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St. Dubric

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(DYFRIG, DUBRICIUS)

Bishop and confessor, one of the greatest of Welsh saints ; d. 612. He is usually represented holding two crosiers, which signify his jurisdiction over the Sees of Caerleon and Llandaff. St. Dubric is first mentioned in a tenth-century manuscript of the "Annales Cambriae", where his death is assigned to the year 612. This date appears also in the earliest life of the saint that has come down to us. It was written about 1133, to record the translation of his relics, and is to be found (in the form of "Lectiones") in the "Liber Landavensis". It may contain some genuine traditions, but as it appeared at least five hundred years after St. Dubric's death, it cannot claim to be historical. According to this account he was the son (by an unnamed father) of Eurddil, a daughter of Pebia Claforwg, prince of the region of Ergyng (Erchenfield in Herefordshire), and was born at Madley on the River Wye. As a child he was noted for his precocious intellect, and by the time he attained manhood was already known as a scholar throughout Britain. He founded a college at Henllan (Hentland in Herefordshire), where he maintained two thousand clerks for seven years. Thence he moved to Mochros (perhaps Moccas), on an island farther up the Wye, where he founded an abbey. Later on he became Bishop of Llandaff, but resigned his see and retired to the Isle of Bardsey, off the coast of Carnarvonshire. Here with his disciples he lived as a hermit for many years, and here he was buried. His body was translated by Urban, Bishop of Llandaff, to a tomb before the Lady-altar in "the old monastery " of the cathedral city, which afterwards became the cathedral church of St. Peter.

A few years after the "Liber Landavensis" was written, there appeared the "Historia Regum Britanniae" of Geoffrey of Monmouth, and this romantic chronicle is the source of the later and more elaborate legend of St. Dubric, which describes him as " Archbishop of Caerleon" and one of the great figures of King Arthur's court. Benedict of Gloucester and John de Tinmouth (as adapted by Capgrave ) developed the fictions of Geoffrey, but their accounts are of no historical value. There is no record of St. Dubric's canonization. The "Liber Landavensis" assigns his death to 14 November, but he was also commemorated on 4 November. The translation of his body, which the same authority assigns to 23 May, is more usually kept on 29 May.

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