West Vale Catholics - Covering the areas of Llantwit Major and Cowbridge in South Wales.
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ST. CADOC

Tradition has it that Cadoc was a native of Gwent, born in the early part of the sixth century, the son of Gwynllyw ap Glywys, a princeling of Gwent who founded St. Woolos Church in Newport.

It is thought that he was baptised as Cathmail (Cadfael) by an Irish monk called Tathan or Meuthi living in Caerwent from whom he received his early education.

He founded his first monastery at Llancarfan in the Vale of Glamorgan, and from there he went to Ireland to study for three years. Returning to Wales, he studied with Bachan, a teacher of rhetoric from Italy.

He then travelled to Scotland where he founded a monastery at Cambuslang. Back at Llancarfan, his influence helped it to grow into one of the chief monasteries in South Wales.
Statue of St. Cadoc in St.Cado's Church, Brittany
The image of St. Cadoc from the special stained glass windowOne tradition has it that he went on pilgrimage to Rome, but more certain is the knowledge of time spent in Brittany. He settled there on an island in the Etel river, now called L'Ile de Cado, where he built an oratory, founded a monastery and devoted himself to spreading the Gospel.

This monastery became quite important, although this may have occurred after his time.  According to legend, the island was invaded by some pirates who destroyed the monastery and Cadoc was forced to flee.

He returned to Llancarfan, was consecrated bishop and remained there until he became too old to govern the monastery. It is thought he spent his latter years at "Beneventum", the location of which is not known.
He may have suffered martyrdom there at the hands of the Saxons, but more certain is that after his death, his relics were transferred to Llancarfan.  The most important source of information is the Life of Cadog written by Lifris about 1100, which is the longest and most significant of the Welsh Lives.

Although the Life contains the numerous portents and miraculous happenings of the early Medieval tradition which were considered a necessary element in the accounts of the saints, it is clear that much of the material reflects genuine traditions.

This is underlined by the fact that Lifris was abbot of Llancarfan. In addition reference is made to Cadoc in the Life of St. Samson, written early in the eighth century, and in the Life of St. Gildas, written in the tenth century.

In Wales there are at least fifteen dedications to the saint apart from Llancarfan.  Some occur close to his monastery in the Vale of Glamorgan, like Llanmaes and Pendoylon. The greatest number are found in Gwent, obviously linked to his possible birthplace, but spread as far as Gower in the west and Llangattock in Powys in the north.
St. Cadoc's Well, Ile de Cado, Brittany
The special stained glass window in St. Cadoc's ChurchThey may indicate the extent of his missionary activities, but more likely it was his disciples and later monks of Llancarfan who spread his cult and founded churches dedicated to their founding saint.

On the third Sunday of September a major Pardon is held on the Isle of St. Cado, according well with the celebration of Cadoc's feast in Cardiff on 25th September.  Elsewhere his traditional feast day is January 24th.
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