the others go for help. She touches her eyes with
      fingers stained from Landelin's blood, and her eyesight is restored.
      Returning with the intention of bringing their friend's corpse back and over
      the Rhine to receive a Christian burial, which could not be afforded on the
      right side of the river, Edulf's family are convinced by the miraculous cure
      of the hermit's sanctity. They carry his remains down the valley, to a place
      where, having put the load down for a rest, they find it impossible to raise
      it again. Even a team of oxen brought there with a cart, cannot move the
      corpse. This, it is decided, is a sign from heaven that Landelin wished to
      be buried there, and that they proceed to do. They stick the hermit's staff
      into the grave to mark the spot. It sprouts green leaves and eventually
      grows into a huge oak tree.

      The church that was built there, where first anchorites had their hermitage,
      is the Munchweier parish church of today. There under the mensa of the altar
      is the tomb with Landelin's relics. The centre of the cult, however, has
      always been the site of his martyrdom and the wellhouse with the holy
      sources.

      Since Landelin's Irish origin is today questioned for no other reason than
      his name 'sounds Frankish', it would be gratifying to find in the
      genealogies of Ireland a (F)lann, born around 600, who went abroad on a
      pilgrimage of no return.

      Source:
      ========
      Roísín Ní Mheara, Early Irish Saints in Europe - Their Sites and their
      Stories (Seanchas Ard Mhacha, 2001), 123-127.

      http://brigid-undertheoak.blogspot.com/2009/09/lesser-known-irish-saints-landelin-of.html


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