Session 18: Ystafell 6
Seintiau a diwinyddiaeth / Saints and theology

Chair: Joseph Flahive

The influence of Lérins in the Insular world: context and transmission

Ali Bonner
University of Cambridge

This paper will explore the transmission of texts from Lérins to the Insular milieu, looking also at possible routes of transmission. It will discuss the content of texts such as Amra Coluim Cille, and also evidence in manuscripts, as well as specific collections of texts that may indicate an association with Lérins. The paper will also address distinctive theological standpoints and their presence in texts from the Insular milieu.  

Alcuin and the Virtutes of St. Fursa

Jessica Cooke
Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh (Galway)

Fursa was a seventh-century Irish saint famous for experiencing visions of the afterlife. Around the year 630 he left Ireland to settle first in East Angia,and then at Lagny in northeastern France. He was buried in Peronne, where his Vita Prima was composed around 656, and a second life was collated at Lagny in the late eleventh century. A third text, known as the Virtutes or Miracula, concerned with Fursa's wonder-working during and after his life, appears in ninth-century manuscripts and later. In fact, two distinct versions of the Virtutes exist, one often associated with the Vita Prima and a second included with the Vita Secunda. How did these two distinct versions come about? A ninth-century manuscript in The Hague, KB: MS 71 H 66, containing Alcuins' Life of St. Richarius, also contains a copy of the Vita Prima of Fursa followed by one version of the Virtutes, attributed to Alcuin by the Hague catalogue. Peronne indeed participated in the Carolingian effort to renew books, but was Alcuin, or his circle, responsible for reshaping an earlier version of the Virtutes of Peronne's patron, Fursa? This paper will outline the evidence. 

St Tysilio and the community of Meifod church: saints' cults and identity in twelfth-century Wales

Amy Reynolds
Prifysgol Bangor / Bangor University

Many historians have commented on the early medieval importance of Meifod church, few, however, have produced a comprehensive study of the native clas church. This paper attempts to fill some gaps in the historiography by exploring the importance of Meifod church and the promotion of the cult of St Tysilio in mid-Wales in the twelfth century. It will assess how the community at Meifod church created and promoted a dual identity as an important native mother church in mid-Wales, but also as a ‘European’ church belonging to the larger community of western Christendom without the need for a Norman intercessory.

The twelfth century was a time of religious change in medieval Wales with the development of a diocesan and parochial system and the spread of the reformed monastic orders. In the face of ecclesiastical change, the community at Meifod, like other Welsh churches, legitimised their importance through the promotion of the church as the cult centre of the local saint Tysilio. The paper will demonstrate this is particularly evident thought a study of the twelfth century gogynfeirdd poem Canu Tysilio which places praise for Tysilio amongst descriptions of Meifod’s majesty. The paper will also explore other multi-disciplinary sources including dedications and onamastic evidence, architecture and later taxations to demonstrate the extent of Meifod’s importance in mid-Wales.

This paper analyses how the community, under the patronage of Madog ap Maredudd, promoted Meifod’s importance both as a ‘European’ church, with the additional dedication to St Mary and the development of Romanesque architecture, and as a pre-eminent native mother church, by retaining the Welsh dedications and promoting the cult of the prominent mid-Welsh saint Tysilio.