Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Saint Teilo (Dillon), Bishop of Llandaff, Wales

St Teilo (Dillon) was born near Penally by Tenby, Pembrokeshire and died in 580 AD. There is plenty of evidence, both documentary and from place names and dedications, that Saint Teilo was widely venerated in southern Wales and Brittany. (His name may be spelled Teilio, Teilus, Thelian, Teilan, Teilou, Teliou, Elidius, Eliud, Dillo, or Dillon.) He was undoubtedly an influential churchman, whose principal monastic foundation and centre of ministry was Llandeilo Fawr in Carmarthenshire.
Some facts are fairly certain. Teilo was educated under Saint Dyfrig (Dubricius) and a Paulinus, possibly Paul Aurelian through whom he met Saint David (Dewi). In his school days, his fellows had suggested that his name was derived from the Greek word for the sun and there is no doubt that in his later life he was regarded as a shining light, illuminating and warming the Church in Wales.

We are told among other things that Teilo went with Saint David and Saint Paternus on David's pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and with them shares the title of the Three Blessed Visitors to Britain. It is also related that during the 'yellow plague,' so called because it made everyone it attacked yellow and bloodless, he went to Brittany and stayed with Saint Samson at Dol. There they planted a big orchard of fruit-trees, three miles long, reaching from Dol to Cai, which is still called after their names. After the time with his friend S. Samson at Dol, he was a guest for a while with Budic, a chieftain of Brittany, who had married his sister Anaumed. After seven years and seven months, he returned to Llandaff taking his nephew Oudoceus with him, who was later to succeed him.
Much of the writing about Saint Teilo was composed in the interests of the medieval see of Llandaff, which claimed him as its second bishop. About 1130 AD, Geoffrey (Galfridus), a priest of Llandaff, composed a "vita" of Teilo in the form of a sermon. A longer version of this life, altered to add importance to the diocese of Llandaff, can be found in the "Liber Landavensis." Teilo is co-titular patron of the Llandaff cathedral with Saints Peter, Dubricius, and Oudoceus (Euddogwy). The last-named was Teilo's nephew and successor at Llandaff.
The Gospels of Saint Chad (written in southwestern Mercia about 700 AD) became the property of a church of Saint Teilo; marginal notes show that in the 9th century Teilo was venerated in southern Wales as the founder of a monastery called the "Familia Teliavi.". The book itself was regarded as belonging to Teilo; the curse of God and the saint is invoked on those who break the agreements contained in it.
Outside of Wales, Teilo's name is especially venerated in Landeleau (diocese of Quimper), Brittany. His feast is still observed in the archdiocese of Cardiff and on Caldey Island (Attwater, Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh). St Teilo is commemorated on the 9th February.[1]

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