Illtud, St.

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One of the founders of Welsh monasticism; b. c. 450;d. c. 525. The earliest account of Illtud (Illtyd or Latin, Iltutus ) is in the vita by St. samson, written c. 610 in Brittany, where Illtud is said to have been a disciple of St. germain of auxerre, who ordained him priest. Later he established a monastery and school in Wales (probably at Llantwit Major in Glamorgan), and many of the great Welsh saints (Paul Aurelian, gildas, Samson, and even david) were said to have been his pupils. The earliest vita of Illtud himself dates from 1140 and links his name with King Arthur. He is honored in Welsh tradition for his great learning and for giving shape to the monastic movement of the sixth century. Many of the legends associated with himangelic visitations, the taming of a stag, his being miraculously fed from heavenare commonplaces of Celtic hagiography. But the account of his death in the vita of Samson seems to be an authentic picture of a saint of acknowledged holiness, surrounded by devoted disciples. On the evidence of a stone inscription at caldey Island, Illtud's monastery has sometimes been identified with that early Christian center; Breton tradition gives a prominent place to his work in that country, where he is said to have died, at Dol. We may suppose him to have been a man of learning, inheriting the Roman traditions of early Christianity in Britain, whose monastery was the training ground for the intense religious revival of sixth-century Wales.

Feast: Nov. 6 (Archdiocese of Cardiff and Brittany).

Bibliography: g. h. doble, Saint Iltut (Cardiff 1944). a. w. wade-evans, ed. and tr., Vitae sanctorum britanniae et genealogiae (Cardiff 1944), includes text of Latin life of St. Illtud.

[i. evans]