June 7, 2022

Saint Meriadoc, Bishop of Vannes (+ 688)

St. Meriadoc, Bishop of Vannes (Feast Day - June 7)

Saint Meriadoc (Meriadec, Meriasek), though venerated especially in Cornwall and Brittany, was probably a Welshman who lived in the 5th or 6th century. He came to Cornwall and founded several churches, one of which at Camborne was once dedicated to him. He became renowned in these parts and a miracle play in Cornish still survives, called Beunans Meriasek, recounting his legendary exploits.

He then crossed over into Brittany, where his memory is still strong. In the 16th-century church at Plougasnou is a reliquary containing what may well be part of Meriadoc's skull. At Stival is preserved what is believed to be his bell. Placed on the heads of the deaf and those suffering migraine, it is said to heal them. Some documents state that Meriadoc even became bishop of Vannes at a time when it was one of the most important cities of Brittany.

Meriadoc had been a rich man. Conan Meriadoc, the legendary king of Brittany at the time, wanted to arrange a political marriage for him, but he gave all his money to poor clerics, distributing his lands to the needy, and took up the life of a hermit. So great became his reputation for sanctity that he feared he would become vain and retired even further from the world. Instead of the silks and purple that he once wore, Meriadoc new dressed in rags, eating simple food, living in complete poverty. He would say: "Poverty is a remover of cares and the mother of holiness."

When his relatives tried to make him leave his new life and return to the world, he told the viscount of Rohan who had come with these relatives that he would be better engaged extirpating the thieves and robbers of the neighbourhood. The viscount took the Saint at his word, and a great evil was removed from Brittany.

He is reputed to have healed many lepers and disabled people, to have driven off the highwaymen of Josselin through prayer, to have made water spring from solid rock, and to have calmed a storm.

Although Meriadoc was unanimously elected Bishop of Vannes, he took the bishopric reluctantly. After his consecration he continued a life of abstinence and love for the poor. He died around the year 688 kissing his brethren and crying out, "Into your hands, Lord, I commend my Spirit".

Troparion in the Fourth Tone
O Meriadoc holy hermit, through thy simplicity thou didst draw many souls to God. Near the church of the Mother of God in Camborne, thou didst cause a healing well to rise. We glorify God Who has glorified thee.