Born of royal parentage about the year 497, Cadoc (Cymric, Cadog) was a leading figure among the monastic saints of South Wales in the early sixth century and the founder of the church of Llancarfan. He was probably a contemporary of David of Menevia and Gildas the Wise. He was educated at the monastic school of Llantathan, founded by Saint Tathyw at Caerwent.
The twelfth century Life of Saint Cadog tells us: “There eagerly flowed together, from various districts of the whole of Britannia, every many clerics to Saint Cadog, like rivers to the sea, that they might attain to imitate his wisdom and practice; for he always welcomed eagerly all, who steadily toiled in the service of God and paid heed to the divine scriptures.”
Cadoc made visits to Ireland to study in the monastery of Lismore, and there was a frequent interchange between Llancarfan and Irish monasteries. With the coming of the Yellow Plague in the year 547, Cadog fled to Brittany and established churches there. He returned to Llancarfan to rule as abbot-king of Glamorgan. In his old age he retired to Beneventum, where he died a martyr at the hands of a warrior who murdered him as he entered the church there.
- Adapted from The Oxford Dictionary of Saints and Celebrating the Saints (compiled by Robert Atwell).
O God, by whose grace your servant Cadoc, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Cadoc is commemorated on this day in the calendar of the (Anglican) Church in Wales. The choice of this date may actually be owing to a confusion of the British saint with a Scottish saint of the same name, commemorated on January 24. Saint Cadog of Llancarfan was traditionally commemorated on September 25.