St. Justinian of South Wales, Martyr
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
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."
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
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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