St Gildas

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Abbot. Born around 500AD, near the Clyde, ancient chronicles describe how St Gildas became a monk after his wife died. He became a notable figure in Welsh monastic life. Many Irish monks came to visit him and he travelled around Ireland and wrote letters to distant monasteries.

In 540 he wrote his famous De Excidio Britanniae, mentioned by Bede, which gives a vivid description of contemporary British rulers and the church - both of which he had a very low opinion of. He felt the Anglo Saxon invasions came as a punishment for decadence.

Gildas had a fine knowledge of scripture, Virgil and the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch.

He lived as a hermit for a time on Flatholm Island in the Bristol Channel. But he ended his days on an island near Rhuis (Morbihan) in Brittany. Here he founded a monastery which became the centre of his cult after his death.

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