St. Maglorius of Wales, Bishop
Died 586. Abbot Maglorius of Lammeur, Brittany, was born in south Wales
and educated under
(f.d. November 6).
He was a cousin of
(f.d. July 28),
with whom he crossed over to Brittany,
where they became abbots of two monasteries. Saint Samson became bishop
of Dol, and on his death he is said to have been succeeded by Saint
Maglorius, who finally retired to the Channel Islands and built an abbey
on Sark, where he died
He is represented
in art giving Holy Communion to an angel and is sometimes shown with
Saint Samson of Dol. Venerated at Sark
More information about Saint Magloire:
Saint Magloire was born in Brittany, or northwestern France, towards the
end of the fifth century. His noble and pious parents placed him while
young under the tutelage of Saint Samson, his first cousin, who had
become an abbot in England, but had later returned to Brittany and
become bishop for his monastery of Dol, south of Saint Malo in that
region. Under this excellent master the young man made great progress in
the various branches of learning and in virtue.
Saint Magloire, after his ordination, was first made Abbot of a
monastery at Lanmeur. He governed that monastery with prudence and
holiness for fifty-two years. When Saint Samson died, he was elected to
replace him at Dol as its Abbot. Despite his hesitation, based on his
sentiments of unworthiness and incapacity, he accepted, but remained for
only two or three years; he was already septuagenarian. Then, with the
consent of his people, he retired to a desert, where he built a cell.
But soon his solitude was interrupted by souls who came seeking his
prayers for their cure or deliverance from evil spirits. A wealthy man
cured of leprosy, which had afflicted him for seven years, gave him at
first half, then the entirety of the Island of Jersey, which was his
property. There Saint Magloire built a new monastery, in which sixty-two
religious served God, and in their arms he died a few years later. In
the church he received the Viaticum from the hand of an Angel, and
refused afterwards to leave it, repeating constantly the words of David,
the royal psalmist: "I have asked but one thing of the Lord, and will
not cease to ask it of Him - that I may dwell in His house all the days
of my life." Great miracles were effected at his tomb, placed in the
Few traces are left of the Gallo-Roman period, apart from the reference
in the Antonine Itinerary to the island Sargia - probably Sark. The name
occurs again as insula Sargiensis in connection with St. Magloire in the
Sark seems to have been uninhabited at the beginning of the middle ages.
At least there is no mention of it in the chronicles. But perhaps it
population of pirates and wreckers was too busily engaged in other
matters to write down its exploits for posterity
The Cotentin Islands were under the jurisdiction of the Gallo Roman
province of Coutances, and after the advent of Christianity formed part
of the Diocese of Coutances.
In the sixth century, Sark was to discover her religious vocation.
For many years, in fact for as long as the raiders from the north were
good enough to spare her, the island enjoyed considerable renowned among
the Christian population of the Channel Islands and the Cotentin
peninsula because of St Magloire.
In 565, a Seigneur of Jersey, Count Lois Escon fell gravely ill and was
miraculously cured by the Monk Magloire, a saintly man of Wales and
nephew of St. Sampson.
As reward the Count on his recovery authorized the monk to undertake the
spiritual conquest of the archipelago in the Channel.
Magloire embarked for Sark, where he landed with 62 disciples.
Did he find the island uninhabited or did he have to perform another
miracle to expel the pirate occupants from the caves?
He built an oratory, cleared the land and sowed wheat. To grid the wheat
he constructed a water mill and small dam.
The mill is no more, but a stream flowed not far from the present la
Moinerie (monastery) and contained by I'Ecluse (mill dam) falls in
cascades down to the strand still known as le Port du Moulin (mill-
St Magloire died towards the end of the century, but sons of noblemen
continued to come to Sark from England and Neustria to study theology.
In 850, the Breton "King" Nominoe promised some neighbouring Monks land
on which to build a monastery, on condition that they brought back to
Lehon the relics of a famous saint able to save the King's soul.
So our monks set forth for Sark piously to steal the relics of the
Legend has it that Magloire was so eager to face the last judgement on
the banks of the River Rance that he lent a hand in his own kidnapping
by reducing the weight of his sarcopagus.
To bring the raid to a successful conclusion, a miraculous gust of wind
drove the pursuers back to their island, allowing the abductors to
continue unmolested on their way to St. Malo.
For the incredulous who see no miracle in this, let me add the
following: a few years earlier a brand of plunderers from the Kingdom of
the Denmark, and pagans to boot, had already made an attempt on the
coffin of St Magloire.
They were not after relics, but through long experience of robbing
sepulchres in Ireland and Scotland were expecting to make finds easier
to dispose of than holy relics
Scarcely had the top of the sarcophagus been raised when the seven
robbers standing next to it were blinded, and miraculously a dispute
broke out among the other robbers, ending with them all killing each
And so on Sark the time was spent in learning, tilling the soil and
Troparion of St Maelor
At the bidding of our Father Samson thou didst leave thy native Wales
to serve God in Lammeur's Monastery, O Father Maelor.
Having pleased God with the sweet fragrance of monastic struggle,
thou didst grace the island of Sark with thy godly repose.
Pray to God for us, O blessed one, that He will spare us
from sudden and unprepared death and grant salvation to our souls.
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content © 2008, Ambrose Mooney
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Page last updated: 22 October 2008
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