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St. Cadfan
(c. AD 530-c. AD 590)

(Latin-Catamanus, English-Gideon)

Abbot of Towyn
Abbot of Bardsey
Born: c. AD 530 in Brittany
Died: 1st November c. AD 590 at Bardsey, Gwynedd

St. Cadfan was a Breton nobleman, the son of Eneas Ledewig (the Breton) and Princess Gwen Teirbron (the Triple-Breasted). As a young man, he was drawn to a life in the church, probably through the influence of his elder half-brother, St. Winwaloe. He founded places of worship in Finistere and the Cotes du Nord before leading a large band of missionaries to Western Wales with his cousin, St. Tydecho, and friend, St. Cynllo. His companions are said to have included: SS. Cynan, Dochdwy, Mael, Sulien, Tanwg, Eithras, Llywen, Llyfab, Tegwyn, Padarn, Trunio and Maelrys.

In Wales, Cadfan founded a renowned monastery at Towyn in Meirionydd, but later moved on to the seclusion of Ynys Enlli (Bardsey). The monastery he established on the island became a Mecca for holymen and royalty alike; and it is said that, not only his original followers, but some 20,000 further saints were subsequently buried in the Abbey's graveyard.

Cadfan's confessor was St. Hywyn who lived just across the water in Aberdaron. Cadfan died on 1st November, sometime in the late 6th century. He was succeeded as Abbot of Bardsey by St. Lleuddad who buried him in the Abbey Church there. Centuries later, his body was translated to a more fitting shrine in Llandaff Cathedral.

 

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