This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12 -- Feast of St. Paul Aurelian

Paol, with birds and beasts
or Pol de Leon.  Or Paulinus Aurelianus.  Or Paol Aorelian.  It is anyone's guess what his untranslated name was, since he was Cornish. 

The study of saints has been, in part, an examination of getting people to take the jobs that that do not want.  Usually this involves persuading some reluctant hermit to become a bishop.  Sometimes, this has disastrous results, as the men chosen have no administrative ability whatsoever.  Other times, their reluctance has been suppressing administrative talents which benefit everyone.  I guess Paul Aurelian falls in the latter category.

King Mark of Cornwall was one of those guys who show up as supporting figures in the Arthurian legends.  Mark was the jealous uncle in the tragedy of Tristan and Iseult.  He had attachment issues, I guess; he was friendly and generous to Paul, but when the monk declined to become bishop of Cornwall, he became grumpy.  Just before departing to visit his sister, Paul asked King Mark for a particular bell that he admired.  Mark peevishly refused to give it to him. 

That's a mighty beast to Pol's right
Paul's visit to his sister allowed him to establish a settlement at the village that bears his name in the Town of Penzance.  From there, he wandered on to Brittany, where he established a new monastic community and then paid a visit his cousin, Count Withur.  At their dinner, they sliced open the broiled salmon to discover that the very bell which Mark withheld was safely stowed.  You found the darnedest things in salmon back in the day -- rings and keys and even bells.  That bell, by the way, is still in the Cathedral of St. Pol-de-Leon, right beside a thorn from Jesus' crown and thirty-two boxes of human skulls. 

Withur too thought Paul would make a fine bishop, but he went about it differently.  Instead of asking him, and risking rejection, he wrote to King Childebert, requesting that he order Paul to accept the mitre.  The King complied and Paul could not refuse.  In his old age, Paul tried to retire, but a couple of his replacements predeceased him -- first Joevin and then Tigernomagle.  Paul came out of retirement long enough to long enough to prepare Cetomerin to succeed him.  That one stuck, so Paul got a few good retirement years before dying at one-hundred four years old. 

Going over someone's head to persuade them to take a job seems a poor choice, but it worked out better for Withur than for Mark.

1 comment:

  1. My next kid is going to ge Tigermomagle. Easy to spell and surely there won't be anyone stealing his identity.