Posted by: anna | January 15, 2010

St Seiriol

Today (2 January) we commemorate St Seiriol, first abbot of Penmon Priory on Anglesey. From the Rev Dr Baring-Gould:

Seiriol was the son of Owain Danwyn, and brother or nephew of Einion, prince of Lleyn, in Carnarvon, of the race of Cunedda. Einion established a sacred tribe at Penmon in Anglesea, and made Seiriol chief of the saintly tribe. So celebrated did this establishment become under him, that foreigners, so we are told, even Scandinavian vikings, resorted to it for instruction. This is a clumsy way of explaining that some Norse pirates who had been captured on the coast were given up to Seiriol, instead of being put to death. Seiriol and Cybi were friends. The former lived at Penmon, the latter at Holyhead. They were wont to meet weekly at Clorach, near Llanerch y Medd. From the circumstance of Seiriol travelling westward in the morning with the sun, whereas Cybi’s course was eastward against the sun, they were denominated Seiriol the Fair and Cybi the Tawny. Matthew Arnold wrote a sonnet on this story, but mistook the point. He makes Seiriol the Bright, because the sun was on his face, and Cybi the Tawny, because his was in shade.
Late in life Seiriol retired to Glanach or Priestholm, a little island off the coast. This islet is now called Ynys Seiriol. He lived in the early part of the sixth century. Challoner gives January 2 as his day, but in his supplement gives as well February II. There is some question whether February 1 was not also observed as his day in Wales. There used to be an inscription on a stone in the tower of Llanengan to the memory of his father. In Welsh Calendars on February 1.


Troparion of St Seiriol tone 4
We hymn thee, O Father Seiriol,
for thou didst turn the Welsh wilderness into a fertile vineyard for the Lord.
By this our intercession, O Saint,
we implore thee to pray to Christ our God
that our labours may be blessed and our souls may be saved.

Holy St Seiriol, pray to God for us.

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