Posted by: anna | November 9, 2009

Ia of Cornwall

Today we commemorate St Ia of Cornwall. There seems to be quite a lot of confusion about Ias, and her companions, and alternate spellings. Here, however, is the thread that Miss Dunbar has teased out of the tangle:

St Ia (EYE, IAS, Bis, IIA, IIES, ITA (2), ITHA, IVA, IVES, HIA, HYA, TIA, YE), commemorated with her brother, St. Uni, Feb. 3. 5th century. ST. IWY, or EWE for EVE, is perhaps the same. la was daughter of an Irish chief, and disciple of St. Barr or Fingar.

She ought to be patron of persons who miss their trains or ships, for when SS. Fingar and PIALA left Ireland for Cornwall, St. la intended to accompany them, but when she arrived on the seashore, she saw the ship already a good way out to sea. Much grieved, she raised her tearful eyes to heaven, and prayed for help, and when she turned them again on the sea, she observed a little leaf floating at the edge of the water. She touched it with her staff, arid lo ! it grew large and firm before her eyes, until she could step on to it, and it bore her safely across to the bay of Hayle, in Cornwall, where she landed, and where her friends, St. Fingar and St. Piala, with their 777 ship mates, arrived presently after her.

She applied to Dinan, one of the great men of Cornwall, for a place to live in. He built her a church in St. Ives Bay. The town around this church was called for centuries Pendinas, but gradually its name was changed to St. les, and then St. Ives. Other places in England called St. Ives are supposed to be called two after a Persian missionary bishop, about the 7th century, and another after St. Ives or Yves, bishop of Chartres, 12th century; but according to Miss Arnold Forster, the Cornish saint was venerated and her parish called St. Ives long be fore the coming of these foreign bishops. The parish of St. Ewe, in Cornwall, which was spelt, in the Middle Ages, Iwy, and is pronounced Eve, is perhaps another dedication of la.


  • Wikipedia
  • an amusing book in the belaboured 19th century style of the jocular undergraduate travel novel, which tells of St Ia producing bumper crops of pickled cabbages.

Troparion of St Ia tone 5
Thy life and mission/ were pleasing to God, most pious Ia,/ for seeing thee left behind in Ireland,/ He miraculously transported thee across the sea to Cornwall on a leaf./ Wherefore O Saint, pray to God for us/ that we may never give way to despair/ but ever trust in His great mercy.

Kontakion of St Ia tone 8
By a miracle, God showed that the first should be last and the last, first, O righteous Ia,/ and therefore we look to thee as a symbol of Gospel truth,/ ever praising thy illustrious memory.

Holy St Ia, pray to God for us.


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