Lent: March 1st
Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Other Commemorations: St. David of Wales (RM; Feast, Wales and England)
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Today the Church in Wales and England celebrates the feast of St. David, bishop and patron of Wales. Very little is known about the life of St. David (Dewi Sant). He belonged to that great monastic movement which became influential in Wales in the sixth century and which had links with monasticism in Gaul and in Ireland. The earliest references to David are in the Irish Annals. Many churches across South Wales claim David as their founder. His chief foundation was at Mynyw or Menevia in Dyfed. He was canonized by Pope Callistus II in 1123.
Historically today is the feast of St. Albinus, bishop and miracle worker, also known as Aubin.
St. David of Wales
All the information we have about David is based on the unreliable eleventh-century biography written by Rhygyfarch, the son of Bishop Sulien of St. David's. According to it David was the son of King Sant of South Wales and St. Non, became a priest, studied under St. Paulinus on an unidentified island for several years, and then engaged in missionary activities, founding some dozen monasteries, the last of which, at Mynyw (Menevia) in southwestern Wales, was noted for the extreme asceticism of its rule, which was based on that of the Egyptian monks. David attended a synod at Brefi, Cardiganshire, in about 550 where his eloquence is said to have caused him to be elected primate of the Cambrian Church with the understanding that the episcopal see would be moved from Caerleon to Mynyw, now St. David's. He was supposedly consecrated archbishop by the patriarch of Jerusalem while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and a council he convened, called the Synod of Victory because it marked the final demise of Pelagianism, ratified the edicts of Brefi, and drew up regulations for the British Church. He died at his monastery at Mynyw, and his cult was reputedly approved by Pope Callistus II about 1120. Even his birth and death dates are uncertain, ranging from c. 454 to 520 for the former and from 560 to 601 for the latter.
—Excerpted from Dictionary of Saints, John J. Delaney
Patronage: doves; Wales
Symbols and Representation: leek; dove; daffodil; Celtic bishop with long hair, beard and dove on shoulder; bishop holding cathedral; preaching on a hill; man standing on a mound with a dove on his shoulder
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Read more about St. David:
- Find out more about the Welsh customs surrounding this day here and here.
- St. David was buried in St. David's Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, Wales. From Wiki: "His shrine was a popular place of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages. During the 10th and 11th centuries the Cathedral was regularly raided by Vikings, who removed the shrine from the church and stripped off the precious metal adornments. In 1275 a new shrine was constructed, the ruined base of which remains to this day, which was originally surmounted by an ornamental wooden canopy with murals of David, Patrick and Denis. The relics of David and Justinian of Ramsey Island were kept in a portable casket on the stone base of the shrine. It was at this shrine that Edward I came to pray in 1284. During the reformation Bishop Barlow (1536–48), a staunch Protestant, stripped the shrine of its jewels and confiscated the relics of David and Justinian."
- So often the celebrations forget the historical and religious contributions of St. David. Read this 16 things you (probably) didn’t know about St David’s Day traditions.
- Leeks and daffodils are visually prominent in this day. Cook something with leeks, and decorate with the sign of spring--beautiful yellow daffodils.
- See Catholic Cuisine for some food ideas for St. David's Day.
Station with Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major):
The spring Ember Week consecrated the new season to God and by prayer and fasting sought to obtain abundant graces for those who on Saturday were to receive Holy Orders. The Station was fittingly held in the church, which witnessed the first scrutinies for the coming ordinations, and which was dedicated to the mother of the great High Priest.
For more on Santa Maria Maggiore, see:
For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.