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A ‘Life,’ composed probably in the 11th century and of not inconsiderable literary merit, is the oldest authority for the legend of S. Brioc. It relates that the original form of the saint's name was Briomaglus, and that he was a native of Corotica — the Welsh Ceredigion. His father, Cerp, and his mother, Eldruda, both abandoned their heathen beliefs and embraced Christianity as the result of an angelic vision before the birth of their child.
When Brioc was a youth, his parents sent him to Paris where bishop Germanus fostered and educated him, and where, too, Brioc accomplished many miracles and was ordained to the priesthood. In his twenty-fifth year, Brioc returned to Corotica and helped to reconvert the region to Christianity. Departing from his native land some years later, Brioc crossed to Brittany and established a monastic centre at Tréguier. Only once again, in response to an appeal to rid it of a pestilence, did he revisit the country of his birth. On his return to Brittany, he founded his most famous monastery, which afterwards became the seat of the bishopric of S. Brieuc. The details related in the ‘Life of S. Brioc’ illustrate the traditional propensity for travel which characterized the Celtic saints in general, and the close relations linking the Celtic provinces together.
Brioc is the patron of Llandyfrïog in south Cardiganshire, and is remembered too in the place-names of Gloucestershire, Cornwall, and Brittany. His feast is celebrated usually on 1 May.
Published date: 1959
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