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.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8 -- Feast of Saint Cybi

Cybi's well
Saint Cybi was a wandering Welsh bishop.  He wandered so far that you can find place-names related to him all over Cornwall, Wales, and even Ireland.  Even the Rhyd-y-Saint railway station -- the Ford of the Saints station -- is recalled as the place where he and his dear friend, Saint Seiriol met when walking to see each other.  The walk the two saints took to meet was notable since it gave them their cognomens. Cybi walked east in the morning and west in the evening, facing the sun both ways and earning the name Cybi the Tanned (Cybi Felyn).  Seiriol walked west in the morning and east in the evening, maintaining the name Seiriol Wyn (the Fair). 

Cybi and Seiriol, not to scale
As the son of Selyf, a Welsh king, he might have claimed his late father's crown when he returned from a pilgrimage to Rome.  He opted not to do so, but took to wandering and living a hermit's life instead.  He had a couple of disciples when he moved to the isle of Aran, where he promptly fell afoul of another hermit named Fintan.  [In certain retellings, Fintan is a wealthy landowner, but I think it is unlikely that a wealthy landowner would be staying on a blasted little island.]

One of the disciples had a frail constitution and survived only on milk.  When Cybi's calf wandered into Fintan's space, the grumpy hermit tied it to a tree and refused to give it back.  The cow then stopped giving milk, and the old disciple's life was in peril.  Cybi prayed for the calf's return, and the little thing walked back, dragging the massive tree behind it, roots and all.  Fintan prayed that Cybi leave the island, and sure enough, an angel told Cybi in a dream that he had to go.  Cybi, in his wrath, prayed for Fintan's destruction.  This was promised by the angelic voice, but the execution does not appear in the story.  I am uncertain how saints get away with wrath, but I guess they do.

As he was packing up, Cybi was challenged by Fintan to sail in a coracle that had no skin.  That is to say, he was supposed to sail the skeleton of a small boat.  Accepting this saint's challenge, he put to see on a bowl shaped skeleton of boards with nothing to hold the water out except the aid of the Lord.  Again, we're not supposed to test God, but Cybi traveled to Anglesey with no problem.  There, he took over an old Roman fort and opened a monastery -- Caer Gybi, or Cybi's Fort.  He died in the monastery in 555.

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