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[GB]Saint Paul Aurelian, also known as Saint Pol de Léon

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MessagePosté le: Mer Juil 03, 2019 6:49 pm    Sujet du message: [GB]Saint Paul Aurelian, also known as Saint Pol de Léon Répondre en citant


Hagiography of Saint Paul Aurelian, also known as Saint Pol de Léon

Paul Aurelian is the patron of the city of Saint Pol de Léon (Castle of Paol), and one of the seven founding saints of Brittany (Bretagne). He is usually depicted accompanied by a small dragon, a joke which references to the episode with "Dragon" on the Isle of Batz. Below is told his story, as written on his death by one of his friends who was a monk:

At the death of my friend Paul Aurelian, perhaps writing his story with the feather and ink may console my desolate heart. He was a great man, certainly, who saved me from many evils, and if something can still soothe my pain, it is my memory of him.

Birth and youth

Paul Aurelian as he was named at birth - was born around 490 on Islands of Britain. As the Son of a warrior and the oldest of many siblings, he was destined for a military career. From a young age, however, he showed unusual taste for study and religion. He agreed to fight a young unruly dog, judiciously named Dragon, who plundered the household and terrorized the neighborhood. In the innocence of youth, he thought he could fight an animal, contrary to the advice of Christos. Later, Paul often had the opportunity to tell me how much I reminded him of that mastiff, not only by name but by my conduct. I must say he was right.

The Father of Paul, warned about the behavior of his son, laughed at first but scolded the child as well because we must not treat animals like men, but he also saw that the child had a lot to give, and agreed to entrust his education to a monastery. He could not have done a better thing.

Education and first steps in the clergy

Paul was thus able to engage safely in the study of the sacred texts and the practice of virtue. He had for classmates Samson, Brieuc and Malo, and wove with them a strong friendship which was to later bear many fruits.

On becoming a man, he expressed the desire to found a small monastery far from everything, with two or three brothers to keep one's company. His superior, however, who knew him well and knew his taste for solitude, brought him in to warn him. He clearly proved that this project would be like a hermitage: a cold, retired life is not good for men. Paul Aurelian folded before the correctness of this reasoning. Yesterday, after a lifetime of benefits, Paul still associated his old master in his prayers and thanked him for having prevented that mistake.

Departure from Britain, and the building of a dam

He never acquired a taste for higher duties and honors. Judging one day that his mission was accomplished, he refused to wear the green of the Bishops, and urged upon his superiors to be relieved of his office. He wanted to join a group of priests leaving for Brittany, and there continue his mission. The Superiors granted him permission reluctantly. Paul therefore headed to the coast, and while waiting for the boat, spent a week in the monastery where his sister was abbess. He used this time to build a dam to protect the nuns who were threatened by rising waters. It was a very short time indeed, for such a great and solid work, and I wondered about this feat that Paul told me. But he smiled modestly, and reminded me that with God's help, the most amazing things can be accomplished .

Eventually the boat reached Ouessant island, where the travelers built a small chapel so that the Almighty was not forgotten in this land so poor and sparsely populated. But Paul Aurelian remembered the advice of his former superior, and saw that they should not linger long in this solitude. So he left one of his companions on the spot with the locals, and the others resumed their sea voyage and landed on the shores of Leon, in a small village whose name is lost. They built a church. This village is now commonly called the village of Pol, in honor of the very virtuous man who was the priest who built the church.

The Bell

During the construction of the church, Paul Aurelian was visited by fishermen, who brought a big fish taken ashore for the lunch workers. You can imagine their surprise when they opened the belly of the fish and found a small bell. Paul Aurelian bent to examine and smiled as he said:

"This bell, he said to the fishermen, seems to me quite similar to those that the King Mark* had, and which was used to call guests to dinner. As I begged him to give me one, in token of friendship, when I left him, he refused me. Here one is, completely by chance, and I invite you all to share our meal. "

I do not know what he wanted to say with these words, or even if he missed a dinner bell of King Mark that night, but I know that Paul would have invited the fishermen to eat with them even without this event.

The Lord of the Isle of Batz

There was on the island of Batz an unloved lord, tall and strong, and so voracious that he could devour a whole ox in one meal! This is at least what they say. It was also said that he would willingly knife all who stood in his way, he was cruel, angry, proud, jealous of his wealth and his poor power. In truth, he deserved well the nickname "Dragon". I am ashamed to say, for this gentleman, it was me, and no one dared to face me.

Paul dared. Against the advice of the people of Leon, he stood alone and unarmed he faced the "Dragon" from the Isle Of Batz. Surprised at his audacity, and sure of my strength, I let him enter. What could this simple man, wearing a stole for a sword, and a book as a shield do against me who was known to kill with my bare hands? In truth, he could do very much.

I do not know how long he spoke. We forgot, I think, to eat and drink. When we finished my people parted on our way, not with fear, but awe, because I obediently followed the lean and simple man, and I wore his stole around my neck. And while I walked my lands, my eyes were opened to all the trouble I caused. Paul led me to the northern most rock of the the island, and as was my deepest wish, baptised me. I wanted to leave Batz and follow him, but he forbade me. I still had many things to do, he said, before allowing me to choose my path, because I had a lot of troubles to fix. So I stayed, and built a monastery on his advice

The Secular and The Regular

He also did not lead the life he would have chosen, even if he deserved it more than me. He often said, the time is not yet come. With the help of his old friends Samson, Brieuc and Malo, as well as Tudwal which he had met, Paul Aurélien resolved indeed to spread the faith to the region, and for that he preached and acted for the good of all. So they scattered to the four corners of the country from here.

While he had got rid of his penchant for solitude, his desire for monastic life had not left him. When he saw that what he had built was held good, he found someone to take care of the church of his city, and he retired to the monastery of Batz where I soon joined him.

My candle goes out, and the sun rises, while I end this story of my guide and friend. I already know he will not choose to return: his life was busy. I hear the laughter among our brothers monks muttering the old dragon has conquered his conqueror six days now, and I laugh with them, if I can, as a tribute. And when it's time, I would advise them to bury the mortal remains of Pol not here in Batz, but in the city he loved. I believe that's what he would have wanted.

Written by Dagon, a monk of the Isle of Batz in the year 594, and translated by Sister Elisabeth Kermorial in August of the year 1461.


It was thought advisable to specify the episode of the dam Paul Aurélien built for the nuns, just before his departure from Britain. In a letter to his holy brother, the sister of Paul, Mother Abbess Sicofolla wrote:

Do you know, dear brother, that we still laugh about the words of our sister Gwenna: "Girls cannot do the work of men!". She laughs at them herself, and it is often said that you were right to contradict, and to be associated with this miraculous endeavour. The Dam fulfills its purpose wonderfully. In truth, it is sometimes necessary to remind women that they are worth as much as men. Praise Christos, for doing so.

I should also produce a few words from a letter received from King Mark to Paul shortly after the episode of the bell, which confirms the assumption of Dagon:

I was very wrong, my friend, to refuse you the last wish that you asked me. I was so sorry to see you go, and I present my apologies. Moreover, the Almighty has punished me, it seems, because I now lack a bell in my service.

Sources have reported these words of Paul he addressed to some nuns who refused to build the dam, and by others to Dagon of the Island of Batz who wished to follow immediately after his conversion:

"We do not always do what we want, finally, what, in the end. "


The bell of Mark , preserved in the church of Saint Pol de Léon
The Stole set on the neck of Dagon, preserved in the monastery of Batz.

Feast : March 12.

Themes preaches :
- The duty and personal reasons
- The refusal of the hermitage
- Redemption of the wicked, example Dagon
translated into English by Cardinal Teagan in March 1462

*King Mark was a king of Cornwall about this time.


Cardinal-Deacon of the British Isles -Bishop In Partibus of Lamia - Prefect to the Villa of St.Loyat - Expert to the pontificial collages of Heraldry - Assessor to the Developing Churches
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