Saint of the Day – 21 May – Saint Collen of Denbighshire (Died c600) Welsh Abbot and Founder of a Monastery in Wa;es, Hermit. Also known as – Gollen, Colan, Gollen.
Collen was a Monk in Wales, Brittany and Cornwall. It is believedthat he travelled to Rome too. Collen lived as a Hermit in a small cave near Glastonbury Abbey.
He became the Abbot of a Monastery in Wales. The Welsh town of Llangollen (Collen’s Enclosure), is named for him, indicating that it formed around his hermitage and Church.
Collen was at the right time and place to be a transitional figure in the folklore of the region. There are tales of him slaying a Welsh giantess to save the people of Llangollen (the Church there still has an image of him in this triumph and of fighting a duel with a Saracen in front of the Pope. Stories have him being taken to the land of faerie but always as a Christian and always showing the power of God over the old ways.
Legend says that Collen was once invited to dine with the King of the Fairies; some say he was asked by a man, some say by a fairy and some say by a talking peacock; I cannot say. The Saint declined three time but finally accepted. Although the king appeared to live in an enormous castle, wealthy and fair, surrounded by courtiers and servants and seated before a table groaning under the weight of good eatings. Collen, however, knew him for the lying spirit he was. The Saint reminded the king of the fate of the Godless, then sprinkled holy water in all directions – in an instant, there was nothing left but an angry, demonic bird, flying away from the scene!
Llangollen is internationally famous as a beauty spot, for its Eisteddfod and the 13th Century bridge, which is reckoned as one the Seven Wonders of Wales. TheParish Church has been much restored over the Centuries but it still stands on the site of the Saint’s tomb. In all the Welsh Calendars, St.Collen is commemorated on 21 May but in Cornwall his Parish keeps festival on the Sunday after the first Thursday in May. At Langolen in Brittany, his Feast is held on the second Sunday in August.