Born near Penally by Tenby, Pembrokeshire; died c. 580. There is plenty
of evidence, both documentary and from place names and dedications, that
Saint Teilo was widely venerated in southern Wales and Brittany. (His
name may be spelled Teilio, Teilus, Thelian, Teilan, Teilou, Teliou,
Elidius, Eliud, Dillo, or Dillon.) He was undoubtedly an influential
churchman, whose principal monastic foundation and centre of ministry
was Llandeilo Fawr in Carmarthenshire.
Some facts are fairly certain. Teilo was educated under
(Dubricius; f.d. November 14)
and a Paulinus, possibly
(f.d. March 12)
through whom he met Saint David (Dewi). In his school
days, his fellows had suggested that his name was derived from the Greek
word for the sun and there is no doubt that in his later life he was
regarded as a shining light, illuminating and warming the Church in
We are told among other things that Teilo went with Saint David and
(f.d. April 16)
on David's pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and
with them shares the title of the Three Blessed Visitors to Britain. It
is also related that during the 'yellow plague,' so called
made everyone it attacked yellow and bloodless,
he went to Brittany and
(f.d. July 28)
at Dol. There they
big orchard of fruit-trees, three miles long, reaching from Dol to Cai,
which is still called after their names.
After the time with his friend
S. Samson at Dol, he was a guest for a while with Budic, a chieftain of
Brittany, who had married his sister Anaumed. After seven years and
seven months, he returned to Llandaff taking his nephew Oudoceus with
him, who was later to succeed him.
Through the prayers of St Teilo and of all the Saints of
Wales, Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us!
Much of the writing about Saint Teilo was composed in the interests of
the medieval see of Llandaff, which claimed him as its second bishop.
About 1130, Geoffrey (Galfridus), a priest of Llandaff, composed a
"vita" of Teilo in the form of a sermon. A longer version of this life,
altered to add importance to the diocese of Llandaff, can be found in
the "Liber Landavensis." Teilo is co-titular patron of the Llandaff
cathedral with Saints Peter, Dubricius, and Oudoceus (Euddogwy). The
last-named was Teilo's nephew and successor at Llandaff.
The Gospels of
(f.d. March 2)
(written in southwestern
Mercia about 700 AD) became the property of a church of Saint Teilo;
marginal notes show that in the 9th century Teilo was venerated in
southern Wales as the founder of a monastery called the "Familia
Teliavi.". The book itself was regarded as belonging to Teilo; the curse
of God and the saint is invoked on those who break the agreements
contained in it.
One of the wise sayings ascribed to S.Teilo is,
It is not good to
contend against God,
and he is reputed to have answered S. Cadoc's
What is the greatest wisdom in a man?
with the words,
refrain from injuring another when he has the power to do so.
saint died at Llandeilo Fawr the clergy there contended with those of
Penally and Llandaff for custody of his body, but eventually they agreed
to leave the decision to God. Next morning they found that the one body
had become three so they all could claim to have his relics. His
biographer makes it quite clear that he believes that the real body went
to Llandaff and was translated into the present Cathedral. It lies on
the south side of the presbytery, beneath a Norman window, with an
effigy of a bishop on top of the tomb, which dates from the fourteenth
century. The tomb of Saint Teilo, on which oaths are taken, is in
Llandaff Cathedral. It was opened in 1850. Inside it was a record of
another opening in 1736:
the person buried appear'd to be a bishop by
his Pastorall Staffe and Crotcher.
The staff disintegrated but the
pewter crozier remained. In medieval times it was the custom to take
upon the tomb of St.Teilo and upon all the holy relics in
the same church.
Outside of Wales, Teilo's name is especially venerated in Landeleau
(diocese of Quimper), Brittany. His feast is still observed in the
archdiocese of Cardiff and on Caldey Island
Troparion of St Teilo
As a fountain of the true Faith,
thou didst issue forth the life-giving
waters of salvation, O Hierarch Teilo.
Wherefore, we implore thee,
intercede with Christ our God
that our souls may be saved.
Kontakion of St Teilo
O teacher of pure doctrine, joy of monastics
and Dewi Sant's fellow pilgrim to Jerusalem,
where thou wast elevated to the episcopate, most pious Father Teilo,
we keep festival in thy honour, praying for grace
to follow in thy footsteps.