Posted by: anna | November 3, 2010

St Condedus of Fontenelle

Today (21 October) we commemorate St. Condedus, hermit of Fontenelle(685).

Condedus, d.685. Probably a Briton, he became a hermit at Fontaine-de-Saint-Valéry, France and then a Benedictine monk at Fontenelle. After a time there, he resumed his eremitical life on the island of Belcinae in the Seine near Caudebec, and when King Thierry III granted him the island for a hermitage, he built two chapels on it. He is also known as Condé or Condède. His feast day is October 21st.  from catholic.org and orthodoxengland, rather more detail about Fontenelle in French.

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I ask myself yet again what I am doing toiling through the backwaters of these obscure fragments, of lives that were lived on the far edges of the known world, mostly hidden even in their own time, most long since all but forgotten. Is this really that edifying? It’s so frustrating knowing so little of so many of these stories. I’m so new to the place of the saints in daily life – shouldn’t I be concentrating instead on those the Church celebrates with more emphasis, aren’t they there for a reason, won’t I learn more from them? Goodness knows there are plenty to choose from – today, for instance, seems to be a positive synaxis of saints called Hilarion. But I’m not in the least new to saints’ lives; I’m used to trawling through obscure medieval sources; I deal every day with the imperfection of the written record and the tantalising traces it leaves of what may once have been whole, but was probably always complicated. And over and over I hear in my head St Arsenios of Cappadocia’s words, ‘The Church in the British Isles will only begin to truly grow again when it begins to venerate once more its own saints”.

So in my small way, may this effort add a little piece here and there to that tremendous puzzle-work. I’m here. This is what I do. It’s a beginning: ‘Once upon a time a person lived and died to the glory of God…’

Holy St Condedus, pray to God for us.
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Responses

  1. That is really beautiful. do keep up the work; someday let us hope with your efforts etc that there can be an Orthodox Patericon of the British Isles.

    Lord, helps us all to live and die for Your Glory…

  2. YES! and I'm not adding anything new here – so much work has already been done within Orthodoxy in translating and collating saints' lives in English and the lives of British saints, but much of it is not widely available. More needs doing both in consulting original sources and in composing new English lives, also troparia and commemorations etc etc etc viz the tremendous body of work by Reader Isaac Lambertson, represented in small part by what's available at orthodoxengland. I think old methods of print publishing for sale are going to prove completely outmoded for this kind of work.


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