PAUL AURELIAN, saint, fl. late 5th century

Name: Paul Aurelian
Parent: Perphirius
Gender: Male
Occupation: saint
Area of activity: Religion
Author: Hywel David Emanuel

The ‘Life’ of this saint, completed in 884 by Wrmonoc, monk of Landdévnnec in Brittany, is preserved in two early manuscripts, the text of which has been published in the Rev. Celt., and in Annal. Boll, respectively. The ‘Life’ is divided into two books. Book i, which describes Paul's life in South Wales, tells that S. Paul, surnamed Aurelian, the son of a count named Perphirius, was a native of Penychen in south-east Glamorgan. He and his eight brothers lived in a district called ‘Brehant Dincat,’ which Doble identifies with Llandingat (i.e. Llandovery). At a tender age, he was placed by his parents in the school of S. Illtud, where David, Samson, and Gildas were fellow-pupils. At the age of sixteen Paul left S. Illtud's monastery to live a hermit's life in a lonely place, where he was ordained priest by an un-named bishop. Some time later, at the request of king Mark, probably a Cornish king, he left his retreat and came to ‘Caer Banhed,’ where he laboured to establish Christianity. Quitting this kingdom too after a while, he stayed for a brief spell at the settlement of his sister Sitofolla, and then departed to Brittany. Book ii describes S. Paul's work in Brittany, where his chief foundation was the bishopric of S. Pol-de-Léon. He died at an advanced age on the island of Batz. Though Wrmonoc claims to have based his work on an earlier ‘Life,’ he could have derived little of his material for Book i from such a source. The identification of S. Paul with the ‘Poul Pennichen’ mentioned in the ‘Vita Codoci’ is responsible for the description of S. Paul as a native of Penychen. A further identification of S. Paul with the Carmarthenshire S. Paulinus led Wrmonoc to attach to S. Paul traditions from the Llandovery district which appertained to the Welsh saint. S. Paul is named as a pupil of S. Illtud in the ‘Life of S. Illtud’ (chapter xi) and the Rhuys ‘Life of S. Gildas’ (chapter iii). Both 12 March and 10 October are quoted as his feast-day.

Author

Published date: 1959

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