A Forgotten Saint (at least in America) As we prepare to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, it might be wise for us in America to remember a saint who was as important to our Welsh ancestors as St. Patrick is to our Irish ones. I refer of course to Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, whose feast day is March 1. David’s mother, a nun, conceived David as the result of being raped by a local prince. Rising above this unhappy origin, David became bishop of Menevia, founded numerous churches, established his own monastic rule, remained active until he was nearly a hundred, and is said to have made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. According to legend, he was made an archbishop by the Patriarch of Jerusalem himself. The Welsh church eventually demanded a status equal to that of Canterbury on the strength of this story. However, popular imagination, captivated by David, went much farther, asserting, for example, that David had a horse that could run across the waves of the sea as easily as across land. David was also looked upon as a future deliverer, someone under whose standard the Welsh would eventually triumph just when all seemed lost. David is honored by Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican Christians as the patron saint of Wales, Pembrokeshire (where his cathedral, pictured above, is located), vegetarians, and poets. The connection with poets is interesting, because according to legend, David is related to the original Taliesin, King Arthur’s bard, who was said to be his half-brother’s foster son. It was in this context that I first ran across David while doing research for my first novel. Interestingly, David is also said to be related King Arthur himself. His popular stature is illustrated by the number of different contexts in which he appears. As March rolls around, let us not forget that cultural traditions are important, and that Saint Patrick is not the only figure revered by our ancestors. Saint David also should be remembered, and the daffodil should take its place beside the shamrock. Sources: The information comes from http://fullhomelydivinity.org/articles/Dewi%20Sant.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_David . The cover for Divided against Yourselves was designed by Michael Federman. All other graphics are licensed from http://www.shutterstock.com . The green background is copyrighted by Alina G. and St. David’s Cathedral by Martin Tomanek.