Who was St David of Wales

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David of Wales (ca. 512-587), known in Welsh as Dewi Sant, was a 6th century bishop and monastic founder in Wales and is its patron saint. He is also known as the Dewi Ddyfrwr (David the Water Drinker) due to his drinking only water and the founding of many holy wells associated with his life. His feast day in the Church is March 1.

David was born on a stormy night at or near Capel Non (Non's chapel) within a short walk of the present day city of Saint David's. The ruins of the medieval chapel are visible near the site, and a nearby well is still a site of pilgrimage. He was baptised by the Irish monk St. Elvis, and educated at the monastery of Hen Fynyw. After ordination, David was taught by the elderly monk Paulinus, whose blindness the young David healed by making the sign of the cross over the monk's eyelids.

He became renowned as a teacher and preacher, founding monasteries in Britain and Brittany (on the west coast of modern France), in a period when neighbouring tribal regions (that were to be united as England three hundred years later) were still mostly pagan. He rose to a bishopric, and presided over two synods, as well as going on pilgrimages to Jerusalem where he was anointed as a bishop by the patriarch.

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The Monastic Rule of David prescribed that monks had to pull the plough themselves without draught animals; to drink only water; to eat only bread with salt and herbs; and to spend the evenings in prayer, reading and writing. He taught his followers to fast, especially refraining from eating meat or imbibing alcohol. His symbol, also the symbol of Wales, is the leek.

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St David's final words were,
 "Be steadfast, brothers, and do the little things."

Great motto for Welsh rugby!

It is believed The Lady Chapel in Glastonbury, was first built by Joseph of Arimathea, who may also have brought his nephew, Jesus of Nazareth to England when he was a young man. With this in mind, this story regarding St David is interesting:

William of Malmesbury recorded that David visited Glastonbury intending to dedicate the abbey but while there he had a vision of Jesus Christ who said that "the church had been dedicated long ago by Himself in honour of His Mother, and it was not seemly that it should be re-dedicated by human hands."

 

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