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Vindictive Welsh Saints July 15, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Vindictive Welsh Saints

Gerald of Wales has the following to say about the Irish: This seems to me a thing to be noticed that just as the men of this country are during this mortal life more prone to anger and revenge than any other race, so in eternal death the saints of this land that have been […]

The Bearded Princess December 17, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Bearded Princess

A day of freedom: 77 exams graded, course readers prepared, translations refined, goodbyes given… It is all over, at least, until, in January, the whole merry dance begins again. In the meantime, Beachcombing thought that he would go back to an old love of his, some of the more unusual saints in the Christian pantheon. […]

St Andrew and Scythia June 13, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
St Andrew and Scythia

Patron saints have a strange habit of not coming from the countries that they are supposed to represent. England’s Saint George was Syrian, St Patrick was born not in Ireland but in Britain, Portugal’s patron saint lived all his life in northern Italy… Usually there is a logical enough explanation. St George, for instance, was […]

The Ass Who Became a Saint January 13, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Ass Who Became a Saint

Yesterday Beachcombing visited the doghead legend of St Christopher and today, in sympathy for that early canine holyman he thought that he would recount the remarkable canonization of an ass. The version that Beachcoming is about to give appears in a rather obscure but very worthwhile book: The Life and Adventures of Nathaniel Pearce (1831) describing the doings of […]

The Dog-Headed Saint January 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
The Dog-Headed Saint

  St Christopher is in many ways a typical early eastern saint. He was for many years a prisoner of war: check. He was a Roman soldier when he turned to Christ: check. His staff miraculously took to life and began to bloom: check. An angel – Raphael no less – gave him the gift of speaking […]

Saint Patrick’s Sinning Past December 17, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Saint Patrick's Sinning Past

Most saints begin life as, well, saints. They help their parents with chores; they annoy more normal brothers and sisters; and they make discreet enquiries into career prospects for monks and nuns. However, there are some – Beachcombing likes to think of them as ‘the rogues’ – who have more colourful pasts. Typically these men […]

The Buddha Converts to Catholicism August 31, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
The Buddha Converts to Catholicism

Dream last night in which Beachcombing was forced to sit and write an exam by his (terrifying) secondary school science teacher. The subject? Krishna naturally. Taking this as an omen of sorts Beachcombing has determined that today he will delve into Eastern religion and tell the scandalous story of the Christian saint Josaphat and his […]

Fasting Against God in Medieval Ireland August 23, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Fasting Against God in Medieval Ireland

        Beachcombing begins today with a reference to the medieval Irish belief – winningly surviving in parts of the Irish countryside to this day – that St Patrick not God would judge the Irish on the day of judgement. This makes for pretty awful theology, not least because St Patrick was expected […]