Cadoc-Bishop, martyr and one of the chief saints of Wales

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Feast Day : September 25



Patronage: glandular disorders



Cadoc’s life was recorded in the 12th century by Lifris, a Norman monk at Llancarfan, and Caradoc, a Bretonborn hermit of Gower. Cadoc was born the grandson of Gwynllyw, a chieftain of Glamorgan; his mother, Gwladys, was Gwynllyw’s daughter. (Lifris gives the romantic fantasy of Cadoc as the descendant of a long line of Roman emperors, unbroken from Augustus.) He went to Ireland to study. Upon his return, he converted his parents, and they adopted an austere lifestyle. At Llancarfan, near Cardiff, Wales, Cadoc founded a great monastery and is said to have fed “daily a hundred clergymen, and a hundred soldiers, and a hundred workmen, and a hundred poor persons, with the same number of widows, and many guests besides.” Some of the most famous Celtic saints, such as Brendan of Clonfort and Malo, trained at the monastery. Cadoc then became a hermit on the Bristol Channel island of Flat Holm, where he was joined by a pupil, Finian of Clonard. According to lore, the rocks in the channel (known as “the wolves”) were wolves who had attempted to swim the channel to get Cadoc’s sheep, and he had turned them into stone. In the 560s, Cadoc went to Scotland and reportedly founded a monastery west of Stirling. Machan became one of his disciples. A church is dedicated to Cadoc at Cambusland in the Clyde Valley. Later Cadoc traveled from Glamorgan north to the River Usk. He also went to Rome (seven times) Jerusalem (three times) and Greece. At Jerusalem he visited the River Jordan and filled a flask with its water. He took the water back to Cornwall where he poured it into a healing well, thereby increasing its healing powers many times. St. Cadoc’s well remained famous for 300 years. Also, the well is said to have been created on a journey to visit St. Michael’s Mount, where Cadoc struck his staff on the ground and out sprang a well of water. Cadoc went to Brittany where he worked as a missionary. After his return to Britain, he was involved in the Saxon occupation. He was martyred by the Saxons near Weedon, England. Cadoc is the patron of at least 25 churches and chapels in Wales.

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