Monday 30 November 2015

Saint Regulus and the Relics of Saint Andrew

November 30 is the feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle and last week I attended a lecture by Scottish historian Michael Turnbull on Saint Andrew and the Emperor Constantine. It was a fascinating account of the links between Constantine's vision of a cross in the sky and the adoption of the saltire as the symbol of Scotland due to the celestial visions of a ninth-century King of the Picts. There is also an Irish connection in the legends surrounding the coming of the relics of Saint Andrew to Scotland, which involve the Irish saint Riaghail of Mucinis (feast day October 16). He was caught up in the later medieval legend of a Saint Regulus or Rule, said to have brought the the relics of Saint Andrew the Apostle to Scotland.  Nineteenth-century Bishop of Brechin, Alexander Forbes, recorded the legend in his 1872 work on the Scottish Kalendars:
The Regulus legend, as believed in Scotland, first occurs in the Colbertine MS. in the Bibliotheque Imperiale. There is also a legend, apparently of the early part of the fourteenth century, in the Harleian Collection in the British Museum, and the last form is that given in the Breviary of Aberdeen. With reference to these various forms of the legend, Mr. W. F. Skene has the following remarks :

"In comparing these three editions, it will be convenient to divide the narrative into three distinct statements.

"The first is the removal of the relics of S. Andrew from Patras to Constantinople. The Colbertine account states that St. Andrew, after preaching to the northern nations, the Scythians and Pictones, received in charge the district of Achaia, with the city of Patras, and was there crucified; that his bones remained there till the time of Constantine the Great, and his sons Constantius and Constans, for 270 years, when they were removed to Constantinople, where they remained till the reign of the Emperor Theodosius.

"The account in the MS. of the Priory of S. Andrews states, that in the year 345, Constantius collected a great army to invade Patras, in order to avenge the martyrdom of S. Andrew, and remove his relics; that an angel appeared to the custodiers of the relics, and ordered Regulus, the bishop, with his clergy, to proceed to the sarcophagus which contained his bones, and to take a part of them, consisting of three fingers of the right hand, a part of one of the arms, the part of one of the knees, and one of his teeth, and conceal them, and that the following day Constantius entered the city, and carried off to Rome the shrine containing the rest of his bones; that he then laid waste the Insula Tyberis and Colossia, and took thence the bones of S. Luke and S. Timothy, and carried them along with the relics of S. Andrew to Constantinople.

"The Aberdeen Breviary says that, in the year 360, Regulus flourished at Patras in Achaia, and was custodier of the bones and relics of S. Andrew; that Constantius invaded Patras in order to avenge the martyrdom of S. Andrew; that an angel appeared to him, and desired him to conceal a part of the relics, and that after Constantius had removed the rest of the relics to Constantinople, this angel again appeared to him, and desired him to take the part of the relics he had concealed, and to transport them to the western region of the world, where he should lay the foundation of a church in honour of the apostle. Here the growth of the legend is very apparent. In the oldest edition, we are told of the removal of the relics to Constantinople, without a word of Regulus. In the second, we have the addition of Regulus concealing a part of the relics in obedience to a vision; and in the third, we have a second vision directing him to found a church in the west. This part of the legend, as we find it in the oldest edition, belongs, in fact, to the legend of S. Andrew, where it is stated that, after preaching to the Scythians, he went to Argos, where he also preached, and finally suffered martyrdom at Patras; and that, in the year 337, his body was transferred from Patras to Constantinople with those of S. Luke and S. Timothy, and deposited in the church of the apostles, which had been built some time before by Constantine the Great.

"When I visited Greece in the year 1844, I was desirous of ascertaining whether any traces of this legend still remained at Patras. In the town of Patras I could find no church dedicated to S. Andrew, but I observed a small and very old-looking Greek monastery, about a mile to the west of it, on the shore of the Gulf of Patras, and proceeding there, I found one of the caloyeres or Greek monks, who spoke Italian, and who informed me that the monastery was attached to the adjacent church of S. Andrew built over the place where he had suffered martyrdom. He took me into the church, which was one of the small Byzantine buildings so common in Greece, and showed me the sarcophagus from which, he said, the relics had been removed, and also, at the door of the church, the spot where his cross had been raised, and a well called S. Andrew's Well. I could find, however, no trace of S. Regulus.

"The second part of the legend in the oldest edition represents a Pictish king termed Ungus, son of Urguist, waging war in the Merse, and being surrounded by his enemies. As the king was walking with his seven comites, a bright light shines upon them ; they fall to the earth, and a voice from heaven says, 'Ungus, Ungus, hear me, an apostle of Christ called Andrew, who am sent to defend and guard thee.' He directs him to attack his enemies, and desires him to offer the tenth part of his inheritance in honour of S. Andrew. Ungus obeys, and is victorious.

"In the S. Andrews edition, Ungus's enemy is said to have been Athelstane, king of the Saxons, and his camp at the mouth of the river Tyne. S. Andrew appears to Ungus in a dream, and promises him victory, and tells him that the relics will be brought to his kingdom, and the place to which they are brought is to become honoured and celebrated. The people of the Picts swear to venerate S. Andrew ever after, if they prove victorious. Athelstane is defeated, his head taken off, and carried to a place called Ardchinnichan, or Portus Reginae.

" The Breviary of Aberdeen does not contain this part of the legend.

" The third part of the legend in the oldest narrative represents one of the custodiers of the body of S. Andrew at Constantinople, directed by an angel in a vision to leave his house, and to go to a place whither the angel will direct him. He proceeds prosperously to 'verticem montis regis id est rigmond.' Then the king of the Picts comes with his army, and Regulus, a monk, a stranger from the city of Constantinople, meets him with the relics of S. Andrew at a harbour which is called 'Matha,id est mordurus,' and King Ungus dedicates that place and city to God and S. Andrew 'ut sit caput et mater omnium ecclesiaram quae sunt in regno Pictorum.' It must be remembered here that this is the first appearance of the name of Regulus in the old legend, and that it is evidently the same King Ungus who is referred to in both parts of the story. The S. Andrews edition of the legend relates this part of the story much more circumstantially. According to it, Regulus was warned by the angel to sail with the relics towards the north, and wherever his vessel was wrecked, there to erect a church in honour of S. Andrew. He voyages among the islands of the Greek sea for a year and a half, and wherever he lands he erects an oratory in honour of S. Andrew. At length he lands in 'terra Pictorum ad locum qui Muckros fuerat nuncupatus, nunc autem Kilrymont dictus; and his vessel having been wrecked he erects a cross he had brought from Patras. After remaining there seventeen days or nights, Regulus goes with the relics to Forteviot, and finds there the three sons of King Hungus, viz. Owen, Nectan, and Finguine, who, being anxious as to the life of their father, then on an expedition ' in partibus Argatheliae,' give the tenth part of Forteviot to God and S. Andrew. They then go to a place called 'Moneclatu, qui nunc dicitur Monichi,' and there Finchem, the queen of King Hungus, is delivered of a daughter called Mowren, who was afterwards buried at Kilrymont; and the queen gives the place to God and S. Andrew. They then cross the mountain called Moneth, and reach a place called 'Doldancha, nunc autem dictus Chondrochedalvan,' where they meet King Hungus returning from his expedition, who prostrates himself before the relics, and this place is also given to God and S. Andrew. They return across the Moneth to Monichi, where a church was built in honour of God and the apostle, and thence to Forteviot, where a church is also built. King Hungus then goes with the clergy to Kilrymont, when a great part of that place is given to build churches and oratories, and a large territory is given as parochia. The boundaries of this parochia can still be traced, and consisted of that part of Fife lying to the east of a line drawn from Largs to Nauchton. Within this line was the district called the Boar's Chase, containing the modern parishes of S. Andrews, Cameron, Dairsie, Kemback, Ceres, Denino, and Kingsmuir; and besides this district, the following parishes were included in the parochia,—viz. Crail, Kiagsbams, Anstruther, Abercromby, S. Monance, Kelly, Elie, Newburgh, Largo, Leuchars, Forgan, and Logie-Murdoch.

" It is impossible to doubt that there is a historic basis of some kind for this part of the legend. The circumstantial character of the narrative is of a kind not likely to be invented. The place beyond the Moneth or Grampians, called Chondrochedalvan, is plainly the church of Kindrochet in Braemar, which was dedicated to St. Andrew. Monichi is probably not Monikie in Forfarshire, as that church was in the diocese of Brechin, but a church called Eglis Monichti, now in the parish of Monifieth, which was in the diocese of S. Andrews, and Forteviot was also in the diocese of S. Andrews.

"According to the account in the Breviary, Regulus, after the relics had been removed to Constantinople, takes the portion he had concealed, and sails with them for two years till he arrives 'ad terram Scottorum,' where he lands and enters the 'nemus porcorum,' and there builds a church, and preaches to the neighbouring people far and wide. Hungus, king of the Picts, sees a company of angels hover over the relics of the apostle, and comes with his army to Regulus, who baptizes him with all his servants, and receives a grant of the land, which is set apart to be the chief seat and mother church of Scotland."—(Skene's Notice of the Early Ecclesiastical Settlements at S. Andrews, in Proceedings Soc. Antiq. Scot. vol. iv. pp. 301-307.)

Alexander Penrose Forbes, D.C.L. Bishop of Brechin, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, (1872), 437-440.

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