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5th century. Paternus was born in Brittany to devout parents named Patran and Gwen. His father sought Gwen's permission to go to live as a hermit in Ireland, and she brought up their son to be pious and godly.

The boy cherished the memory of his father. When he grew up he sailed with other monks to Wales to live as a hermit himself. He met the great Welsh saints, and humbly learned from them. One day Saint Samson (f.d. July 28) summoned Paternus when he had just put on one boot. Without delaying to put on the other boot the saint hastened to answer Samson's summons.

Instead of leading a solitary life, Paternus was called to found a great monastery. He chose a spot in Cardiganshire near Aberystwyth, Wales, that was later known as Llanabarn (Llanbadarn) Fawr, which means, the church of the great Paternus. Over 120 monks joined Paternus at Llanbarn Fawr.

He was a bold opponent of the pagan kings of the region, never tiring of preaching in the hope of their conversion. Once the evil King Maelgun accused the saint of stealing much royal treasure. Paternus is said to have proved his innocence by plunging his hand into boiling water and taking it out completely unharmed (Benedictines, Bentley).

Another Life:

The story of Padarn begins in Brittany, but probably did not end there, as we shall see. He was the son of Petruan and his wife Guean, but his father left his wife and infant son soon after his birth and went off to become a monk in Britain, moving on to Ireland to complete his training. As he grew up, Padarn wondered whether he had a father, and when he asked his mother, she replied, Yes, my son, but he Lives to God and not to the world. Padarn resolved that, when he was old enough, he would go and find him, and in about 516, he set out with a party, which included his cousins, to go to Britain. Some say that he spent some time with St. Illtud at his famous School, but at length the whole party landed up in the vicinity of Mauretana, the maritime area near Aberystwyth, and there Padarn built his first church.

When he had settled his companions, Padarn crossed over to Ireland in search of his father, whom he found, but could not persuade to return to his wife and home. After a short time in Ireland, during which he reconciled two Irish chieftains, he returned to his community to find it flourishing. He established a number of churches, but Llanbadarn Fawr was the most famous, and with Menevia and Llandaff was one of the principal religious centres in Britain. Padarn with Saints David and Teilo are called the Three Holy Visitors.

The Life of St. Paternus has Padarn accompany David and Teilo on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, after David had been visited by an angel, and tells how, on their return, the three divided the West of Britain into three dioceses, but this does not really tally with Celtic customs at that time. The Life was Welsh in origin, but was later doctored by a Breton ecclesiastic, who confuses St. Padarn under his Latin name of Paternus with two other saints, a Bishop of Vannes and a Bishop of Avranches; it is unlikely that Padarn ever went back to Brittany. He certainly spent twenty-one years in Wales and, as most saints of that period, had trouble with King Maelgwn of Gwynedd, but it was the Cornish ruler, Caradoc, who finally persuaded him to leave.

Caradoc was Lord of a principality in Cornwall, between the Tamar and Lynher, and probably gave his name to Callington in this area. North and South Pethwyn are in this region and are dedicated to St. Paternus. There is an account of a meeting between St. Padarn and St. Samson, which may well have taken place here, before St. Samson went to Brittany and became Bishop of Dol. The story says that Padarn heard that his cousin Samson was arriving on a visit when he had only one shoe on, and in his excitement, he ran out with one foot bare to meet him.

Among the Sayings of the Wise, Padarn is credited with the remark What a man does, God will judge and the Welsh tradition says that he was buried with the saints on Bardsey Island. The Breton history tells how, becoming Bishop of Guenon, he ended his days among the Franks, but his relics were brought back later and enshrined at Guenon. The diocese of Llanbardan was merged with St David's early in the Eighth Century (Bowen).

Troparion of St Padarn
Tone 7
Thou didst confirm the truth of the Gospel
by working many miracles, O glorious Father Padarn.
Thou didst accompany St David to his consecration at Jerusalem
and return with him to Wales.
Pray to Christ our God that we may be found faithful throughout our earthly pilgrimage
and may receive His great mercy.

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