Posted by: anna | May 30, 2011

St Melangell

this icon is rather small, but my favourite of those I could find online. It is by the hand of Sr Theresa and the image is from the St Melangell Centre website, see below.
Today (17 May) in the calendar of early British saints, we commemorate St. Melangell, Virgin-hermitess of Wales (6th C). I have also posted about her here. From Miss Dunbar:
St. Melangell or MONACELLA, May 27, patron of hares. Founder and patron of the church of Pennant Melangell, near Llangunog in Montgomery shire. The chancel and nave of this church were divided by a carved screen, on which was represented the legend of the titular saint. She was the daughter of an Irish monarch ; she had a vow of celibacy and fled to Wales to avoid being married to a nobleman of her own country. She lived unseen for fifteen years until 604, when Brochwel Yseythrog, prince of Powys, hunting in the neighbourhood, ran a hare into a thicket and found it nestling in her dress ; she, deep in prayer and meditation, had not heard the dogs or the horn. The prince invited her to leave her solitude, but as that was not her wish, he gave her the adjacent lands on which to build a church. All the hares went to her for safety and followed her about. Hares were thence called Wyn Melangell, Monacella’s lambs. For centuries no one would kill a hare in the parish, and if any one shouted after a hunted hare, ‘God and Monacella be with thee,’ it was sure to escape. Blackwood’s Magazine, November 1875, ‘Legends and Folk-lore of North Wales.’ Rees, Welsh Saints, p. 209, says she was a Welsh woman, her mother Irish, and that her cell is to be seen in a rock near the church. Her relics were still shown in 1811.

icons of St Melangell at WSIP
celt-saints, with lots of links
the shrine church of St Melangell – she is still well known and loved in Wales

Troparion of St Melangell tone 8
Preferring the rigours of monasticism to worldly status and marriage, O pious Melangell,/ though wast fifteen years on a rock, emulating the example of the Syrian Stylites./ Wherefore, O Saint, pray to God that He will give us strength to serve Him as He wills,/ that we may be found worthy of His great mercy.

Kontakion of St Melangell tone 4
Praise, glory and honour are thy due, O righteous Melangell,/ for in consecrating thy virginity to Christ, thou didst give us a model of Christian living./ Wherefore we who keep thy festival/ pray for grace to amend our lives according to thy example,/ glorifying God in every word and deed.

Holy St Melangell, pray to God for us.


  1. Would you comment on the pronunciation of her name?
    Holy St. Melangell, pray to God for us.

  2. Pronunciation: mel – ANG – e(hl). A is short, more like apple than father. LL in Welsh has an unusual sound: put your tongue in the position for l, and blow out. Or say an unvoiced (whispered) 'hl'. Many English people find this sound completely impossible (a decent approximation is not difficult) and just say 'th'. E.g., Machynlleth comes out as 'mackunkleth.' Vowels ok, consonants not! LL example:

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