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Died c. 590 (possibly 7th or 8th century); feast day formerly on January 31. Melangell is commemorated in some Welsh calendars. She seems to have been a hermit in Montgomeryshire, who later became abbess of a small community in remote Pennant Melangell (now Powys). Her church and shrine have been restored recently.

She is another of those saints who cultus flourished locally long before any vita was written; the only source still available is a 15th-century version that appears to have been based on an earlier source. Her story connects Melangell with King Brochwel Ysgithrog of Powys, who happened upon her while he was hunting in her neighbourhood. At that time she had been living at Pennant Melangell for 15 years after having fled from an unwanted marriage in Ireland. Brochwel gave her land for a convent and a sanctuary for the hares she had befriended. The saint is reputed to have lived another 33 years after this encounter. The text explicitly states that she was a virgin. She and Saint Winifred are the only two female saints from Wales who have Latin biographies. It ends with someone named Elise attempting to ravish the nuns and meeting a grisly end (Benedictines, Farmer).

Melangell is the patron of hares (Farmer).

Another Life of St. Melangell (Monacella)

She was perhaps an Irishwoman, though north Wales is sometimes claimed to be her native land. Her father was a certain king Cyfwlch Addwyn, who was related to St. Helen of Caernarfon.

Melangell fled from her father's court to avoid marriage and seek a life of solitude and prayer. In the year 590 she settled in a wooded valley in north Wales and used a cave for her cell. One day prince Brochfael of Powys, the father of St. Tysilio, came to hunt near her cave, accompanied by his hounds. It was not long before the prince and his hounds were in pursuit of a hare, but it managed to take refuge under St. Melangell's robe, and when prince and hounds came upon this holy woman, they stopped in their tracks; the hounds would not kill.

Prince Brochfael was so taken aback by St. Melangell that he asked her to marry him, but she said she could not as she only wanted to live her life for Christ. Later, the prince gave her some land upon which to build a monastery, in 600 A.D.; this place is today called Pennant Meiangell, in northern Powys. Here St. Melangell was well known for her kindness and saintliness.

Pennant Meiangell church has many things of interest. inside, such as St. Melangell's stone shrine (from 1170) which can be seen in the 'Cell-yBedd' (Cell of the Grave) at the far end of the church; this was also the traditional site of her burial. Two fifteenth-century wood carvings depicting the legend of St. Melangell and Prince Brochfael can also be seen on the loft screen. Today, St. Melangell is patron saint of hares, known locally as "St. Monacella's little lambs".

I was just reading your entry for St. Melangell (27 May) Whilst the story is sound, the details relating to the church are way out of date. The church has been repaired, and the shrine has been fully reconstructed. I know, because I have had the joy of visiting her shrine.
You can find brief details on one of my web pages:
or go to my homepage, and follow the link for "Pilgrimage to St. Melangell's church"

Troparion of St Melangell tone 8
Preferring the rigours of monasticism to worldly status and marriage, 0 pious Melangell,/ though wast fifteen years on a rock, emulating the example of the Syrian Stylites./ Wherefore, 0 Saint, pray to God that He will give us strength to serve Him as He wills,/ that we may be found worthy of His great mercy.

See two other Lives and other details for 31 January

Another Life:

Celtic Orthodox Church site

Woodcut of Saint Melangell

Pennant Melangell (with picture of church and surroundings)

Icons of St. Melangell:

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