Paternus of Wales

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(5th–6th century),

monk and bishop, probably from SE. Wales in birth and education. Padarn is principally famous as the founder of Llanbadarn Fawr (Dyfed) of which he was both abbot and bishop for twenty years and from which he evangelized the neighbouring countryside. He seems to have been more closely associated with Roman civilization than some other early Welsh saints. His dedications to the west, Llanbadarn Fach (= Trefeglwys) and Llanbadarn Odwyn and Pencarreg, are closely connected with one Roman road, and his eastern dedications in the former county of Radnorshire (Llanbadarn Fawr, Llanbadarn Fynydd, and Llanbadarn Garreg) with another. Padarn was formerly much honoured in Wales; the Book of Llan Dav testifies to the importance of his Cardiganshire monastery and from there in c.1120 was written a Life of Padarn which conflates two different saints into one: this Welsh saint and a Breton one who was bishop of Vannes. Feast: 15 April (including Gloucester and Malmesbury).

A. W. Wade-Evans, Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae (1994), pp. 252–69; G. H. Doble, St Patern (1940); E. G. Bowen, The Settlements of the Celtic Saints in Wales (1956), pp. 50–6; P. Grosjean, ‘S. Paterne d'Avranches et S. Paterne de Vannes’, Anal. Boll., lxvii (1949), 384–400.

Subjects: Christianity.

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