Ss. Fingar (Gwinnear, Guigner), Phiala, and Companions, Martyrs

14 December

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5th century; Fingar may have a second feast on March 23, or this could be a different saint. Irish legend recalls that Saint Fingar, son of the king of Connaught, was converted by Saint Patrick; however, he may have been a Welshman or simply a missionary in Wales. His feast is commemorated at Vannes in Brittany, where he spent some time as a pilgrim. His sister Phiala also left their native Ireland and crossed over to Cornwall with Fingar, but they were put to death at Hayle near Penzance by a pagan chief. Their attendants shared their crown. Saint Fingar is the patron of Gwinear in Cornwall. (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Montague, Moran).

The Church at Gwinear, Cornwall

The site of the original Celtic church is claimed to be at Trungle and would have been a simple wooden oratory in a round enclosure. That the present church site has Celtic foundation is strongly suggested by the finding in 1954 of the top of a granite churchyard cross built into the wall of the vicarage. the Christ-figure is depicted wearing a tunic showing it to be early Byzantine design, perhaps 9th century. It is now kept in the church window by the font. The ancient cross which once stood at Roseworthy is considered to be perhaps the most beautiful cross in Cornwall, and was removed in the 18th century for safety to Lanherne Nunnery, Mawgan in Pydar. The large cross which is now in the churchyard , near the main porch on the north, was removed in 1858 from a point about half-a-mile east of the church.

Troparion of Ss Fingar and Phiala
Tone 4
Heeding Patrick's preaching you accepted Christ as God and Saviour,
earning the wrath of your pagan father, O blessed Fingar and Phiala.
Preferring the treasures of asceticism and rejecting a kingly heritage, together with seven bishops and a godly host,
you were found worthy of the crown of martyrdom.
Therefore we pray you to intercede with Christ our God for us
that we may live only for Him and be found worthy of His great mercy.

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content © 2008, Ambrose Mooney
layout © 2008, Kathleen Hanrahan and Mo! Langdon
Page last updated: 13 December 2008
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