The following is a brief overview of The Stone of Destiny: In Search of the Truth Buy the eBook and read the complete story

Chapter 4
The Coming of the Patron Saint
 

Introduction
Chapter 1 – Events Leading up to the Theft
Chapter 2 – The Legend: From Bethel to Scone
Chapter 3 – A Potted Pre-History of Scotland
Chapter 4 – The Coming of the Patron Saint
Chapter 5 – St Fillan & Bannockburn
Chapter 6 – The Stone of Destiny?
Chapter 7 – Finding the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel
Chapter 8 – Destiny in the 21st Century
Conclusions 

In Scotland, the Celtic saints that had preached to and converted the nation to Christianity were not recognised by either England or Rome as legitimate saints, as they had not been canonised by the Pope. It was not until Queen Margaret was canonised in 1251 by the Roman Catholic Pope Innocent IV that Scotland was to receive its first ‘official’ saint. The person behind this petitioning was David Bernham, royal client, confidante and Bishop of St Andrews in Fife, who spent five years putting forth the cause of Queen Margaret for canonising. Bernham also bore the title of Episcopus Scottorum (Bishop of the Scots), which gives us an indication of the power that he must have held. Today, we all know that St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, but for what reason was this saint chosen above all others and why was the town of St Andrews named after him?

Situated on the east coast of Scotland, St Andrews is said to have become a bishopric in 908 following the Pictish and Scottish church merger under King Kenneth McAlpin in 843, who made it the seat of the High Bishop of Scotland. This positioned St Andrews as the centre of the Celtic church, and therefore the most important religious site in Scotland. St Andrews is said to be named after the apostle and martyr of the same name, who was the brother of Simon Peter, the founder of the Church of Rome. Andrew is sometimes known as the first apostle, and was an apostle of John the Baptist before becoming a follower of Christ.

As was the custom in the medieval period, there were relics attributed to the saint that pilgrims could see, and pray to, in the hope that their prayers would be answered by the saint, thus taking them closer to God. The relics of St Andrew were kept in a jewelled box called the ‘Mor Breac’, which was said to have contained a tooth, a kneecap, three fingers from the right hand and an arm bone. The relics were still in use during the 13th century, but are lost to us today, most likely as a result of the reformation movement. The founding of the town of St Andrews is intimately tied to these relics and a 4th century Greek Monk called Regulus, also known as Rule.

Saint Regulus had a dream where he saw Emperor Constantine removing the bones of Andrew from Patras, in Greece, to Constantinople. In his dream, Regulus was told by an angel to take the bones to the far ends of the earth for safekeeping. Seeing this as his destiny to fulfil, Regulus did as the angel commanded and set sail to an unknown destination. During the voyage, his ship crashed into the coast of Fife, Scotland, and so he could go no further. He met with the Pictish King Oengus mac Fergusa and told him of his mission. Being suitably impressed by the story, King Oengus granted Regulus the land that is today called St Andrews.

Originally, the site was known as Kinrymont or Kirymont or even Cell Rigmonaid meaning ‘the church at the king’s monad’, suggesting that the area is more likely to have been a Pictish royal centre, with a Culdee church pre-dating the arrival of the relics of St Andrew.

During the reign of King Alexander I (1107-1124), there was a need to reform the Scottish/Celtic church in order to bring it into line with Rome. Alexander responded to this need by founding new bishoprics with full papal sanction all over Scotland and even upgraded some of the old Celtic bishoprics. Each site had to be consecrated by an established Bishop recognised by Rome, of which Scotland had none at the time, so the question of who would consecrate the Bishop of Kirymont raised concern, as this was the chief seat of the Celtic Church. The only realistic contenders were the Archbishops of York and Canterbury from England, but if either of these were to consecrate the Bishop of Kirymont it would effectively mean that a Bishop from England would have supremacy over the head Bishop of Scotland. In other words, every church in Scotland would be subservient to the church in England. This proposition was understandably disliked by Alexander, who knew very well that Scotland had an unbroken tradition of Christianity dating back to when Canterbury was still a pagan capital, and York a Roman ruin. However, after much debating between Alexander, the Pope and the Archbishops, it was decided that the Archbishop of York would be allowed to consecrate the first Bishop of Kirymont, who was a Saxon man named Turgot and who had been the confessor to Queen Margaret of Scotland during her reign. Turgot was followed by another Saxon called Eadmer, who publicly made the claim that the Archbishop of Canterbury should have primacy over every church throughout the British Isles; which brought all of the old arguments back to the fore.

Alexander saw Eadmer as trouble and intervened so that he could not continue his position as Bishop. This battle between the churches and the King of Scots continued with appeals to Rome from all sides until eventually the Pope made each of Scotland’s churches a ‘Special Daughter’ of Rome. In other words, the Scots church now answered only to Rome, which was not to the liking of the Church in England, but they had to accept it, as they had no real choice in the matter.

With the Celtic saints not being officially recognised by Rome or England, Scotland really needed something, or someone to call their own which would give them precedence over England. In their plight, the Scots were prepared to show a united front with Rome and her beliefs, being willingly prepared to distance themselves from anything that even hinted at separation from the Church.

The National Archives of Scotland tell us that:

The Regulus legend was publicised by Scottish kings, nobles and churchmen from the 12th century onwards for political reasons. Scottish independence had come under threat from England since the late 11th century, and the Scottish Church was contesting a claim to primacy by the Archbishop of York. In the medieval world precedence was important. By promoting the story of Saint Andrew’s choice of Scotland in the 4th century, the Scots acquired a top-rank patron saint, a separate identity from England and a date for Christianity by several centuries.

People and political traits rarely change, if at all, and smear campaigns against the opposition were just as vehement 700 years ago as they are today. Towards the end of the 13th century, Scotland was desperately trying to maintain her political and religious independence from England, and specifically from Edward I who was using any and every claim from the preceding centuries to ‘prove’ the legitimacy of his Overlordship of Scotland.

At this time, England had St Edmund as her patron saint, who was far behind St Andrew in the rankings of popularity and therefore closeness to God. Only three more people from the Christian line-up could rank higher than St Andrew and that would be Jesus, the Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist. The cult of St George, patron saint of Soldiers/Warriors, arrived in England after a Crusade of the 12th century, but it was only during the reign of King Edward III (1327-1377) that he replaced St Edmund as the patron saint of England. It would seem that the holy patrons and protectors of countries could be changed at will and without the need of God or the Papacy’s approval, and by choosing St Andrew as her patron saint, Scotland was making her position loud and clear to England.

At the end of the 11th century it was still the Celtic Saints, notably St Columba, who had the biggest following in Scotland, and yet it was St Andrew who became her patron saint. St Andrew could be used as a shield by the Scots against the English claims of Overlordship coming from both their crown and church. The main problem with St Columba or any of the other Celtic saints is just that: they were Celtic and therefore not ‘Christian’ in the Roman sense of the word.

It was not until the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 that St Andrew is openly proclaimed as the patron saint of Scotland, and it therefore becomes very interesting to learn that on the eve of the Battle of Bannockburn, just four year prior in 1314, King Robert the Bruce demanded two sets of relics to be brought before the troops and prayed to for victory. The first were the relics of St Columba, carried in the Breac Bannoch, or Monymusk Reliquary, and the second was a relic of a lesser-known saint to us today, but potentially he is the most important saint in Scottish history – St Fillan. Some of his relics are still with us and it has been claimed that his cult had no choice but to vanish from history soon after 1296 and the stealing of the Stone of Destiny by Edward I. So who was St Fillan, and why were the Scots so keen to keep him from the pages of legendary history?


 

Buy The Stone of Destiny as an eBook

Introduction
Chapter 1 – Events Leading up to the Theft
Chapter 2 – The Legend: From Bethel to Scone
Chapter 3 – A Potted Pre-History of Scotland
Chapter 4 – The Coming of the Patron Saint
Chapter 5 – St Fillan & Bannockburn
Chapter 6 – The Stone of Destiny?
Chapter 7 – Finding the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel
Chapter 8 – Destiny in the 21st Century
Conclusions  

 Copyright © 2007-2011 Mark Naples & David Bews

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