St. Justinian of South Wales, Martyr
(Jestin, Stinan)

5 December

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Born in Brittany; died in Wales; 6th century. The nobly-born Saint Justinian was ordained a priest, then migrated from his homeland to become a hermit on the Isle of Ramsey off the coast of Dyfed in southern Wales. He joined forces with another devout recluse named Honorius, who lived there with his sister and her maid.

Saint David was so impressed with Justinian's reputation for holiness that he invited him to pay a visit and later gave him houses on the island and mainland. The 12th-century Saint David's manuscript tells us that long after, some sailors told Justinian that David was ill and offered to take today's saint to visit him again. Once they were at sea, Justinian realised that they were demons and recited Psalm 79. When he reached the appropriate phrase, they "flew away like black crows." Upon landing safely, Justinian found David in perfect health.

The devils tried again: They attacked him through his three servants. When Justinian urged them to industry, they were enraged, dashed him to the ground, and beheaded him. A miraculous spring with healing properties welled up at the place where his head had landed. The evildoers were afflicted with leprosy and forced to live in isolation on a crag known as "the Lepers rock."

Like Saint Denis (f.d. October 9), Justinian carried his severed head to the site where he wished to be buried. A church was later constructed over the spot. After many miracles occurred there, Saint David translated the body to a new tomb in his own church.

Justinian has been consistently venerated as a martyr in Welsh calendars. The church of Llanstinan (near Fishguard) is dedicated to him (Benedictines, Farmer).

The Shrine of Saint David and Saint Justinian

The modern reliquary is behind the seats of those attending services in a pretty chapel dedicated to The Trinity.

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content © 2008, Ambrose Mooney
layout © 2008, Kathleen Hanrahan and Mo! Langdon
Page last updated: 1 December 2008
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