Stories of the British Saints

 

Stories of Orthodox British Saints by Bogdana Nekrasova

 

Virgin Saint Melangell, Abbess in Wales (†641)

Melangell was born in a rich family in Ireland. She was kind and humble and wished to serve God. When she was very young her father wanted her to marry a rich man. But Melangell ran away.

Melangell found a cave where to live. She slept on a rock without sheets or blankets. All days she prayed to God or walked in the woods. She made friends with many animals.

One day a Prince was hunting near the place where she lived. His hounds were chasing a hare. The hare ran into some brambles.

The Prince ran after the hare and saw Melangell. She was praying. The hare hid itself in her clothes. The Prince tried to blow the horn, but the horn stuck to his lips. The dogs did not touch the girl or the hare. Then Melangell bravely told the dogs to go away, and so the dogs did.

The Prince was very impressed. He said that no animal should ever be killed in the place where Melangell lived.

She was later called St. Melangell for her kindness and truth to God.

The Holy Protomartyr Alban (†304)

There once was a man called Alban. One day he met a Christian priest who was chased by the Roman soldiers.

The soldiers wanted to kill the man for his faith in God. Alban asked the priest to come and stay in his house.

When Alban knew the kind priest better he wished to imitate the priest in his faith and goodness. So Alban became Christian.

When the soldiers came to search the house for the priest, Alban put on his guest’s clothes and came out to meet the soldiers.

The soldiers thought that Alban was the priest. When they realised that he was a different man they were furious. They wished to make Alban pray to Roman gods. Alban said:

– If your gods make you chase and kill the best people, they are not gods but demons.

The judge ordered the soldiers to kill Alban. A lot of people who loved Alban followed him to the place where he was to be killed. There was a river on their way. Alban prayed and all those people crossed the river by treading on the water without drowning.

The soldier whom the judge ordered to kill Alban refused to do so. Then another soldier took out a sword and cut off Alban’s head. At that moment a spring of water started beating from under the ground. As soon as Alban’s head fell on the ground, the eyes of the person who killed him fell out of their sockets.

Alban became a saint because he had lost his life to save another person and suffered in the name of God.

Saint Brendan the Navigator, Clonfert, Ireland (†577)

Many people think that St. Brendan, an Irish monk, discovered America nearly 1,000 years before Christopher Columbus.

One day, a man told him about the Promised Land of the Saints. On this island day never ended. The rocks were jewels. Every tree had fruit which was good to eat.

St. Brendan and his friends set out on a rough boat to find this wonderful land.

The hospitable dog

They visited many strange places. On one of the islands a dog led the monks to a large house. There was bread, fish, and water for each of the visitors. Then they slept in comfortable beds. For three days, the sailors ate and rested. Except for the dog, no other living creature was seen on the entire island. Then they set sail again.

The fish island

Having reached another island, St Brendan and his monks stepped onto a stony beach. They collected a small pile of driftwood and began to cook lunch. But as the fire burned hotter, the earth began to move. What could be happening? The land

began to shake and sink into the water. Racing for the boat, the monks paddled away as fast as they could. When they looked back, they saw the “island” was really a giant fish.

The Celebration of the Easter

Many months later, St. Brendan told the monks that Easter was near. They searched for land so that they could celebrate the Easter holy day. At last, they reached an island. It was full of trees, grass, and flowers. The trees were so covered with snow-white birds that the leaves could not be seen. The birds sang so sweetly that St. Brendan called them his Easter choir! Easter was a cheerful day as the monks and birds sang together.

How the monks were saved from the beast

Far away from land, the monks saw a huge beast swimming towards them. The beast’s mouth was wide open. It swam so fast that it made waves as high as a wall. The beast came nearer! Suddenly, from out of nowhere, another monster attacked the beast. The beast was killed and the monks were safe.

Fiery land

Sailing on, St. Brendan and his friends found a land with many erupting volcanoes. So many fiery rocks were being blown from the volcanoes that it seemed as if demons were throwing flaming stones at the monks.

The monks saw places where sheep were as big as cows. Another place had grapes as big as apples.

St. Brendan and his crew visited many places before they found the Promised Land of the Saints. The land was so big that they could not explore all of it. They found fruit and jewels, some of which they took back to Ireland.

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Saint Kieran (Ciaran),

founder of Clonmacnoise Monastery, Ireland († 544) 

Stories and Legends of St. Kieran

Kieran and A Fortunate Fox

When St. Kieran was a young boy he used to shepherd the cattle. He could not stay in the house and study, but God helped him.

Kieran could hear what his teacher was saying, even though Kieran was in the meadow and his teacher in the house, far away from him.

One day as Kieran was watching cows a fox came from the forest. Kieran treated the fox kindly, so the next time it came again to see him.

Kieran asked the fox to carry his text of the Psalms between him and the teacher. The fox was pleased to help and started carrying the Psalms.

Once, however, the fox was hungry and it began to eat the leather that covered the book. As the fox was eating, a pack of hounds suddenly attacked him. The fox ran quickly and hid himself in Kieran’s robe. This is how, with the help of God, the book was saved from the fox, and the fox was saved from the hounds.

The Dun-Cow of Kieran


When Kieran grew older it was time for him to leave home for the monastery of Clonard.

Kieran asked his parents to let him take a cow as a gift to the monks. But his mother refused to give him one.

Kieran blessed a cow of the herd, and the cow followed him to Clonard. The cow’s calf went along with them. Kieran did not want to take both the cow and the calf. He drew a line on the ground between the animals. Neither the cow nor the calf would cross this line, and the calf returned home.

Kieran’s cow gave so much milk that there was enough for everyone in the monastery, as well as their guests.

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