Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/St. Brieuc

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(Briocus, Brioc, or Bru).

A Celtic saint of Brittany who received his education in Ireland and then studied under St. Germanus said to be the famous St. Germanus of Auxerre. Much of what we read concerning his early years must be received with caution; indeed, Ussher asserts that he was of Irish birth, but it is tolerably certain that he returned to France early in 431, bringing with him St Iltud. Even before his ordination to the priesthood, St. Brieuc worked several miracles duly chronicled in his "Acts" (edited by F. Godefrid Herschenn), and after a short period spent with his parents, he entered on his missionary career. In 480, he settled in Armorica, and founded a monastery at Landebaeron. Thence he proceeded to Upper Brittany where he established an oratory at a place ever since known as St. Brieuc-des-Vaux, between St. Malo and Land Triguier, of which he was named first bishop. Numerous miracles are cited in the "Acts", especially his cure of Count Riguel, who gave the saint his own Palace of Champ-du-Rouvre as also the whole manorial estates. Authorities differ as to date of St. Brieuc's death, but it was probably in 502, or in the early years of the sixth century. He died in his own monastery at St. Brieuc-des-Vaux and was interred in his cathedral church, dedicated to St. Stephen. Baring-Gould says that St. Brieuc is represented as "treading on a dragon", or else "with a column of fire" as seen at his ordination. His relics were translated to the Church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus of Angers in 865, and again, in a more solemn manner, on 31 July, 1166. However, in 1210, a portion of the relics was restored to St. Brieuc Cathedral, where the saint's ring is also preserved. The festival of St. Brieuc is celebrated on 1st May, but, since 1804, the feast is transferred to the second Sunday after Easter. Churches in England, Ireland, and Scotland are dedicated to this early Celtic saint.

Acta SS. (1 May), I; BUTLER, Lives of the Saints (1 May); LOBINEAU, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, TRESVAUD ed. (1836); BARING-GOULD, Lives of the Saints (1 May), V; BAILLET, Vies des Saints; LE BARD, Histoire de Bretagne; CRESSY, Church History of Brittany; LE GRAND, De Vitis Sanctorum Britanniœ Armoricæ; O'HANLON, Lives of the Irish Saints (1 May), V; LELAND, Itinerary, III; GODESCARD, Les Vies des Pères et des Martyrs (1 May); Tractarian Lives of the English Saints, IX; LANIGAN, Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, I; PALLISER, Brittany and its Byways (1869).

W. H. Grattan-Flood.