Posted by: anna | October 21, 2009

St Keyne of Cornwall

St Keyene, Keyne, Keyna or what spelling you will, is certainly not one of the better-known British saints, but she is one of the legion of holy men and women from Cornwall, and another of the holy children of Brychan of Brecknock. Wikipedia mentions her briefly, [celt-saints] (always useful) provides a life AND is the only source I can find online for a troparion, and various bits of her legend turn up on searches for ‘St Keyne’, but again the Life below is taken from Miss Dunbar.

St. Keyna, Feb. 27, Oct. H (CAIN, CEINEU, CKINWEN, CENEN, KAYNE ; in ancient British, KEYNA or KEYNVAIU;), V. -f- 400, was the daughter of Braghan, prince of Brecknock. He had many saintly children : by some accounts, twenty-four daughters, besides sons. (See ALMHEDA.) His most distinguished child was Keyna, who crossed the Severn and chose a wood for her solitary abode where now stands the town of Cainsham or Keynsham on the Avon. ‘This place,’ says Capgrave, ‘swarmed with serpents, so that neither men nor beasts could inhabit it ; but St. Keyna, addressing herself to her heavenly spouse, obtained of Him, by the fervour of her prayer, that all this poisonous brood should be changed into stones perfectly resembling the winding of serpents : of which kind many were to be seen in that neighbourhood for divers ages.’ A similar miracle is recorded of HILDA. Keyna, after living there an austere and saintly life for some years, made a pilgrimage to St. Michael’s Mount. Her nephew, St. Cadocus, son of her sister Gladusa, was surprised to find her there and persuaded her to return home with him. She made herself a small habitation at the foot of a mountain in her native place, and obtained, by her prayers, a spring of water which was helpful in divers infirmities. Here she remained many years and died. A gracious smile and a beautiful rosy colour appeared on her face. She gave to the Cornish people a well near St. Neot’s, which has the wonderful property of conferring the chief domestic authority on husband or wife, whichever first, after marriage, drinks of its waters. The parish of Kenwyn in Cornwall is perhaps called after Keyna.

Saint Keyne is depicted as a female hermit turning serpents into stone. Pictures of her death show her attended by an angel, who strips off her hairshirt and robes her in white (Roeder). She is venerated at Keynsham (Roeder).

Troparion of St Keyne Tone 8
Having turned serpents to stone, thou didst give thy name to Keynsham, O holy Keyne,
and after thy life, resplendent with miracles,
our Father Cadoc ministered to thee at thy repose.
By thy prayers, O Virgin, may we be granted great mercy.

Holy St Keyne, pray to God for us.

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