Tue, April 24, 2018

Our Saint

Who was Saint Gildas? -  (500 – 570)


Photograph of St Gildas above his tomb in the Abbey Church of St Gildas in Brittany.


A degree of vagueness surrounds the history of many of our Scottish saints.   

St Gildas is said to have been born in the lower regions of the Clyde around the year 500. He was schooled in South Wales under St Ullyd and St Cadoc. He was a scholarly individual and noted historian; he is now often designated “St Gildas the Wise”. He was renowned for his knowledge of the bible and reputed to have been a bit of a fire brand when it came to preaching. The Penguin Book of Saints says “he was a master of fierce invective prompted by sincere moral indignation”.

He is the author of a book entitled “De excidio et conquestu Britanniae” – Concerning the Ruin and Conquest of Britain. In it he draws moral lessons to be learned from the occupation of Britain by the Romans. Five Kings with their people and clergy are violently denounced for their iniquities!

It is said that for a time Gildas lived as a hermit on an island in the Bristol Channel. He spent some time in Ireland and had an influence in the developing Church there about one hundred years after St Patrick.

According to Breton tradition, Gildas spent his latter years in Brittany, and in the south west founded a monastery at modern day St Gildas de Rhuys. He died on the Isle of Houat, a small island just off the Brittany coast. In St Gildas de Rhuys today there is an abbatial Church dedicated to St Gildas and a holy well.

 Sunday Mass in the Abbey at St Gildas de Ruys in Brittany



St Gildas Well near the town of Saint Gildas-de-Rhuys (France)

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