Winwaloe and Piran

winwaloe

Two Cornish saints are commemorated this week – St Winwaloe on March 3rd, and St Piran on 5th March.

Winwaloe is often called a Breton saint as he lived there and founded churches in Brittany. However, his parents were Cornish and moved to Brittany to escape a plague.

He did return to found church communities in Cornwall.

Winawaloe is also known for founding churches in various places in England and Wales.

Piran is venerated as the patron saint of Cornwall (and of tin miners), and the Cornish flag is the flag of St Piran.

If you are interested to discover more about Cornish saints, take a look here.

Gool Peran Lowen, as they say in Cornish!

goolperan

The Celtic Year

CelticYear

The Celtic Year by Shirley Toulson is a month-by-month list of Celtic saints with recommended ‘pilgrimages’ to make in every month.

It is put together in a peculiar arrangement of pagan seasons: Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas.

But an unexpected delight in this book is the attention that the author has drawn attention to the fact that the very early Celtic church very much resembled the earliest, ancient Jewish Christian church, before it became influenced by more powerful forces.

Toulson also points out how the early pagan Celtic year resembled the Jewish year in many respects – a calendar based on the moon rather than the sun, counting the day from sunset to sunset rather than midnight to midnight, and the year from the autumn harvest instead of midwinter for example.

Additionally, the timing of the Celtic pagan festivals at the cross-quarter days, rather than the solstices and equinoxes of Anglo-Saxon and Roman paganism, are not far removed at all from the Jewish festivals. So when primitive Jewish Christianity came to Britain, as there is ample evidence it did, it would not have been an enormously difficult task to convert these pagan festivals to the new God of Christianity.

A nice, easy-to-read primer on the early Celtic church.