Gildas the Wise

c. 500 – c. 570

Gildas was born in Scotland’s lower Clyde Valley and became a monk in Wales, possibly after being widowed. He also reportedly lived as a hermit on an island in the Bristol Channel, visited Ireland and had as his disciples such famous Irish monks as St. Finnian of Clonard, and finished his ministry and life in Brittany, where he founded a monastery at Rhuys. However, he is most famous as the author of “De excidio Britanniae” (“Concerning the Ruin of Britain”), a denunciation of decadent British rulers and clergy from the Roman era through five contemporary kingships. The new Roman Martyrology says he wrote “lamenting the calamities of his people.”

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