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Who was St. David?
You’re probably familiar with who St. David is, but how much do you know about him?
Did you know he has links to Llangyfelach? The Parish church dates back to the 6th Century, where St. David founded a Celtic monastery. It was one of twelve and was once a place of pilgrimage. Its Celtic Stones reflect the rich history of the site.
David was born somewhere around the year 520, on the Pembrokeshire cliffs during a storm. His father was Sanctus, king of Ceredigion, and his mother was a nun named Nonnita. Growing up as a priest, David earned the nickname Dewi Ddyfrwr (David the water drinker) as he only drank water and ate bread and vegetables.
He strongly believed that monks should live a simple life, but they were expected to work hard. Monks would wake at dawn for prayers before working the monastery and the fields. David was against using animals for work, expecting the monks to pull their own plough. They were also expected to stay silent unless for prayer or in an emergency. Although this may sound harsh in the present day, David had a charisma and holiness that people had a respect for, and so people felt it was worthy to follow his instruction.
There are many legends surrounding St David. When he was baptised, it’s said that a man was cured of blindness from the water that was used. He cured another blind man while he was schooled at the local monastery – his teacher, in fact. David made the sign of the cross to restore his sight, and because of his holiness his teacher sent him to be a missionary.
Another legend is that he is the reason for the leek being a national symbol. Saxon invaders were trying to take over Wales, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to tell apart who was enemy and who wasn’t. David suggested wearing a leek on their helmets so they would know who was Welsh, and after that the Welsh won the battle.
In the 16th century, St. David’s became a city – Britain's smallest one. This is because of its cathedral that sits on the site of one of St. David’s monasteries. Its city status was later revoked in 1888, but was reinstated in 1995 because of its Christian heritage.
We may never know the true story of St. David, but 1st March will always be a great time to bring together our Welsh culture.
Don’t forget our Eisteddfod is on Tuesday 5th March – make sure to wear your Welsh costumes!