Un article de GrandTerrier.
1 Fiche signalétique
Site fr.Wikipedia :
David (saint gallois)
Saint David (vers 500–589), connu en gallois sous l'appellation Dewi Sant), est le saint patron du Pays de Galles. Sa fête, le 1er mars, est fête nationale galloise. Le poireau est le symbole du saint, ainsi que la jonquille: c'est le même mot (cenhinen) en gallois.
L'année de sa naissance est très incertaine, les diverses hypothèses la situent entre 462 et 512. Selon Rhygyfarch, auteur de la vie du saint au XIe siècle, David était le fils de sanctus rex ceredigionis, ce qui a mené à l'interprétation qu'il s'agissait d'un nommé Sanctus, et ce qui explique que les Gallois ont honoré un Sandde, roi de Ceredigion.
L'expression latine peut également signifier qu'il s'agissait d'un "saint roi" de Ceredigion. Le roi à l'époque de la naissance de David est connu, et s'appelait Usai. D'après la légende, Sandde serait son frère, et donc ne serait roi que d'une partie du Ceredigion. Tous deux étaient fils de Ceredig, le fondateur du Ceredigion. Le saint fut conçu dans la violence, et sa malheureuse mère Non (peut-être une nonne, tout simplement), fille de Cynyr de Caer Goch (dans l'actuel Pembrokeshire), accoucha au sommet d'une falaise au beau milieu d'une violente tempête.
David fut éduqué, à Hendy- gwyn ar Daf (nom anglicisé en Whitland) dans le Carmarthenshire, pense-t-on, auprès de Saint Paulinus de Galles (probablement la même personne que le Pol Aurélien breton) qui avait été l'un des disciples de Saint Germain d'Auxerre. D'aucuns pensent qu'il s'agirait plutôt de l'Île de Wight.
David s'illustra comme enseignant et prêcheur, et créa monastères et bâtissant des églises en galles, Cornouaille (britannique) et Bretagne armoricaine, à une époque où ces régions, et les régions voisines de la future Angleterre qui naîtra 300 ans plus tard, sont majoritairement payennes.
Nommé évêque de Menevia, il présida deux synodes, et fit un pèlerinage à Jérusalem où sa nomination fut consacrée. La cathédrale de St David (Ty-Ddewi, en gallois) a été construite sur le site du monastère qu'il fonda dans la vallée inhospitalière de 'Glyn Rhosyn' dans le Pembrokeshire.
Selon la règle monastique de David les moines devaient cultiver et tirer eux-mêmes la charrue, sans l'aide d'animaux. Il était interdit de boire autre chose que de l'eau, de manger autre chose que du pain, des légumes et du sel. La soirée se passait à prier, à lire ou écrire. La propriété privée n'existait pas, les moines ne possédaient rien. L'ascétisme était le mode de vie, la viande était bannie.
Le miracle le plus connu qui est associé au nom de David se serait produit alors qu'il prêchait au milieu de la foule au synode de Brefi. Quand ceux qui étaient au dernier rang se plaignirent de ce qu'ils ne pouvaient ni le voir ni l'entendre, le sol se souleva, une colline se forma, pour leur permettre de profiter du spectacle. L'on vit une colombe blanche se poser sur l'épaule du saint, ce qui démontrait que Dieu était à ses côtés. Le village de ces miracles s'appelle aujourd'hui Llanddewi Brefi. Selon une autre version il recommenda simplement aux participants du synode de se déplacer vers une colline voisine. Toujours est-il que les artistes représentent souvent le saint avec une colombe sur l'épaule.
Le document qui contient la plupart des haut-faits de David a pour nom Buchedd Dewi (Vie de Dewi), et c'est une hagiographie écrite par Rhygyfarch vers la fin du XI ème siècle. L'un des buts de Rhygyfarch était de rétablir l'independance de l'église galloise que l'invasion normande de 1066 menaçait. Il parait significatif que l'auteur prétende que David était en train de dénoncer le pélagianisme lors de l'incident de la colline soulevée.
Guillaume de Malmesbury rapporte que David visita Glastonbury dans le but de consacrer l'abbaye et de lui offrir un autel portatif contenant un gros saphir. Alors Jesus lui apparut dans une vision et lui dit que « l'église avait été depuis longtemps consacrée par Lui-Même en l'honneur de Sa Mère, et ne devait pas l'être à nouveau de mains humaines ». David demanda donc la construction de nouveaux bâtiments, du côté est de la vieille église. Les dimensions de cette extension données par Guillaume ont pu être vérifiées en 1921 par des experts archéologues. Selon un manuscrit un autel de saphir aurait été confisqué par le roi Henri VIII lors de la dissolution de l'abbaye mille ans plus tard. La pierre ferait aujourd'hui partie des joyaux de la Couronne britannique.
Dewi, grâce peut-être à son régime végétarien, aurait vécu 100 ans. Il mourut un mardi premier mars, jour de sa fête. On en a conclu que cela devait être vers 590, et plus précisément 589. Ce jour-là parait-il, le monastère était 'rempli d'anges au moment ou le Christ recueillait son âme'.
Ses derniers mots à ses disciples il les avait prononcés le dimanche précédent. D'après Rhygyfarch il leur avait dit: 'Soyez joyeux, et gardez votre foi. Faites les petites choses que vous m'avez vu faire et dont vous avez entendu parler. Je marcherai sur le sentier que nos pères ont parcouru avant nous. La phrase galloise 'Gwnewch y pethau bychain' (faites les petites choses) est devenue proverbiale.
David fut enterré dans la cathédrale de St David, qui fut un lieu de pèlerinage tout au long du Moyen Âge. Il a été l'un des rares saints gallois (ou bretons ou irlandais) à être reconnu par le pape Calixte II en 1123.
La vie de David a inspiré le compositeur gallois Karl Jenkins qui a enregistré un disque intitulé Dewi Sant.
Liens externes [modifier]
- Early British Kingdoms: St. Dewi, Bishop of Mynyw
- Catholic Encyclopedia: St. David
Site en.Wikipedia :
Saint David (c. 500–589) (known in Welsh as Dewi Sant) was a church official, later regarded as a saint and as the patron saint of Wales. David contrasts with the other national patron saints of the British Isles, Saints George and Andrew and in that a relatively large amount of information is known about his life. However, his birth date is still uncertain, with suggestions ranging from 462 to 512.
Rhygyfarch, the late 11th century author of the saint's life story (see below), wrote that David was the son of sanctus rex ceredigionis, where Sanctus has been interpreted as a proper name and its owner honoured by Welsh Christians as Sandde, King of Ceredigion. However, this Latin phrase can equally well mean simply "holy king of Ceredigion". The king of Ceredigion around the time of David's birth would have been Usai. According to Rhygyfarch, Sandde was his brother, so probably only a king of part of Ceredigion. They were sons of King Ceredig, founder of Ceredigion. The saint was conceived through violence and his poor mother, Non (possibly just 'a nun'), the daughter of Lord Cynyr of Caer Goch (in Pembrokeshire), gave birth to him on a cliff top during a violent storm. David was educated at what is usually taken to be Whitland in Carmarthenshire under Saint Paulinus of Wales.
He became renowned as a teacher and preacher, founding monastic settlements and churches in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany in a period when neighbouring tribal regions (that were to be united as England three hundred years later) were still mostly pagan. He rose to a bishopric, and presided over two synods, as well as going on pilgrimages to Jerusalem (where he was anointed as a bishop by the Patriarch) and Rome. St David's Cathedral now stands on the site of the monastery he founded in the remote and inhospitable valley of 'Glyn Rhosyn' in Pembrokeshire.
The Monastic Rule of David prescribed that monks had to pull the plough themselves without draught animals; to drink only water; to eat only bread with salt and herbs; and to spend the evenings in prayer, reading and writing. No personal possessions were allowed: to say "my book" was an offence. He lived a simple life and practiced asceticism, teaching his followers to refrain from eating meat or drinking beer. His symbol, also the symbol of Wales, is the leek.
The best-known miracle associated with Saint David is said to have taken place when he was preaching in the middle of a large crowd at the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi. When those at the back complained that they could not see or hear him, the ground on which he stood is reputed to have risen up to form a small hill so that everyone had a good view. A white dove was seen settling on his shoulder—a sign of God's grace and blessing. John Davies notes that one can scarcely "conceive of any miracle more superfluous" in that part of Wales—a more mundane version of this story is that he simply recommended that the synod participants move to the hilltop. In works of art, David is frequently shown with a dove on his shoulder. The village of Llanddewi Brefi is said to stand on the spot where the miracle occurred.
The document that contains much of the traditional tales about David is Buchedd Dewi, a hagiography written by Rhygyfarch in the late 11th century. One of Rhygyfarch's aims now was that his document could establish some independence for the Welsh church, which was risking losing its independence following the Norman invasion of England in 1066. It is significant that David is said to have denounced Pelagianism during the incident before the ground rose beneath him.
William of Malmesbury recorded that David visited Glastonbury intending to dedicate the Abbey, as well as to donate a travelling altar including a great sapphire. He had a vision of Jesus, who said that "the church had been dedicated long ago by Himself in honour of His Mother, and it was not seemly that it should be re-dedicated by human hands". So David instead commissioned an extension to be built to the abbey, east of the Old Church. (The dimensions of this extension given by William were verified archaeologically in 1921.) One manuscript indicates that a sapphire altar was among the items King Henry VIII confiscated from the abbey at its dissolution a thousand years later. There are unverifiable indications that the sapphire may now be among the Crown Jewels.
It is claimed that David lived for over 100 years, and he died on a Tuesday 1 March (now St David's Day). It is generally accepted that this was around 590, making the actual year 589. The monastery is said to have been 'filled with angels as Christ received his soul'. His last words to his followers were in a sermon on the previous Sunday. Rhygyfarch transcribes these as 'Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.' 'Do the little things in life' ('Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd') is today a very well-known phrase in Welsh, and has proved an inspiration to many.
David was buried at St David's Cathedral where his shrine was a popular place of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages. Unlike many contemporary 'saints' of Wales, David was officially recognised by Pope Callixtus II in 1120.
David's life and teachings have inspired a choral work by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, Dewi Sant. It is a seven-movement work that is best known for the classical crossover series Adiemus, which intersperses movements reflecting the themes of David's last sermon with those drawing from three Psalms.
- Christian vegetarianism
1. ^ Davies, John (1993/2007). A History of Wales. London: Penguin, 74.
- Early British Kingdoms: St. Dewi, Bishop of Mynyw
- Catholic Encyclopedia: St. David
- History of St. David's Day & Flag of St David
- Statue of Saint David
- St David's Cathedral
Site Early British Kingdoms :
St. Dewi, Bishop of Mynyw
(AD 487-AD 589)
(Welsh: Dewydd; Latin: Davidus; English: David)
The life-story and legends of St. David are largely based on his biography written by one Rhygyfarch in the late 11th century. He is generally accepted as having been the son of a lady of noble Irish birth living in Dyfed. Lady Non by name, she had taken on a religious life, joining the convent at Ty Gwyn near Whitesands Bay. However, her beauty brought her to the attention of Sandde, a prince of the adjoining Kingdom of Ceredigion, while he was travelling nearby. His advances were, of course, vehemently rejected but the Royal lord would not take no for an answer and forced his passions upon the unfortunate Non.
The poor girl fell pregnant with the future St. David: a man of such holiness that even from the womb he, apparently, performed miracles. For an old story tells how, during her pregnancy, Non entered a certain church to listen the preaching of the local priest - he is said to have been St. Gildas but he was somewhat younger than David - and immediately the man was struck dumb. Because her child was soon to excel all religious teachers, the cleric found himself unable to continue whilst in the great man's presence.
He was eventually born in the middle of a violent storm at Caerfai, on the coast just south of Mynyw (St. Davids), where a ruined chapel still marks the very spot. Traditionally, this was around AD 462, though recent work by Carney suggests AD 487 to be a more likely date. Non named her son, Dewidd, but he was commonly called Dewi from the local Dyfed pronunciation. David is an English version taken from the Latin, Davidus. He was brought up, by his mother, in Henfeynyw (Vetus Rubus) near Aberaeron and, at a young age, was baptised by his maternal cousin, St. Eilfyw. David may have been educated by St. Colman of Dromore, but this seems unlikely.
David was greatly attracted to the Welsh Church and, when he became a man, he was soon ordained a priest. He travelled to the island of Wincdi-Lantquendi (possibly Whitland) in order to study under St. Paulinus of Wales. He stayed there for at least ten years, but is also said to have studied under St. Illtud at Llanilltud Fawr (Llantwit Major) around this time. David was a star pupil and even cured Paulinus of his blindness.
Our saint then began to travel the country, evangelising as he went. He is said to have founded twelve monasteries in Southern Wales, though many of these are erroneous later claimants. PC Bartrum suggests that possible genuine foundations may have included Glasgwm (Elfael), Colfa (Elfael), Llangyfelach (Gwyr), Llanarthne (Ystrad Tywi) and Betws (Ystrad Tywi). He also visited the court of King Proprius of Ergyng - probably King Peibio Clafrog - and cured his blindness too.
Eventually, David returned to Henfeynyw where he met up with his relation, Bishop Gwestlan. The two were neighbours and companions for some time, before the Welsh patron moved on to nearby Rhoson Uchaf (Rosina Vallis) near Mynyw (St. Davids). He was accompanied by a number of disciples, including Aeddan, Teilo and Ysfael, and together they founded the monastery of Mynyw (St. Davids). An Irish chieftain, named Bwya, living at nearby Castell Penlan, was not best pleased at this invasion of monks and plotted to drive them out. His wife sent her maidservants to bathe naked in the River Alun and tempt David and his followers, but the clerics were far from impressed. Misfortune soon befell the Irish couple and David was able to settle down without further harassment.
By this time, David's fame as a spiritual leader was becoming widespread throughout Britain. He became known as 'the Waterman' - David Aquaticus (Dewi Dyfyrwr) - because he encouraged his followers to live drink and bathe in cold water. He attracted pupils from many walks of life, including retired monarchs like St. Constantine of Dumnonia. From Mynyw (St. Davids), they spread the Word of God, travelling across the country and especially to Ireland. St. Aeddan crossed the Irish Sea and founded the monastery of Ferns from where a premonition warned him that David was about to be poisoned. He sent his companion, Ysgolan, to save the great saint from assassination; which he did. Other Irish visitors included Bishop Barre to whom David lent a miraculous horse which carried him home across the sea!
David then decided to undertake a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with SS. Teilo and Padarn. It is said that they were there consecrated bishops by the patriarch. Upon his return to Wales, in AD 545, David was persuaded by SS. Deiniol, Bishop of Bangor Fawr, and Dyfrig, Bishop of Ergyng (and said to be Archbishop of Wales) to attend the Synod of Llandewi Brefi, which had been convened to discuss disipline within the church and to stamp out the Pelagian Heresy. St. Paulinus of Wales had recommended his old pupil, since his six-foot stature made him ideal for addressing the vast crowds. The story goes that David spoke so eloquently before his peers that a hill miraculously raised up beneath him. Dyfrig resigned his Archiepiscopate in David's favour; and he moved the cathedral from Caerleon to his own foundation at Mynyw (St. Davids). The elderly St. Gildas is said to have disputed the appointed, but SS. Cadog and Finnian of Clonard ruled in favour of David. In fact, it is unlikely that an archiepiscopal see existed in Wales at this time, but David's monastery does seem to have eclipsed the influence of the more easterly church. A second synod, of Victoria, was summoned some years later, in AD 569, to re-assert the anti-pelagian decrees agreed at Brefi.
It was possibly around this period that David is said to have visited Glastonbury in Somerset. He had learnt of the abbey's great sanctity and wished to dedicate the building. However, upon his arrival, he apparently had a dream in which the Lord appeared to him and declared that he had already dedicated the church in honour of his mother, St. Mary. So, David decided instead to extend the so-called 'Old Church' erected by St. Joseph of Arimathea and constructed a more extensive building to the east.
David died at Mynyw (St. Davids) on Tuesday 1st March AD 589 and was buried in his cathedral, where his relics are still venerated to this day. He must have been extremely old.