St. Kentigern Mungo
Many legends but few facts are recorded about Kentigern (d. c. 603/612),
who with his mother Thenew is a patron of Glasgow. Thenew was a princess
whose father set her adrift in a coracle when he learned that she was
pregnant out of wedlock. Some tales say that she was thrown off a cliff
into the Firth of Forth. She was to die for her sin. She landed at the
hermitage of St. Serf at Culross, and he raised her son, whom he named
Kentigern and called Mungo, "darling".
Kentigern became a hermit at Glasghu
(Glasgow) and followed Irish monastic customs. He was a successful
missionary and became c. 543 the first bishop of Strathclyde. When pagans
defeated Mungo's royal benefactor, about ten years later, the bishop went
to Wales, where he is said to have founded a monastery that became St.
Asaph's. Kentigern returned to Scotland c. 573/581 after a Christian
victory at Arthuret. He is said to have exchanged croziers with Columba;
in art, the scene takes place in a column of fire. Kentigern is said to
have died on the octave of Theophany while bathing. His tomb is supposed
to be in Glasgow Cathedral.
The most famous story about Kentigern accounts for the fish and ring in
Glasgow's seal. A king who suspected his queen of infidelity took a ring
he had given her from the finger of a sleeping knight. The king threw the
ring into the ocean and demanded that his wife produce the ring in three
days. The woman sought Kentigern's aid; one of his monks found the ring in
the mouth of a salmon. Kentigern returned the ring to the queen.
Karen Rae Keck
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