Welsh Journals

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Was St. David ever Canonised? By the Rev. SILAS M. HARRIS. MOST modem writers on St. David round off their account of the saint with the statement that he was canonized in due form at Rome. When they particularize, they say that this was done by Pope Callixtus II about the year 1120. Often they add that David is the only Welsh saint who was thus canonized. This has been repeated for so long from writer to writer that its truth is generally taken for granted, yet no proof or reference is ever adduced for it. Hence it will surprise most people to be told that no evidence -of any kind exists for so definite an assertion. All such statements will be found to derive ultimately from Francis Godwin (1562-1633), who was successively Bishop of Llandaff and Hereford in the early seven- teenth century. In 1601, the year in which he was consecrated bishop of Llandaff, Godwin published his catalogue of the Bishops of England '(" De Praesulibus Angliae "), and it is in this work that there appeared for the first time the assertion that David was canonized by Callixtus II. Callixtus was Pope from 1119 to 1124, so the alleged canonization, if authentic, is to be assigned to one of those years. It is unlikely in the extreme that Godwin had any evidence before him which is not equally available to us to-day. Now no chronicler or writer from 1120 to 1600 knows anything of this matter of St. David's formal canonization. Even were there no other considerations to militate against its truth, the significant silence of Giraldus Cambrensis (1147-1223) would be almost conclusive against it. As is well known, Giraldus bent all his efforts to assert the independence of St. Davids and the Welsh Church from the control of Canterbury, and to show that it was immediately dependent on Rome. Hence he was concerned to give prominence to any act by which the Holy See had recognized or singled out St. Davids or its saint in the past. Yet he knows nothing of St. David's canonization. In his De Jure et Statu Menevensis Ecclesiae he collects every shred of evidence which would redound to the glory of St. Davids. He brings together in the De Invectionibus all the correspondence of which he knew between Rome and Menevia, but in neither work is there anything even remotely concerned with canonization. More striking still, in the Life -of St. David, written by Giraldus before 1200, although he adds some inter-