Posted by: anna | May 3, 2010

St Cædwalla

Today (20 April) we commemorate St. Cædwalla, King of Wessex (689). (Ceadwalla) From Stanton’s Menology:
Ceadwalla, a young prince of the reigning family of Wessex, who had not as yet received baptism, made a cruel inroad into the neighbouring kingdom of Sussex, and slew King Edilwalch in battle. For the time he was soon forced to relinquish his conquest, and return to his own country ; but afterwards he succeeded to the crown of Wessex, and then again reduced Sussex to the most severe bondage. He also subdued the Isle of Wight, intending to exterminate the natives and substitute his own subjects in their place. Strange to say, though not yet a Christian, he vowed to devote a fourth part of the land and of his spoil to Christ, and after his victory hastened to fulfil his promise, by placing it in the hands of St. Wilfrid, who happened to be with him at the time.

Ceadwalla governed his states with singular energy and ability during two years, when, touched by divine grace, he resolved to abandon all he had on earth for the everlasting kingdom of Christ. His cherished wish was to receive baptism at the tomb of the Holy Apostles in Rome, and it was his fervent hope that God would call him out of this world while unstained in his baptismal innocence. In both these respects his pious desire was fully satisfied. He was baptised by Pope St Sergius I. on Holy Saturday, and received the name of Peter, Almost immediately afterwards he was seized with the fatal sickness which carried him out of this world, according to his prayer, while he yet wore his white baptismal garment. The Pope ordered him to be buried in St. Peter’s, and a laudatory epitaph to he inscribed on his tomb. When the new Basilica was erected, the relics of St Ceadwalla were translated to the Crypt.

Well, here is a good case of truncation to the point of ridiculousness. Quite a lot is known from several (fairly) contemporary sources about Caedwalla, as outlined in a rather good Wikipedia article. celt-saints seems to produce another King Caedwalla, or Cadwaladr, but the parallels are so striking I suspect there is only one., or that some conflation has happened. We shall see when the other’s day comes round…

2011 update:

Ton 4 Tropaire à saint Caedwalla, Roi du Wessex, (Natalice en 689 A.D.)
Fils du roi de Wessex, tu agrandis tes terres,*
Sans penser un instant au Royaume des Cieux,*
Mais un jour, étant défait sur l’Île de Wight,*
Tu te convertis au Christ et tu abdiquas.*
Tu revêtis le Christ et tu mourus très vite.*
Saint Caedwella, prie le Seigneur de nous sauver!
Son of the king of Wessex, you increased your territories, *

Without thinking for a moment of the Kingdom of Heaven, *
But one day, being defeated on the Isle of Wight, *
You converted to Christ and abdicated .*
You put on Christ and died very soon after.*
Saint Caedwella, pray to the Lord to save us!

Holy St Caedwalla, pray to God for us.

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