Posted by: anna | July 15, 2010

St Euddogwy

Today (2 July) we commemorate St. Euddogwy (Oudoceus), bishop at Llandaff (ca. 615). From Baring-Gould and Fisher vol.4 p.28 (INDEX!):
The only authority for the Life of this saint is a Vita in the Book of Llan Dav that was written or recomposed in or about 1150, but the Life was probably based on pre-existing material used as lections on the feast of the saint. It is printed in the Liber Landavensis, edited by W.J. Rees, Llandovery, 1840, pp. 123-32 ; more correctly in the Book of Llan Dav, ed. Evans and Rhys, Oxford, 1893, pp. 130-9. An epitome, very meagre, in Capgrave’s Nova Legenda Angliae. Also in Acta. SS. Boll, 2 Juli, i, p. 320, from Capgrave.
Oudoceus was the son of Budic, a refugee prince of Armorican Cornugallia, but born after his return to Brittany. The early history of Armorican Cornugallia is most obscure. We know that this portion of the Western peninsula had been colonized from Britain, at an early period. We hear of a king, Grallo, who ruled there about 470 to 505. Then there would appear to have ensued a fresh inroad of immigrants from Britain, under a chief called Jan or John Reith, which is translated as Lex. It would seem that these new colonists set up
their own prince and expelled the family of Grallo.
The Cartulary of Landevennec gives the order differently. After Grallo it inserts Daniel Dremrud “Alammanis rex fuit.” Then comes Budic with his brother Maxenri, then Jan Reith. “Hue rediens Marchel interfecit et paternum consulatum recuperavit.” Then Daniel Unna, followed by Gradlon Flam and Concar Cheroenoc, and then Budic Mur. The Cartulary of Quimper follows this with only a verbal addition to the effect. “Budic et Maxentii duo fratres ; horum primus rediens ab Alamannia, interfecit Marcell et paternum consulatum recuperavit.” In the Cartulary of Quimperle is also a reproduction of the same list.
Out of these contradictions it is not possible to arrive at any conclusion with an approach to confidence. We may perhaps accept M. de la Borderie’s opinion as we lack sufficient evidence to form any other, but it is a conjecture, and nothing more. He supposes that Grallo left no direct heir, and that Jan Reith came over and seized on the principality and transmitted it to his son Budic. Budic left two sons, Meliau and Rivold. Meliau was murdered by his brother, who also dispatched his nephew Melor.
On the death of Rivold, ambassadors from Cornubia or Cornugallia went to South Wales, where was living Budic, of the house of Grallo, who had been driven from Cornubia by the invaders.
The Life of S. Oudoceus informs us that Budic was the son of a certain Cybrdan, who had been expelled from his principality of Cornugallia, and he ” came with his fleet to the region of Demetia (Dyfed) in the time of Aircol La whir, who was King thereof.” Budic, who must have been young when he fled to Dyfed, married there Anauved, daughter of Ensic (Usyllt), and sister of S. Teilo, and by her had two sons, Ismael and Tyfai, who both entered religion. Ismael became a disciple of S. David, and Tyfai, having been accidentally killed, is esteemed a martyr. Whilst Budic resided in Dyfed, deputies from Cornubia arrived to announce to him that the usurping king was dead and that the people were ready to welcome him. Budic collected vessels and embarked, with his family of retainers and doubtless a number of Welsh adventurers who hoped to get something in the new land. Where Budic landed we do not know. The date of his arrival was about the year 545. Soon after Anauved became a mother again, of a son who was named Oudoceus.
Now some time previously, before Budic had heard of the change of aspect of affairs in Brittany, his brother-in-law, Teilo, had exacted from him a solemn promise, that, if he became again a father, he would give this child to the Church. As De la Borderie says, “L’eveque semble avoir voulu confisquer a son profit toute la lignee de sa soeur Anaumed.”
Possibly Budic might have found it convenient to forget his promise, but Teilo came to his territories, met him and insisted on his observance of the vow.
About a couple of years after Budic had gone to Cornubia the terrible Yellow Plague broke out in Wales, 547 ; and Teilo, who thought that the better part of valour was discretion, fled to Armorica, and remained there nearly eight years. Budic’s hesitation about surrendering his son was overcome when his wife presented him with a fourth, Tewdrig. Then, knowing what was certain to ensue after his death, if he left two brothers to contend for the sovereignty, he readily enough allowed Teilo to remove Oudoceus from the land, and thus secure him from being murdered, as had been Meliau by his brother Rivold.
Before proceeding to the further life of Oudoceus, it may be as well to relate what followed in Brittany.
Budic can hardly have lived beyond 570, and Tewdrig was born about 550. Budic was concerned about the future of his son, and he accordingly entered into an arrangement with Macliau, Bishop of Vannes, and Count of Broweroc, by which each engaged to defend and protect the other’s children, in the event of one of them dying, and this alliance was sealed by an oath.
No sooner, however, was Budic dead, than Macliau entered Cornubia and expelled Tewdrig, who remained for long a wanderer. However, he did not lose courage, and in 577, having collected a body of followers, he swooped down on the Bishop, killed him and his son James, and recovered possession of Cornubia.
Oudoceus was born about 545 or 546, when his father Budic returned to Cornugallia or Cornubia in Brittany, and in 556, when Teilo with his refugees from the Yellow Plague went back to Wales, Oudoceus accompanied him.
We do not know the date of the death of Teilo ; accordingly not that of Oudoceus’s succession to the abbacy and bishopric ; but he can hardly have been under thirty-five when elected into the room of his uncle. That would be in 580.
He does not seem to have revisited Brittany. His brother Tewdrig was prince then in Cornubia, and Oudoceus may have thought it inadvisable to appear in his territories, lest Tewdrig, who was his junior by a few years, should misunderstand his purpose in returning, and have his throat cut. But doubtless he sent some of Teilo’s disciples to the foundations made by that saint in Armorica, to see to their welfare and maintenance in good discipline. He had, moreover, plenty to occupy him in Wales. He was particularly interested in assuring his hold over Penally and Llandeilo Fawr. We are informed that he visited them and met with an unpleasant experience on his way back. He had gone there relic-hunting. Returning from a visit to S. David’s with some relics, he went to Llandeilo Fawr, where he collected “relics of the disciples of S. Teilo his maternal uncle, and these he placed in a suitable coffer.” From Llandeilo Fawr he went on to Penallt in Cydweli, his ” family bearing the relics reverently, the holy cross going before, and singing psalms.” Then certain men rushed down on them from the rocks shouting, ” Shall these clerics get away, laden with gold and silver, and, with so to speak, the treasure of Saints Dewi and Teilo? Let us catch them, and enrich ourselves with the great store of gold and silver metal.”
The legend as a matter of course makes the men become rigid and blind, till restored by the prayer of S. Oudoceus. What really took place was probably this. Oudoceus had nothing to do with S. David, and never went to his shrine at all, but he did desire to get hold of the body of his uncle that was preserved at Llandeilo Fawr ; and, at the same time, he carried off all the gold and revenue he could collect in that place and Penallt. The men of Penallt, and probably those also of Llandeilo Fawr, did not relish this ; the prosperity of their churches depended on the possession of relics of their founder ; as little were they pleased to be despoiled of the treasure in metal, and to have to pay dues, and probably arrears, to the representatives of Teilo. A disturbance ensued, but a compromise was effected.
Another story told of S. Oudoceus is, that, when he was thirsty one day, passing some women who were washing butter, he asked for a draught of water. They answered, laughing, that they had no vessel from which he could drink. Then he took a pat of butter, moulded it into the shape of a bell, filled it at the spring, and drank out of it. And, lo! it was converted into a golden bell ; and so it remained in the Church of Llandaff till it was melted up by the Commissioners of Henry VIII.
Einion, King of Glywysing (roughly, modern Glamorganshire) , was hunting one day, and the stag took refuge under the cloak of S. Oudoceus. The saint seized the occasion to beg the prince to make him a grant of that bit of land, on the Wye, now represented by the parish of Llandogo, which the stag had encompassed in the day’s hunt. The possessions of the abbey of Teilo beyond the Towy created friction. Cadwgan, the king, determined to drive Oudoceus out of them, and Oudoceus, unable to resist by force of arms, cursed his territory, and from that time forth the jurisdiction over Penally, Llandeilo Fawr, and Llanddowror seems to have ceased, though the biographer pretends that Cadwgan was brought to his knees and obliged to make restitution.
In the time of Oudoceus began the ravages of the Saxons in Gwent. In 577 the fatal battle of Deorham had cut off the Britons of Wales from those in Devon and Cornwall, and it had left the Severn Valley and those of the Wye and Usk open to be entered and ravaged at any time. The Hwiccas had settled in the rich land of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, and as they stretched their limbs, they laid hold of ever more and more soil and wrenched it from the Britons. They crossed the Wye, laid Ewyas waste, and devastated the valleys of the Dore and of the Worm. A slice of what is now Herefordshire was lost to the British.
One day, when Oudoceus was wrapt in devotion, sobbing and crying, a monk ran to him with the announcement that some beams that had been cut for his buildings, and had been left where hewn, in the wood, were being carried off. Oudoceus jumped up, seized a hatchet, and ran off to the banks of the Wye to see after his beams, and found that the depredator was none other than Gildas the historian, who was just then spending some time in retreat on the Isle of Echni (the Flat Holm) in the Bristol Channel, and who wanted timber for his own buildings.
Oudoceus shouted to him, as he rowed away with the beams, to come back and restore or apologize, but Gildas turned a deaf ear to entreaty and objurgation, and Oudoceus in a rage brought down his axe on a mass of stone hard by with such force as to split it, and the split remained as witness to the same till the time when the biographer wrote.
Unhappily for him, the story is chronologically impossible. Gildas died in 570, and Oudoceus was not bishop till 580. All we can conclude from the story is, that the remembrance of Gildas as a masterful and unscrupulous man lingered on. The story may be true so far that it belonged to an earlier period, and to Teilo, and later on attached itself to Oudoceus.
Meurig, the King of Morganwg, had committed murder. The case was gross, for he and Cynuetu, whom he slew, had come before Oudoceus and had sworn over relics to keep peace and friendship together. Very soon after, Meurig killed Cynuetu. Thereupon, Oudoceus called together the three abbots of most consequence in the district, Concen, Abbot of Llancarfan, Catgen, Abbot of Llantwit, and Sulgen, Abbot of Llandough, and hurled a curse upon the King and all his family, and cut off his land by interdict from Baptism and Communion, for the space of two years and more.
The statement is open to grave objection. It is the earliest known incidence of an interdict on a land and its innocent people. No such a far-reaching interdict was known in the Western Church till the eleventh century at the earliest. Excommunications there were, and censures, but the monstrous iniquity of a general interdict was reserved for popes to commit. Almost the first, if not the first, instance is that of Hadrian IV, in 1155, who put Rome under an interdict because a Cardinal had been mortally wounded in a popular tumult ; but Louis VI had been threatened with one earlier in the same century, for laying his hands on Church property. Alexander III, in 1180, placed Scotland under an interdict. It is true that in the Life of S. Eligius, d.c. 659, written at the close of the seventh century, that saint is said to have interdicted the celebration of Divine Service in a certain church, because the priest thereof had refused obedience to his commands ; but that was a different thing to an interdict on a whole people.
The Celtic abbots and bishops were free enough with their curses, but they never sank quite to such a depth as to involve the innocent with the guilty in excommunication.
Meurig was brought to penance and to pay for remission by making over four ” villas ” to the see of Llandaff.
Morgan, another King of Morganwg, had appeared at Llandaff, with his uncle Frioc, to take oath that they would live together in amity. Nevertheless, Morgan treacherously slew his uncle. Another synod was called, and he was put to penance, and obhged to release the monasteries of Llancarfan, Llantwit and Llandough from all royal services before he could obtain absolution.
Guidnerth of Gwent had basely murdered his brother. This was a practice so common, and recognized as a matter of course, that he was surprised to find that Oudoceus regarded it in a serious light. Oudoceus excommunicated him for three years, and afterwards bade him leave Britain, and remain for a year in exile in Armorica.
The Book of Llan Dav bears abundant testimony to the brutal savagery and the unbridled lust that prevailed in the sixth century. If Teilo and Oudoceus and his successors made the princes and other delinquents pay heavily for absolution, it was because through their pockets their consciences could be reached, and the truth impressed upon them that murder and adultery were sins against God as well as man. There can be very little doubt that Oudoceus was a strong man, and that his politic act in bringing the three great abbots of the three monasteries of Morganwg to act with him, paved the way to the supremacy of the abbey of Llandaff, and the formation of the episcopal diocese with episcopal rule over Morganwg. Oudoceus died on July 2, at Llandogo, which he had chosen as his retreat, near the close of his life.
The year in which he died is not known ; it seventy years old, then the date was about 615.
Into the Life of Oudoceus was thrust a statement, absolutely destitute of foundation, that he had gone to Canterbury and had tendered his submission to S. Augustine, and had received consecration from his hands. As Rees well says, ” The legend, for it deserves no better name, is so contrary to authentic history, and inconsistent with the state of the Welsh Church for two centuries after the time of Oudoceus, that it does not require a serious refutation.”
Oudoceus managed to extend the patrimony of the Church of S. Teilo into Brecknock, and to extend it in Monmouthshire. The grants recorded in the Book of Llan Dav as made to him must not be accepted without caution. In one it is said that he had lost Lann Cyngualan, in Gower, from the time of the Yellow Plague till that of Athrwys, son of Meurig. Oudoceus did not come to Wales till the plague was over. But perhaps we may read this as a loss of this estate to the Church of Llandaff from 547, not to Oudoceus personally.
S. Oudoceus has found his way into many English Calendars. He is in that of the Sarum Missal, that of York, and that of Hereford. He is in the Oxford Calendar; in that of Canterbury Cathedral, circa 1050; in the Exeter Calendar of the end of the twelfth century, Harl. MS. 863 in the S. Alban’s Calendar of the twelfth century, MS. Reg. 2 A. x in that of Hyde, of the middle of the eleventh century; in an Ely Calendar of the thirteenth century, Harl. MS. 547 ; in the Tewkesbury Abbey Calendar, circa 1250, MS. Reg. 8. C.vii ; in the Reading Abbey Calendar, 1220-46, Cotton MS. Vesp. E. v ; and many others. This liberal admission into the English Calendars is entirely due to the fable of his having submitted to be consecrated at Canterbury. The one Welsh Calendar in which he is inserted is that in Allwydd Paradwys,
The only church that regards S. Oudoceus as patron, beside the Cathedral Church of Llandaff, where he shares the honour with SS. Dyfrig and Teilo and SS. Peter and Paul, is Llaneuddogwy, now Llandogo, in Monmouthshire. It is on the Wye, a little below Monmouth, and was the place granted to him by King Einion, after whom it was occasionally called Llaneinion.
He was succeeded as Bishop of Llandaff by Berthwyn.
The shrine of S. Oudoceus at Llandaff, as also those of SS. Dyfrig and Teilo, were stripped about the year 1540. The mitred head and an arm of each of the saints’ statues, all of silver, got into the possession of one of the canons, but he had to surrender them (about 1557).
ODNB (by subscription)
Helen of elenisicons has made a beautiful icon including St Euddogwy
Another great Welsh name – dd is pronounced like the th in breathe or that, and g is always hard: EthOGwee. If you spell it Euddogwy, as they do at Llandaff, pronunciation of ‘eu’ is rather like the letter A.
Ton 3 Tropaire à saint Eddogwy, higoumène-évêque de Llandaf, (Natalice en 564 A.D.)
Originaire de la terre de Bretagne,*
Tu as été éduqué au Pays de Galles,*
Neveu de saint Téliau, tu lui as succédé*
En tant qu’higoumène et hiérarque de Llandaf.*
Saint Eddoggwy, toi qui es auprès du Seigneur,*
Prie-Le d’avoir de nos âmes grande mercy!
Originating in the land of Brittany,
Thou wert educated in the country of Wales,
Nephew of St Teilo, thou succeededest him
As abbot and hierarch of Llandaff.
Saint Eddogwy, thou who art close to the Lord,
Pray to Him to have great mercy on our souls!
Mille mercis encore a Claude Lopez-Ginisty de ‘Acathistes et Offices Orthodoxes’.
Saint Eddogwy, prie le Christ pour nos âmes!

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