Illtyd and Christian Education
And Jesus went around all Galilee teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people. Mat. 4:23
Illtyd (also spelled Illtud, Eltut, and, in Latin, Hildutus), born about 450, was one of the most celebrated Welsh saints. According to the Book of Llandaff, St. Dubricius commissioned Illtud to re-establish the college, and the place came to be known as Llanilltud Fawr, meaning “Illtud’s Great Church” (Welsh: llan, church enclosure + Illtud + mawr, great). The school came to be known in Welsh by a variety of different names, including Bangor Tewdws (College of Theodosius), or later Bangor Illtyd (“Illtyd’s college”).
According to tradition, the college became very successful, and a number of Celtic saints studied there, including Saint David, Saint Samson, Saint Paul Aurelian, Gildas the Historian, Saint Tudwal, Saint Baglan and king Maelgwn Gwynedd. At one time, the college was said to have seven halls and over 2000 students, though the main source for these numbers comes from the Iolo MSS, manuscript.
St Illtyd’s Church, Llantwit Major, stands on what is believed to have been the site of the monastery.
One Welsh tradition has him as one of the three knights put in charge of the Holy Grail by Arthur, and another one even identifies him as Galahad.
He is remembered for the establishment of early Christian education in Wales that reached throughout Europe.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the dedication of your saints to carry out your work. May I be given the wisdom to grasp just a small portion of their knowledge, insights and understanding of You.
Grant me a portion of the flame that burned in their souls for you