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Died c. 575 AD. St Cadoc (Cadog, Catwig) was one of the most celebrated of the Welsh saints, but the earliest accounts of him were not written till some 600 years after the events they claim to record. According to these he was the son of St. Gundleus and St. Gwladys, and was baptized by the Irish St. Tatheus, to whom Gundleus entrusted the boy's education, "in preference to all the other teachers of Britain", in his school at Caerwent. At Llancarfan (formerly Nantcarfan), between Cardiff and Llantwit Major, Cadoc founded a monastery, and then passed over to Ireland, where he spent three years in study. On his return he went into Brecknock, for further study under a tutor named Bachan; here he miraculously relieved a famine by the discovery of an unknown store of wheat, and at the scene of this find founded the church of Llanspyddid, which still bears his name.

Cadoc then went back to Llancarfan, which was the resort of many because of its fame for holiness and learning. We are particularly told that he gave his disciples (St Gildas is said to have been one of them) the example of living by the work of his own hands and not those of others, for "he who does not work shall not eat". His biographer Caradoc gives some details of the teaching methods at the monastery, which clearly represent his own practice in the eleventh century at Llancarfan, not Cadoc's. The monastery fed five hundred dependants and poor every day, and its abbot had authority over all the surrounding country.

During Lent Cadoc would retire from all this activity to the solitude of the islands of Barry and Flatholm, but always came back to his monastery in time for Easter. Another place of retreat, bearing his name, is now called Cadoxton, by Neath.

There is evidence that St Cadoc visited Brittany, Cornwall, and Scotland, founding a monastery at Cambuslang; and he is said to have been present at the synod of Llandewi Frefi, and to have made the common-form pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem. Very wonderful are the circumstances of his death, as reported by his biographer Lifris. Warned by an angel in a dream on the eve of Palm Sunday, he was transported "in a white cloud" to Benevento in Italy, where he was made bishop and met his death by martyrdom. Caradoc, too, takes him to Benevento, not miraculously, but by road, and says nothing about martyrdom: he died peacefully, and all the city accompanied him to burial, "with hymns and songs and lights". It is not unlikely that the actual place of St Cadoc's death was at Llansannor, a few miles from Llancarfan. His feast is observed today throughout Wales.

St Cadoc's biographers were both clerics of Llancarfan: Lifris wrote his "vita" (text and translation in A.W. Wade-Evans, "Vitae sanctorum Britanniae, 1944) between 1073 and 1086, and Caradoc his about 1100. This long-lost life by Caradoc, found in the Gotha MS. I. 81, is printed in "Analecta Bollaniana, vol. lx (1942), pp. 35-67, with an introduction by Father P. Grosjean. There are two interesting notices of "King" Arthur in Lifris.

See A.W. Wade-Evans, "Welsh Christian Origins" (1934), pp. 126-132; LBS., vol. ii, pp. 14-42;

G.H. Doble, "St Cadoc in Cornwalll and Brittany (1937); KSS., pp. 292-293;

J. Barrett Davies in "Blackfriars", vol. xxix (1948), pp. 121 seq.;

J.S.P. Tatlock, "Caradoc of Llancarfan" in "Speculum", vol. xiii (1938), pp. 138-152.

For the influence of Cadoc in Ireland, see J. Ryan's "Irish Monasticism" (1931).

From "Butler's Lives of the Saints," Complete Edition, Edited, Revised, and Supplemented by Herbert J. Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater, Christian Classics, a division of Thomas More Publications, Allen, Texas. ISBN 0-87061-137

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