Infobox Saint
name=Saint Cadoc
birth_date=c. 497
feast_day=September 25,
formerly January 24
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church;
Anglican Communion

caption=Saint Cadog as represented at Belz in Brittany
birth_place=traditionally Gwynllwg,
in Monmouthshire
death_place="Beneventum" (see text)
attributes=bishop holding a spear, crown at feet, sometimes accompanied by a pig or a mouse
patronage=Glamorgan; Llancarfan; famine victims; deafness; glandular disorders
major_shrine=Llancarfan Abbey
(now destroyed)
issues=place of death (see text)

Saint Cadoc or Cadog (born about 497) [Strayner, Joseph R., ed. "Dictionary of the Middle Ages" (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1983) p. 6] , Abbot of Llancarfan, was one of the 6th century Welsh saints, whose "vita" twice mentions King Arthur. The Abbey of Llancarfan, near Cowbridge in Glamorganshire, which he founded circa 518, became famous as a centre of learning. The prefix of his name means 'battle'.

Cadoc's story appears in a "Vita Cadoci" written shortly before 1086 by Lifris of Llancarfan; [In Welsh it would be "Buchedd Cadog" or 'Life of Cadoc'; the text is Latin, however; for confirmation of before ca 1086 as the most likely date for the text, see below.] "it was clearly written at Llancarfan with the purpose of honoring the house and confirming its endowments," [J. S. P. Tatlock, "The Dates of the Arthurian Saints' Legends", "Speculum" 14.3 (July 1939:345-365) p. 345.] Consequently, it is of limited historical merit, but some details are of interest. He was a son of Gwynllyw (Latinized "Gundleus"), King of Gwynllwg in South Wales, who was a brother of Saint Petroc, but a robber chieftain who led a band of three hundred. His mother, Gwladys (Gladys) was the daughter of King Brychan of Brycheiniog who had been abducted in a raid, during which King Arthur acted as peacemaker. Cadoc's father later stole the cow of the Irish monk, St. Tathyw, and, when the monk came courageously to demand its return, the King decided in return to surrender his son to his care. Cadoc was raised at Caerwent in Monmouthshire by Tathyw, who later became a hermit.

Cadoc's monastic houses

In adulthood, Cadoc refused to take charge of his father's army, preferring to fight for Christ instead. He proselytized over a large area of Wales and Brittany. He built himself a hermitage at Llancarfan (now in the south of Glamorgan) that soon grew into a monastery, one of the most important in Wales where many holy men were trained, until with the intruision of Norman power into South Wales, it was dissolved about 1086. [The date was argued for by J. S. P. Tatlock, "Caradoc of Llancarfan," "Speculum" 13, 144-45.] . There was another foundation credited to Cadoc at Llanspyddid, three km west of Brecon, and he is credited with the establishment of churches in Dyfed, Cornwall and Brittany. About 528, after his father's death, he is said to have built a stone monastery in Scotland below 'Mount Bannauc' (generally taken to be the hill southwest of Stirling down which the Bannockburn flows). It has been suggested that the monastery was where the town of St Ninians now stands, two kilometers south of Stirling. Cadoc went on pilgrimages to both Jerusalem and Rome and was distressed that the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi was held during one of these absences.

At Caerleon, a Roman centre of Monmouthshire, the much-rebuilt church dedicated to St Cadoc, though of Norman origin, stands on the foundations of the Roman legion headquarters, a sign of the Christianization of Roman sites after the legions departed Britannia. It may memorialize an early cell of Cadoc's, although an old tradition suggests that, in this case, Cadoc is a corruption of Cadfrod.

Cadoc and Brittany

At one time, he apparently lived as a hermit with Saint Gildas on an island in the Bay of Morbihan, off Vannes in Brittany. There are chapels dedicated to him at Belz and Locoal-Mendon in Morbihan and at Gouesnac'h in Finistère, where he is called upon to cure the deaf. His name is also the basis of some thirty Breton place-names.

Cadoc and the kings

He came into conflicts with king Arthur, who is mentioned twice in the "vita", as great and bold but willful. The reference is of importance to those concerned with the historicity of Arthur as one of five insular and two Breton saints with claims to mention Arthur independently of Geoffrey of Monmouth's "Historia Regum Britanniae". [Discussed at length in Tatlock 1939.] The "vita" mentions a certain miraculous spot that had a healing effect until the time of king Hiuguel, ["usque ad tempus Hiuguel regis, filii Ouguenii regis [Morgannwg|Morganensium" (quoted in Tatlock 1939:346.] after due to a malevolent influence the spot has been lost; Hiuguel is the "Hywel vab weyn" who died in his old age, ca 1041-44. The date of Lifris' "Vita Cadoci", shortly before 1086, makes it a testimony of Arthur that is independent of Geoffrey of Monmouth's myth-making.

The kings Maelgwn of Gwynedd and Rhain Dremrudd of Brycheiniog also feature in his "vita". In later Arthurian developments, Cadoc, with Illtud, is one of the three knights saidFact|date=December 2007 to have become keepers of the Holy Grail.

Cadoc and Beneventum

In an episode towards the end of his "vita" Cadoc is carried off in a cloud from Britannia ("de terra Britannie") to Beneventum, where a certain prior is warned of the coming of a "western Briton" who is to be renamed Sophias; as "Sophias" Cadoc becomes abbot, bishop and martyr. A "magna basilica" was erected over his shrine, which visiting Britons were not allowed to enter. And a fictitious "Pope Alexander" is made to figure in the narrative. Tatlock points out that Alexander was an obscure second-century papal name until the accession of Pope Alexander II (1061) and that Beneventum in southern Italy became more prominent after it was traded to the papacy in 1051 and popes began to visit it regularly and councils were held there in 1087 and 1091; but "Beneventum" has been associated with the Roman town of Bannaventa (five kilometers east of Daventry in Northamptonshire) ["Certain innocent moderns, anxious to extract the uttermost farthing of historical truth from this yarn, have tried to identify 'Beneventana civitas' with some place in Britain," Tatlock observed and pointed out that the circular Lombard church in Beneventum was dedicated to Saint Sophias, "a scarce name among saints. The inference is obvious that some Welsh visitor to Benevento had found there some name or anecdote to excuse the attractive invention that Cadoc had been there and was Sofia." (Tatlock 1939:346).] on the edge of Saxon territory in Britain. This latter hypothesis proposes that it was overrun by Saxons at this time, thus explaining both the killing of Cadoc and the prohibition on Britons entering the town to recover his body.

ee also



External links

* [ The Church of St. Cadoc, Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire]
* [ Early British Kingdoms: St. Cadog Ddoeth, King of Gwynllwg and Penychen]
* [ Patron Saints Index:] Saint Cadoc of Llancarvan
* [ "New Catholic Dictionary"]
* [ Eija Kennerley, "Saint Cadoc's Church, Caerleon"] in "Gwent Local History" No. 50, Spring 1981

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