March 1: David, Bishop of Menevia, Wales, c.544
March 1, 2011 16 Comments
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About This Commemoration
Despite the overwhelming victory of the pagan Angles, Saxons, andJutes in the fifth century, one part of Britain continued in the ways of Christianity—Wales, the land west of the Wye River. In this last stronghold of the old Britons, the faith sprung from Glastonbury continued to flourish.
To the family of one Sanctus in Menevia there was born a son David (“the beloved”). Little is known of his early life, but while fairly young he founded a monastery, near Menevia and became its abbot. He was later elected bishop. His strongest desire was to study and meditate in the quiet of his monastery, but he was virtually dragged to an assembly of bishops called to combat the heresy of Pelagianism. Once there, David proved to be so eloquent and learned that Archbishop Dubricius chose him as his own successor as Primate of Wales. In time, David founded eleven other monasteries in Wales, and made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
He is said to have been strict in the governing of his own monastery at Menevia, yet loving in his treatment and correction of wrongdoers. One of his nicknames, “the Waterman,” may indicate that he allowed the monks in his care to drink only water at meals instead of the customary wine or mead.
A scholar, a competent administrator, and a man of moderation, David filled the offices he held with distinction. He became a leaderand guardian of the Christian faith in Wales. Eventually he moved the center of episcopal government to Menevia, which is still an episcopal city, now called Ty-Dewi (House of David).
Some facts of his life can be historically established. Among them is that toward the end of his life he had several Irish saints as his pupils at the monastery. In legend—and many legends surround his life— David is clearly the foremost saint of Wales. He is revered and loved to this day as patron of Wales, foremost Christian priest, and courageous leader.
I Almighty God, who didst call thy servant David to be a faithful and wise steward of thy mysteries for the people of Wales: Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the Gospel of Christ, we may with him receive our heavenly reward; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
II Almighty God, you called your servant David to be a faithful and wise steward of your mysteries for the people of Wales: Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the Gospel of Christ, we may with him receive our heavenly reward; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 2:2b-12
Preface of Apostles
From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
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We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?
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