Monday, November 14, 2016

Saint Dyfrig, Archbishop of Caerleon, Wales

Saint Dubricius (also known as Dubritius, Dubric, Dyfig, Dyfrig, Devereux) was born at Moccas (Moch Rhos = Pig's Heath), near Hereford and died in 545 AD.  Some old genealogies show Dyfrig as the great-great-grandson of Macsen Wledig and Elen of the Ways.
Saint Dyfrig was a significant church leader, a monk, in southeast Wales and western Herefordshire. His earliest foundation was Ariconium (Archenfield, Hereford), but his most important centres were at Hentland (Henllan) and Moccas in the Wye valley. Dyfrig attracted numerous disciples to the two monasteries, and from them founded many other monasteries and churches.
He was associated with Saint Illtyd (f.d. November 6) and, according to the 7th-century "vita" of Saint Samson, with the island of Caldey for whose monastery he appointed Saint Samson abbot. Later he consecrated Samson bishop. An ancient, but incomplete, inscription at Caldey reads "Magl Dubr" ("the tonsured servant of Dubricius"). Dyfrig and Saint Deinol were the two prelates who convinced Saint David to attend the synod of Brefi. Dyfrig spent the last years of his life at Ynys Enlli (Bardsey) and died there.

In later medieval legends he becomes the 'archbishop of Caerleon' (Caerlon-on-Usk) and, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, crowns 'King' Arthur at Colchester (he is the high saint of "Idylls of a King"), and the ecclesiastical politics of the 12th century claimed him as founder of the Normans' see of Llandaff, where he was one of the four titular saints of the cathedral.  The later "vita" written by Benedict of Gloucester claims that Dyfrig was a disciple of Saint Germanus of Auxerre, but this is unlikely. Legend also states that Saint David resigned in his favour as metropolitan of Wales.
The relics of Saint Dyfrig were translated from Bardsey to Llandaff in 1120. He is the 'Dubric the high saint, Chief of the church in Britain' of Tennyson's "Coming of Arthur," and the place-name Saint Devereux in Herefordshire is a corruption of the saint's name.
Church dedications to him at Gwenddwr (Powys) and Porlock (Somerset) suggest that his disciples were active in the expansion of Christianity to the west and southwest, possibly in association with the multitudinous children Saint Brychan of Brecknock (Attwater, Benedictines, Doble, Delaney, Farmer). In art Saint Dubricius is depicted holding two crosiers and an archiepiscopal cross. He is venerated in Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, and Caldey Island (Roeder). St Dyfrig’s feast day is on the 14th November.


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