The Synod of Brefi

Senedd Brefi

The Synod of Brefi

Diau mai hanes Senedd Brefi yw uchafbwynt stori Rhigyfarch. Mae Dewi wedi cyrraedd y swydd uchaf un, wedi ci gymeradwyo gan bawb, ei ddyrchafu’n archesgob a’i fynachlog yn cael ei chydnabod yn fetropolis yr holl wlad, a’i holl olynwyr i’w cydnabod dros byth yn archesgobion. Dylem felly edrych ar y rhan yma o stori Rhigyfarch yn lled fanwl gan y dichon i ni fod yn dystion i ddigwyddiad tra phwysig nid yn unig ym mywyd Dewi ei hunan ond yn holl hanes Cymru. Rhaid archwilio’r hanes yn ofalus a gweld yn arbennig i ba raddau’r galiwn ei dderbyn fel cofnod o ddigwyddiad a all fod yn hanesyddol. Mae’r darnau perthnasol o waith Rhigyfarch sy’n ymwneud â’r Senedd i’w cael mewn pedwar paragraff (a elwir yn aml yn benodau) yn ei lyfr, sef paragraffau 49, 50, 52 a 53. Yn gyntaf, fe roddir cyfieithiad rhydd o destun Lladin y paragraffau dan sylw ac esboniad beirniadol ar y materion sy’n cael eu cynnwys wedi hynny.

The account of the Synod of Brefi is clearly the climax of Rhigyfarch's narrative. David has reached the highest office. He is acclaimed by all and made Archbishop, his monastery declared the metropolis of the whole country, and his successors there accounted archbishops thereafter. It is clear, therefore, that we should examine this part of Rhigyfarch's story in some detail as we may be witnessing a very important event not only in the life of St. David himself but in the history of the whole of Wales. It is necessary to examine the narrative closely and particularly to see to what extent we are able to accept it as a record of a possible historical occurrence. The relevant portions of Rhigyfarch's work dealing with the Synod in progress cover four paragraphs (often called chapters) of his text. They are Chapters 49 and 50 and Chapters 52 and 53. First of all a free translation of the Latin text of the relevant chapters will be given, followed by a critical commentary on the matter they contain. The English translation of the original is that by the Rev. A. W. Wade-Evans published in 1923 which is completely adequate for our purposes.

Dyma grynodeb o gynnwys penodau 49 a 50 sy’n son am y rhannau rhagarweiniol:

Gan fod heresi Pelagius, er gwaethaf cymorth Sant Garmon yr eildro, yn codi ei ben eto -ân chwistrellu ynni ei styfnigrwydd, fel gwenwyn marwol sarff, i berfeddion gwlad, mae senedd gyffredinol o holl esgobion Prydain yn cael ei gwiw. Felly, a chant a deunaw o esgobion wedi ymgynnull ynghyd, fe ddaeth torf aneirif o bresbyteriaid, abadau ac eraill. Brenhinoedd. Tywysogion, lleygwyr, gwr a gwragedd fel bo’r fyddin enfawr hon yn gorchuddio’r lleoedd o gwmpas. Mae’r esgobion yn sibrwd yng nghlustiau ei gilydd gan ddweud, Mor lluosog yw’r dorf fel na all llais utgorn, chwaethach llais dyn, seinio yng nghlustiau pawb. Ac felly ni fyddir yn mennu ar (neu fe gythruddir) y bobl gan y pregethu ac fe gludant yr haint hereticaidd gyda hwy wrth ddychwel tuag adre. Trefnir felly i bregethu i’r bobl fel hyn: fe bentyrrir cruglwyth o ddillad ar dir uchel er mwyn sefyll a phregethu oddi uchod: a phwy bynnag a gynysgaeddid ar ddawn ymadrodd fel y clywid ci araith gan glustiau’r sawl a safai o hirbell, hwnnw ddylid ei wneud yn archesgob ar y wlad drwy gydsyniad pawb. Yna, yn y man apwyntiedig, a’i enw Brefi, ceisiant bregethu ar dwr dyrchafedig o ddillad ond prin y mae llais, sy’n caei ei lyncu fel petai yn y gwddf yn cyrraedd y rhai nesaf oil. Mae’r bobl yn aros am y gair ond ni chlyw’r mwyafrif mohono. Mae’r naill ar ôl y hall yn ceisio traethu ond does dim yn tycio. Mae’r anhawster yn cynyddu. Ofnir y bydd i’r bobl ddychwelyd i’w cartrefi a’r heresi heb ei thrafod. ‘Pregethasom,’ meddant, ac nid yw ddim llesâd i neb. Mae ein holl ymdrech yn ofer’. Cyfyd un o’r esgobion o’r enw Paulinus. Bur esgob Dewi Sant yn dysgu ganddo, a dywedodd. Mae yna un a wnaed yn esgob gan y Patriarch nad yw eto wedi ymddangos yn ein Senedd, gŵr huawdl, yn llawn gras, yn gymeradwy ei grefydd, gŵr a chanddo angel yn gydymaith, g’r cariadlawn, hardd o bryd a gwedd, urddasol ei osgo, yn bedwar cufydd o daldra ar ei draed. Fy nghyngor i yw - ewch a galwch ef.

Chapters 49 and 50 deal with the preliminaries and read as follows:

Because after the aid of St. Germanus for the second time the Pelagian heresy was reviving, introducing the vigour of its stubbornness, like the venom of a poisonous serpent, into the inmost joints of the country, there gathers a universal synod of all the bishops of Britannia. Accordingly, one hundred and eighteen bishops having assembled, there came an innumerable multitude of presbyters, abbots, and other orders, Kings, Princes, Laics, men and women, so that this vast army covered all the places round about. The bishops whisper among themselves saying. So great is the multitude that not only a voice, but even a trumpet's call will fail to sound into the ears of everybody. Consequently, almost the whole of the people will be unaffected (or alienated) by the preaching, and will carry the heretical taint back with them as they return home'. It is arranged, therefore, to preach to the people in this manner, that a heap of garments should be piled up on high ground, whereon one should stand and preach from above; and whosoever should be endowed with such gift of speech that his discourse sounded into the ears of all, who stood afar off, should be made with universal consent metropolitan archbishop. Then, at the appointed place, the name of which is Brevi, they endeavour to preach on a raised tower of garments, but scarcely does speech, being swallowed as it were in the throat, reach the very nearest. The people wait for the word, but for the most part hear it not. One after another tries to expound, but they avail nothing. The difficulty increases. They fear the people will return to their homes with the heresy undiscussed, 'We have preached' they say, 'and have no gain. And so our labour is rendered void'. One of the bishops, called Paulinus, rises, with whom the pontiff Saint David formerly read, and says, 'There is one, made bishop by the Patriarch who has not yet appeared at our synod, an eloquent man, full of grace, approved in religion, and who has an angel as comrade, a lovable man, pleasing in feature, distinguished in form, upright in stature of four cubits. My advice, therefore, is that you invite him'.

Fe ddanfonir cenhadau yn ddi-oed. Deuant at yr esgob sanctaidd. Cyhoeddant eu neges. Mae’r esgob sanctaidd yn gwrthod eu cais gan ddweud, Na themtied neb fi. Pwy ydwyf fi i wneud yr hyn ni allant hwy eu gwneud? ‘Rwyf yn cydnabod fy annheilyngdod. Ewch yn eich ôl mewn tangnefedd’. Danfonir y cenhadau yr ail a’r trydydd tro, ond nid yw Dewi’n cydsynio. Danfonir Deiniol (Daniel) a Dyfrig (Dubricius). Mae Dewi’r esgob wedi rhagweld hyn oll drwy ysbryd proffwydoliaeth a dywed wrth y brodyr, ‘Heddiw mae gŵyr tra sanctaidd yn ymweld â ni. Derbyniwch hwynt ach bryd yn llawen. Mynnwch bysgod, bara a dŵr.’ Mae’r esgobion yn cyrraedd. Cyfarchant ei gilydd ag ymddiddan sanctaidd. Rhoddir pryd o fwyd o’u blaen. Addunedant na fwytânt yn ei fynachlog oni ddychwel Dewi gyda hwy i’r Senedd. Wrth glywed hyn, fe etyb y Sant, Gwrthod nis gallaf. Bwytewch ac fe awn i’r Senedd gyda’n gilydd ond ni fedraf bregethu ar yr achlysur hwn. Eto, am weddïau mi geisiaf roddi ychydig gymorth.

Messengers are sent forthwith. They come to the holy bishop. They announce for what purpose they had arrived. The holy bishop refuses, saying, Let no one tempt me. What they cannot do, who am I that I can do it? I acknowledge my lowliness. Depart ye in peace'. Messengers are sent a second and a third time, but neither so does he consent. Daniel and Dubricius are sent. St. David, the bishop, foreseeing this by the spirit of prophecy, says to the brethren, 'Today, brethren, most holy men are visiting us. Receive them with a joyful mind. Procure fishes, bread and water'. The brethren arrive. They salute one another. They enter into holy conversation. A meal is placed before them. They affirm that never will they eat in his monastery unless he returns with them to the synod. To this the Saint replied, 'Refuse you I cannot. Eat, and we will visit the synod together, but I am unable to preach on the occasion. Yet with prayers I shall bring what little help I may'.

Mae penodau 52 a 53 yn teilo a Dewi Sant yn y Senedd.

Daw i mewn i’r Senedd ac mae cwmni’r esgobion yn llawenhau. Mae’r bobl yn lion a’r lluoedd yn gorfoleddu. Gofynnir iddo bregethu. Ni wrthyd yntau air y cyngor. Erchir iddo esgyn i dwmpath y dillad ond nis gwna. Mae’n erchi i’r llanc atgyfodedig i daenu ci gadach poced o dan ei draed. Ar hwn y mae’n sefyll ac yn dehongli’r efengyl ar gyfraith a llais utgorn. Yng ngŵydd pawb mae colomen wen fel eira yn disgyn o’r nef ar ei ysgwyddau ac yn aros yno drwy gydol ei bregeth. Tra’r oedd yn traethu mewn llais eglur i bawb, i’r rhai agosaf yn ogystal â’r rhai pellaf, fe gyfyd y ddaear o dano yn fryn. Ar ucha’r bryn fe’i gwelir gan bawb fel y gallo ddyrchafu ei lef megis utgorn. Ar ben y bryn hwn mae eglwys. Fe ddiddymir yr heresi ac fe sicrheir y ffydd yng nghalonnau dynion. Mae pawb yn gytûn. Diolchant i Dduw ac i Ddewi.

Chapters 52 and 53 deal with St. David at the Synod.

Then he enters the synod. The company of bishops rejoices. The people are glad. The whole army exults. He is asked to preach. He rejects not the wish of the council. They bid him mount the pile of garments, but he refused. So he orders the boy newly raised from the dead to spread his handkerchief under his feet. On this he stands, and expounded the gospel and the law as from a trumpet. In the presence of all a snow-white pigeon, sent from heaven, settled on his shoulders, which remained as long as he preached. While he was holding forth with a voice clear to all, both to those nearest to him, and equally to those who were far off, the ground beneath him swells upwards and is raised into a hill. Placed on the top he is seen by all so that standing on a high hill he might lift his voice like a trumpet. On the top of this hill a church is situated. The heresy is expelled. The faith is confirmed in sound hearts. All are in agreement. They pay thanks to God and to Saint David.

Yna, ac yntau’n cael clod a bendith gan bawb, mae’r esgobion oll, a’r brenhinoedd, tywysogion, uchelwyr a phob gradd o ddynion o’r genedl Fritanaidd yn cytuno fod Dewi’n cael ci urddo yn archesgob a’i fynachlog yn cael ci chydnabod yn fetropolis yr holl wlad, fel y byddo i’r sawl a’i rheolo gael ei gydnabod yn archesgob.

Then, blessed and extolled by the mouth of all, he is with the consent of all the bishops, Kings, Princes, nobles, and all grades of the whole Britannic race, made archbishop and his monastery, too, is declared the metropolis of the whole country, so that whoever ruled it should be accounted Archbishop.

Gallwn yn awr archwilio’r penodau hyn gyda golwg ar y deunydd hanesyddol a all fod ynddynt. Prif ddiddordeb Pennod 49 yw man cyfarfod a phrif amcan y Senedd. Y fan yw glannau afon Brefi - afon fechan sy’n llifo i’r Teifi yng Ngheredigion. Mae’n llifo o fynydd-dir canolbarth Cymru yn union i’r gorllewin i mewn i afon Teifi. Er nad yw’r afonig yn ddim ond pum milltir o hyd a thir ei glannau yn gul ac yn isel, mae wedi ci lleoli mewn man a fyddai’n ganolbwynt o gryn bwysigrwydd yn nyddiau Dewi, yn fan cyfarfod llawer o fan ffyrdd ymysg y bryniau. Nid dyma’r stori i gyd, fodd bynnag, gan fod y fangre ar lannau Brefi yn agos iawn at y gaer Rufeinig yn Llanio. (Mae’n debyg mai hi oedd Bremia’r map hynafol o Ravenna).

We can now examine these chapters with particular reference to the historical material they may contain. Chapter 49 is concerned with the venue and main object of the Synod. The location is on the banks of the Brefi - the name of a small tributary of the river Teifi in Ceredigion. It flows from the mountain country of central Wales directly westward into the Teifi. Although the river is only some five miles in length and the low-lying land along its banks narrow, it is, nevertheless, situated in what would have been a focal area of some importance in the days of St. David, at a convergence of minor routes among the hills. This, however, is not the whole story, for a situation on the banks of the Brefi is in the almost immediate vicinity of the important Roman Fort of Llanio (most likely the Bremia of the Ravenna Cosmography).

Mae Llanio ar y ffordd Rufeinig bwysig a oedd yn than o system amddiffyn y ffin Rufeinig yng Nghymru. Rhedai o Gaerfyrddin (Maridunum) yn y de drwy Lanio ac ymlaen dros afon Dyfi i Bennal ac yna o’r diwedd i Gaernarfon (Segontium). Roedd cangen bwysig ohoni’n croesi afon Teifi ychydig islaw Llanio ac yna’n mynd dros afon Brefi ymlaen cyn belied a Llanfair Clydogau, cyn troi i’r de-ddwyrain dros y mynyddoedd i ogofâu aur Dolau Cothi, ac i Lanymddyfri: yna i’r Gaer ger Aberhonddu ac ymlaen wedyn i gaer y llengoedd yng Nghaerllion (Isca). Mae ffordd Rufeinig arall yn arwain o ffordd Llanymddyfri i’r orsaf Rufeinig yng Nghastell Collen, ac yna, o bosibl, tua’r gogledd-ddwyrain drwy Gaersws i Gaer (Chester. Deva). Maen eglur felly fod ardal Llanio, gan gynnwys afon Brefi, yn hawdd ei chyrchu o Gymru ben bwygilydd yn ystod y cyfnod Rhufeinig ac yn union wedi hynny - yn sicr yn fwy hygyrch nag y mae heddiw. Er bod y Rhufeiniaid wedi ymadael â’r than yma o ganolbarth Cymru dros ganrif cyn dyddiau Dewi a bod eu ffyrdd wedi dadfeilio, eto dywed y dystiolaeth archeolegol mai trafnidiaeth ar olwynion a ddarfu amdani’n gyntaf a bod y ffyrdd wedi troi'n llwybrau troed wedi eu gorchuddio a glaswellt a chwyn. Eto i gyd, er eu bod mewn cyflwr gwael ‘roedd y ffyrdd hyn ar gael i deithwyr ar gefnau ceffylau neu ar droed. Fe geid, yn ogystal, nifer helaeth o lwybrau a thramwyfeydd yn dod i lawr o’r mynydd-dir i’r ffyrdd Rhufeinig glaswelltog hyn yn nyddiau Dewi. Ni Own lai na dod i’r casgliad fod afonig Brefi ar ffyrdd cysylltiol yn safle arbennig o dda i gynnal cyfarfod llwythol - a dyna mae’n debyg oedd Senedd Brefi. Os derbyniwn y syniad hwn, mae’n bosibl nad dyma’r tro cyntaf, ac yn sicr nid y tro olaf, y daeth cynulleidfa enfawr ynghyd mewn meysydd agored neu ar rosydd Cymru i gynnal oedfa grefyddol.

Llanio is on the important Roman road which formed part of the western Roman frontier system in Wales. It ran from Carmarthen (Maridunum) in the south, through Llanio and onwards across the Dyfi to Pennal and ultimately on to Caernarfon (Segontium). An important lateral road crossed the Teifi just below Llanio and then passed over the Brefi and onwards as far as Llanfair Clydogau, whence it struck south-eastwards over the mountains to the Dolau Cothi gold mines and on to Llandovery and ultimately to the Gaer near Brecon, and then south-eastwards to the legionary fortress at Caerleon (Isca). Above this Roman route at Liandovery another road leads northwards through the mountains to the Roman station at Castell Collen and then possibly via Caersws, north-eastwards to Chester (Deva). It is clear, therefore, that the Llanio location (and with it Brefi) could be considered fully accessible to the whole of Wales in Roman and sub-Roman times - certainly more accessible than these parts are today. Furthermore, although the Romans had departed from this part of mid-Wales well over a hundred years before St. David's time and their roads had fallen into disrepair, nevertheless, we know from archaeological evidence that it was wheel traffic that first passed out of use and that the roads became virtually trackways overgrown with grass and weeds. Yet, in this condition the roads continued to be available to travellers mounted or on foot. In St. David's time, in addition to these grass-covered Roman roads there was a large number of footpaths and trackways leading down from the high ground onto these roads. We can but conclude that given the communications as they were, Brevi was in an especially good position for a tribal gathering which, in fact, the Synod would have been. If we accept this view it would probably be not the first time, and certainly not the last, that a large gathering has been assembled in the open fields or on the moorlands of Wales for religious purposes.

Os trown yn awr at yr ail fater y mae Pennod 49 yn cyfeirio ato, sef amcan y Senedd, fe gawn fod Rhigyfarch yn datgan yn glir mai ei phwrpas oedd lladd ar y Belagiaeth a oedd yn codi ei phen o’r newydd yng Nghymru. Fodd bynnag, mae haneswyr a diwinyddion heddiw yn amau hyn yn fawr. Y prif reswm dros ei amau yw bod Pelagiaeth go-iawn yng nghyfnod cynnar Cristnogaeth yn Ewrop wedi chwythu ei phlwc o leiaf ddwy ganrif cyn amser Dewi. Dyma’n fras gamau’r rhesymeg.

If we now turn to the second matter with which Chapter 49 is concerned, namely the objective of the Synod, we note that Rhigyfarch states clearly that the objective was to denounce Pelagianism which was raising its head anew in Wales. This, however, has caused much doubt in the minds of modem historians and theologians, mainly because Pelagianism proper in early Christian Europe was a spent force at least two hundred years before David's time. The reasoning is roughly as follows.

‘Roedd Pelagius ei hun yn Gelt, ac mae bron yn sicr mai Gwyddel oedd. Gwyddom iddo adael ei wlad enedigol i ymweld â'r lleoedd sanctaidd yn y Dwyrain, ac iddo ddychwelyd oddiyno i Rufain a dod yn athro ac yn athronydd o fri. Yn ystod ei arhosiad yn Rhufain, fe’i cafodd ei hun yng nghanol ymryson ffyrnig. Gwadai athrawiaeth y pechod gwreiddiol, gan ddal fod dynion yn rhydd i bechu neu beidio â phechu, a’i bod yn bosibl i ddynion gael eu hachub drwy eu hymdrechion eu hunain, heb ras Duw: syniad syn tebyg mewn llawer ffordd i ddyneiddiaeth fodern. Rywbryd ar ôl o.c. 415 clywn am Belagius yng Ngogledd Affrica a oedd ar y pryd yn gaer Cristnogaeth uniongred, ac yno cyfarfu ag Awstin Sant, prif wrthwynebydd ei ddaliadau. Mae’n ymddangos iddo wedyn hwylio i Balesteina a helpu i sefydlu mynachlog ym Methlehem.

Pelagius himself was a Celt and almost certainly an Irishman. He is known to have left his native land to visit the sacred places of the East and returned to Rome where he became an esteemed teacher and philosopher. During his stay in Rome (about the year AD 415) he found himself involved in a violent controversy. He denied the doctrine of original sin, arguing that men were free to sin or not to sin, and that men can be saved by their own efforts without the grace of God. In many ways this sounds very modern, being closely akin to modern humanism. Sometime after AD 415 we hear of Pelagius in North Africa, which at that time was a stronghold of orthodox Christianity, and there he met St. Augustine, the chief opponent of his views. Afterwards, he seems to have sailed to Palestine and helped to establish a monastery in Bethlehem.

Diflannodd Pelagius i niwloedd hanes yn y 420au cynnar ond gwyddom i rai o’i syniadau hereticaidd oroesi, wedi lliniaru tipyn arnynt, yn ysgol enwog y fynachlog yn Lérins ger Marseilles, lle a gysylltir ag enwau Vincent o Lérins a John Cassian. O’r diwedd, fe geisiodd Faustus o Riez, abad Lérins, lunio cyfaddawd, math o ffordd ganol rhwng eithafion athrawiaeth a oedd yn gwadu naill a’i fod ar ddyn angen greddfol am ras neu fod ganddo ryddid. Isel-Belagiaeth oedd yr enw ar yr athrawiaeth newydd. Dyrna ddatblygiad o bwys - ân fod de Ffrainc yn fan cychwyn lledu syniadau Cristnogol - drwy wlad Gal yn gyntaf ac yna draw i Brydain. Dyna a ddigwyddodd i'r athrawiaeth gyfaddawd hon, ac fe gafodd ddyfnder daear yma - gwreiddiodd mor ddwfn yn wir nes bod yn rhaid i Sant Gannon (Germanus) o Auxerre ymweld â Phrydain ar ddau achlysur (yn o.c. 429 a 447) ar gais y Pab, i geisio rhoi terfyn ar y syniadau hereticaidd hyn. Mae’n debyg i’r ymweliadau hyn lwyddo fel y dengys Rhigyfarch yn y bennod hon. Yn y cyfamser, ymgaledodd agwedd Rhufain, ac fe gondemniwyd yr Isel-Belagiaid yn ail Gyngor Orange. Cafodd hyn sêl bendith y Pab yn o.c. 531 a bu’r mudiad farw. Ond nid dyna ddiwedd y stori. Mae syniadau Pelagius fel petaent yn codi eu pennau nawr ac yn y man, ac mae haneswyr modern yr eglwys yn derbyn bod dyn yn ymateb yn barhaus i’r ymgais i fynegi ei gydweithrediad a gras Duw. Felly mae’n gwbl bosibl fod Pelagiaeth mewn rhyw ffurf arni ar gerdded yng nghyfnod Senedd Brefi.

History loses sight of Pelagius himself in the early 420s but we know that some of his heretical ideas lived on, somewhat modified, in the famous monastery school at Lérins, near Marseilles, associated with the names of Vincent of Lérins and John Cassian. Ultimately Faustus of Riez, abbot of Lérins, attempted to work out a compromise, a sort of middle course between the extremes of doctrines that virtually denied either man's instinctive need for grace or man's own freedom. This became known as Semi-Pelagianism. This development is important as southern France was a springboard for the spread of Christian ideas first through Gaul and then on to Britain. This happened to Semi-Pelagianism and it took deep root here - so deep, in fact, that St. Germanus of Auxerre had occasion to visit Britain on two occasions (AD 429 and 447) to attempt, at the request of the Pope, to exterminate these heretical views. These visits are said to have been entirely successful, as mentioned by Rhigyfarch in this chapter. Meanwhile, the attitude of Rome hardened, and the SemiPelagians were condemned at the Second Council of Orange, whose decisions were subsequently approved by the Pope in 531, and the movement died out. This, however, is not the whole story. Pelagian ideas seem to be recrudescent, and modem church historians accept that there appears to be a perennial human response in the search to express the place of man's co-operation with the grace of God. Thus the presence of Pelagianism in some form or other is a clear possibility at the time of the Synod of Brefi.

Yn ddiweddar, fe ddaeth tystiolaeth newydd bwysig i’r golau syn cadarnhau od dylanwadau cryfion yn ne-orllewin Cymru o blaid Pelagiaeth yn amser Dewi, ac yntau a’i ddilynwyr mewn cysylltiad â’r eglwys uniongred ar y Cyfandir. Daw’r dystiolaeth hon o astudiaethau archaeolegol diweddar, yn enwedig gwaith Dr. Bu’lock. Archwiliodd ef yn fanwl yr holl arysgrifau Cristnogol cynnar yng Nghymru a gorllewin Prydain gan sylwi'n arbennig ar y fformiwlâu coffa a ddefnyddid. Dengys y fformiwlâu hyn fod yr arysgrifau clan sylw yn dyddio o’r burned i’r seithfed ganrif - hynny yw, cyfnod Dewi Sant.

More recently, important new evidence has become available for the view that there must have been strong influences in southwest Wales making for Pelagianism in the time of St. David, while he himself and his followers were at the same time in contact with the orthodox continental church. The evidence comes from recent archaeological studies, particularly the work of Dr. Bu'lock. He has examined carefully all the early Christian inscribed stones in Wales and western Britain, paying particular attention to the memorial formulae used. These formulae make it clear that the stones in question date from the fifth to the seventh centuries - that is, to the time of St. David.

Mae Dr. Bu’lock yn rhoi’r arysgrifau mewn dau brif ddosbarth - y rhai syn defnyddio HIC IACIT yn Lladin ac enw’r gŵr marw yn dilyn (‘Yma'r gorwedd . . .) a’r rhai sy’n defnyddio'r gair Lladin FILIVS (‘mab’) neu ryw ffurf arno, er enghraifft A (enw gŵr marw) FILIVS B (fab hwn a hwn). Fe ddangosodd archeolegwyr i’r ffurf HIC IACIT gyrraedd Prydain o’r Eidal drwy ddeheudir Gal ac efallai (yn ôl ymchwil fodern) o ardaloedd Cristnogol y Rheindir, yn enwedig o gwmpas Trèves. Yng ngorllewin Prydain ‘roedd teithio dros y môr hefyd yn bwysig. Erbyn hyn ‘roedd mewnfudwyr Gwyddelig yn niferus yn ne-orllewin Cymru. Hen Wyddeleg oedd yr iaith a ddefnyddiai’r ymfudwyr hyn mewn arysgrifau ogam ar eu meini coffa. Felly, ‘roedd y meini coffa Cristnogol cynnar yn yr ardaloedd hyn yn fynych yn ddwyieithog (Lladin a Hen Wyddeleg). Yn ei astudiaeth mae Dr. Bu’lock wedi cynnwys (a) y meini ag arysgrifau ogam yn unig, (b) y rhai Lladin yn unig a (c) y rhai dwyieithog. Yn yr arysgrifau ogam ceir yr Hen Wyddeleg MAQI (‘mab’) yn lle’r gair Lladin FILIVS, ac felly fe gawn A MAQI B (A mab B). ‘Roedd y Cristnogion cynnar ar y Cyfandir wedi hepgor yr hen arfer Rufeinig o roi enwau rhieni’r marw ar ei garreg fedd am eu bod yn dehong1ir gorchymyn ym Mathew 23:9 yn llythrennol: A pheidiwch â galw neb yn dad i chwi ar y ddaear, oherwydd un tad sydd gennych chwi, sef eich Tad nefol’. Ystyrient, felly, eu geni o rieni daearol fel tarddi’r pechod gwreiddiol. Eto, yn ôl arolwg Dr. Bu’lock fe gawn fod 79 y cant o’r beddfeini a archwiliwyd yn nhiriogaeth Dewi ei hun yn defnyddio fformiwla naill a’i FILWS neu MAQI neu’r ddau. Mae’n amlwg felly fod y gorchymyn uniongred yn cael ci anwybyddu gan y Cristnogion yn y rhan yma o Gymru. A dyma’r union gyhuddiad a ddygwyd yn erbyn dilynwyr Pelagius ar y pryd - sef ymwrthod ag athrawiaeth y pechod gwreiddiol. Beth bynnag, yr oedd yr arfer o ddynodi enw dyn drwy ychwanegu enw ei dad ato yn ddigon adnabyddus, ac mae’n para hyd heddiw yn yr holl wledydd Celtaidd, e.e. Emrys ap Myrddin. Bleddyn ap Cadwgan yng Nghymru, a pheth wmbredd o enghreifftiau o Mac (o MAQI) yn yr Alban ac yn Iwerddon.

Dr. Bu'lock has classified the inscriptions into two major groups - those that use the formula HIC IACIT in Latin followed by the name of the deceased (Here Lies So and So); and those formulae that use the word FILIVS in Latin (or some variant of it), for example X (name of deceased) FILIVS Y (son of So and So). The form HIC IACIT has been shown by the archaeologists to have reached Britain from Italy by way of Southern Gaul and possibly (according to recent work) more particularly from Christian areas in the Rhineland especially around Trèves. In western Britain, movement by sea was also very important. By this time there was a strong immigrant Irish population present in south-west Wales. These immigrants used Old Irish (and inscribed it in ogham characters) for their memorials. In this way the early Christian memorials in this area were often bilingual, using Latin and Old Irish. In his study Dr. Bu'lock has included the stones with ogham inscriptions alone, and those with Latin alone, and the bilingual group. In ogham, the Latin FILIVS is replaced by the Old Irish MAQI: so we have X MAQI Y (X the son of Y). The early Christians on the Continent gave up the former Roman pagan custom of naming a deceased person's parents on their tombstones for the reason that they followed literally the injunction in Matthew 23:9: 'Call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven'. They, therefore, considered their earthly parentage as the source of original sin. Yet in Dr. Bu'lock's survey we find that 79% of the tombstones examined in David's own territory use either the FILIVS or the MAQI formula or both. It is clear, therefore, that among the Christians in this part of Wales the orthodox injunction was largely ignored. This rejection of the doctrine of original sin was exactly what the followers of Pelagius were accused of doing at this time. In any case, the practice of defining a man's name by adding that of his father is well known and used to this day in all Celtic lands, e.g. Emrys ap Myrddin. Bleddyn ap Cadwgan in Wales and the many examples of Mac in Scotland and Ireland.

Mae’n werth sylwi ar ddosbarthiad cyffredinol y gwahanol fathau o arysgrifau coffa ar hyd a lled Cymru -ân fod hyn yn tueddu pwysleisio’r ffaith fod fformiwla HIC IACIT (a oedd yn cydymffurfio â’r arfer Gristnogol uniongred ar y Cyfandir yr adeg yma) yn fwy poblogaidd ar y cyfan drwy’r gweddill o Gymru na’r fformiwla FILIVS anuniongred sydd fel petai’n nodweddiadol o Ddyfed. Mae hyn yn ategu nifer o’r awgrymiadau a wnaed parthed gwrthwynebiad nerthol a dadl gref Dewi yn erbyn dilynwyr Pelagius yn ne-orllewin Cymru yn Senedd Brefi. Ar yr un pryd rhaid i ni gofio fod Dewi yn aelod teyrngar o deulu Cunedda a’i fod yn draddodiadol elyniaethus i’r goresgynwyr Gwyddelig, nid yn gymaint am eu bod yn Gristnogion anuniongred ond am eu bod yn Wyddelod. Mae’r ffeithiau a ganlyn ynglŷn â’r arysgrifau Cristnogol cynnar a’u fformiwlâu coffa yn dangos y sefyllfa gyffredinol yn eglur ddigon. Os cymerwn Wynedd, fe -awn fod cyfartaledd y meini â’r fformiwla FILIVS yn 28 y cant a’r HIC IACIT yn 70 y cant. Mae’r cyfartaledd yn Nyfed yn wahanol - arysgrifau FILIVS yn 63 y cant a’r HIC LACIT yn 28 y cant. Mae hyn yn golygu fod -ân Ogledd Cymru gysylltiad agosach â’r Cyfandir nag a oedd gan y De-orllewin, a bod ei Gristnogaeth yn fwy uniongred. Gwireddir hyn gan dystiolaeth archeolegol a llenyddol hefyd. Mae astudiaethau modern, yn enwedig y rhai archeolegol, yn peri od stori draddodiadol Rhigyfarch am ymryson Dewi a dilynwyr Pelagius yn Senedd Brefi (a oedd yn ei ddydd yn adlais o hen, hen draddodiad) yn fwy rhesymol a chredadwy.

It is worth noting the general distribution of the various forms of these memorial inscriptions throughout the whole of Wales as it tends to bring out the fact that the HIC IACIT formula (which could be equated with orthodox continental Christian practice at this time) is clearly more marked in Wales as a whole than the unorthodox FILIVS formula which seems a feature of the south-west. This supports many of the suggestions made regarding David's apparently powerful and well-reasoned opposition to the Pelagian followers in the south-west at the Synod. At the same time we should bear in mind that St. David was a loyal son of the House of Cunedda and that he bore a traditional hostility to the Irish invaders not because they were unorthodox Christians at this time but simply because they were Irish. The following data regarding the early Christian inscribed stones and their memorial formulae bring out the general situation quite clearly. In Gwynedd, we find the percentage of the stones with the FILIVS formula to be 28 and the HIC IACIT formula 70. The corresponding percentages in Dyfed are: FILIVS inscriptions. 63 per cent: HIC IACIT inscriptions. 28 per cent. This implies that North Wales at this time was more in touch with the Continent than South-west Wales, and that its Christianity was more orthodox. This is also borne out by both literary and archaeological evidence. Modern studies, especially archaeological studies, therefore make the traditional story of Rhigyfarch (probably in his day echoing a very old tradition) all the more reasonable and intelligible when he tells of the confrontation of St. David with Pelagians or Semi-Pelagians at the Synod of Brefi.

Mae penodau 49 a 50 yn son am y penderfyniad i anfon cenhadau at Ddewi i’w wahodd i annerch y Senedd. Nid oedd gan Rigyfarch unrhyw ffynhonnell lafar neu ysgrifenedig a roddai fanylion ynghylch yr hyn a ddigwyddodd dros bum canrif ynghynt. Eto i gyd, mae’n ddiddorol bod son am dri pherson y mae gennym dystiolaeth hanesyddol bendant yn eu cylch. Yn gyntaf, dyna Sant Paulinus y dywedir ei fod yn un o athrawon Dewi. Ef a awgrymodd i’r Senedd mai Dewi oedd y dyn mwyaf cymwys ac abl i fynd i’r afael â’r argyfwng. Mae’n amlwg nad oedd Dewi yn bresennol, a’i fod wedi derbyn gwahoddiad i fod yno ac yntau’n amharod i ymateb. ‘Roedd mynachlog Paulinus yn Llanddeusant yng ngogledd Dyfed, lie a fuasai’n sicr o fod o fewn patria Dewi, ac felly ‘roedd yn rhesymol disgwyl iddo fod yn y Senedd. Mae’n debyg i Paulinus rywbryd groesi’r môr i Lydaw, lle gelwid gefyn St. Paul Aurelian. Yn ddiweddarach daeth yn nawddsant dinas enwog St. Pol de Leon ar arfordir gogied Llydaw. Mae Buchedd y Sant hwn yn awr yn llyfrgell dinas Orleans. Fe’i hysgrifennwyd gan y mynach Gourmonoc yn 884, cyn i’r cenhedloedd duon’ anrheithio trefi a mynachlogydd arfordir Llydaw yn y ddegfed ganrif. Disgrifiad yw’r Fuchedd o hanes Sant Paulinus yn ei gartref yn Nyfed ac yn ddiweddarach yn Llydaw. Pan oedd Dewi yn ddisgybl ifanc i Baulinus fe ddywedir iddo iacháu ei feistr o dra ormod dolur yn y lygeit’ (yn ei lygaid). Nid hyn, na’r ganmoliaeth a roddodd Paulinus i Ddewi, oedd y rheswm tebygol ym meddwl Rhigyfarch dros i’r Senedd dderbyn yr awgrym i ddanfon am Ddewi. Tebycach, o ystyried y pwnc dan sylw, yw’r rheswm fod Dewi wedi ei addysgu gan Baulinus a hwnnw yn ei dro yn ddisgybl i Garmon yr esgob’.

Chapters 49 and 50 are concerned with the decision to look for St. David and invite him to address the Synod. While Rhigyfarch could not have had any oral or written source for the details of the events that are said to have taken place over five hundred years before, it is, nevertheless, interesting that three individuals are mentioned of whom we have reliable historical evidence. First of all, there is St. Paulinus who is said to have been one of St. David's teachers and it was he who suggested to the Synod that David was the person best qualified and able to deal with the impasse which had developed. David was obviously not present, but was invited to come along - an invitation he accepted reluctantly. Paulinus' monastery was at Llanddeusant in north Dyfed and would almost certainly be within the orbit of St. David's patria in western central Wales, and so it was reasonable that he should be at the Synod. At some time Paulinus seems to have crossed over to Brittany where he was known as St. Paul Aurelian and later became patron of the well-known city of St. Pol de Leon on the north coast. We possess a Life of St. Pol de Leon, now in the city library at Orleans, which was written by a monk named Wrmonoc in 884, that is before the Norsemen had sacked towns and monasteries on the Breton coast in the tenth century. This Life tells the story of St. Paulinus in his native Carmarthenshire and later in Brittany. When St. David was a young student of Paulinus we are told that he cured his master when he was suffering from serious eye trouble. Neither this, nor Paulinus' eulogy of St. David, was the probable reason in Rhigyfarch's mind why the Synod accepted the suggestion that David be sent for. More likely, it was because, in view of the matter under discussion, it would have appeared very appropriate since David had been educated under Paulinus, who in turn was 'a disciple of St. Germanus the Bishop'.

Wrth fynd ymlaen i bennod 50 fe ddarllenwn am ddau Sant enwog arall a wahoddwyd yn arbennig i’r Senedd, sef Dubricius (Dyfrig) a Daniel (Deiniol). Yma eto y mae gennym dystiolaeth led pendant am y ddau Sant hyn, yn enwedig Dyfrig. Dywed ei Fuchedd ei fod yn ŵyr i Peibio, brenin Ergyng, teyrnas ar ffiniau de-ddwyrain Cymru yn yr Oesoedd Tywyll. ‘Roedd ei brif fynachlog yn Hentland (ar Lan afon Wysg) yn ne-orllewin swydd Henffordd, ac mae nifer o eglwysi yn y gymdogaeth honno yn dwyn ei enw. Ceir son amdano, ym Muchedd Sant Samson o’r seithfed ganrif, yn dod i’r fynachlog ar Ynys B5’r i gysegru Samson, sef Sant Samson o Dol yn Llydaw yn ddiweddarach. Fe sefydlodd Deiniol nifer o fynachlogydd yng Ngogledd Cymru, yn enwedig y ddwy Fangor- Bangor yng Ngwynedd, lle mae eglwys gadeiriol esgobaeth Bangor y bu ef yn esgob cyntaf iddi: a Bangor Is-coed ar lan afon Dyfrdwy yng Nghlwyd. Bu hon yn adnabyddus yn hanes cynnar Prydain oherwydd cyflafan ei mynaich ar ôl Brwydr Caer yn o.c. 617. Croniclir yr hanes gan Bede. Ceir cyfeiriadau cynnar at Sant Deiniol yn y cronicl Cymraeg a elwir Bonedd y Saint. Yr hyn sy’n arwyddocaol yw ymdrech Rhigyfarch i ddangos fod eglwyswyr o bwys, yn cynrychioli Cymru benbaladr yn bresennol yn y Senedd. Gwnaeth hyn er mwyn dylanwadu ar y swyddogion eglwysig Eingl-Norman a oedd wrthi’n bwrw ymlaen â’u cynlluniau i ad-drefnu’r eglwys’ Geltaidd yr adeg honno. Buasai’r ddau ymwelydd hyn. Dyfrig a Deiniol, yn gynrychiolwyr delfrydol i’r De ac i’r Gogledd yn Oes y Seintiau.

Proceeding to Chapter 50, we hear of two other well-known Saints who appear to have been specially invited to the Synod: Dubricius and Daniel. Again we have fairly strong historical evidence for both Saints, especially the former. The Life of St. Dubricius tells us that he was the grandson of Peibio. King of Erging, a kingdom which in the Dark Ages lay on the south-eastern borders of Wales. His chief monastery was at Hentland, now in south-western Herefordshire, and he has several churches bearing his name in the vicinity. He is mentioned in the seventh century Life of St. Samson as coming to the monastery on Caldy Island to consecrate Samson, who afterwards became St. Samson of Dol in Brittany. Daniel (or Deiniol as he is known in Welsh) founded several monasteries in North Wales, especially the two Bangors - the Bangor in Gwynedd, now represented by the Cathedral of the episcopal diocese of that name, of which he is regarded as the first Bishop: and Bangor-on-Dee in Clwyd, famous in early British history for the massacre of many of its monks at the Battle of Chester, AD 617, mentioned by Bede. There are also early references to St. Deiniol in the famous Welsh chronicle known as Bonedd y Saint. What, however, is significant is that Rhigyfarch is concerned to show that dignitaries representing all Wales were present at the Synod in order to impress the Anglo-Norman church officials, who were pressing forward in their attempts to restructure the Celtic 'church' at this time. These two distinguished visitors would be ideal representatives of South and North Wales respectively in the Age of the Saints.

Mae Pennod 53 yn disgrifio goruchafiaeth Dewi wedi i’r heresi gael ei halltudio’ gan ei huodledd a grym ei ddadl yn erbyn Pelagiaeth. Pwysleisia Rhigyfarch iddo gael ei wneud yn Archesgob drwy gymeradwyaeth gyffredinol, ac iddo ennui cefnogacth pob cangen o gymdeithas - esgobion, brenhinoedd, tywysogion, uchelwyr a phob gradd o ddynion o’r genedl Fritanaidd, a chyhoeddi mai ei fynachlog yn Nhyddewi oedd y metropolis a bod pwy bynnag a’i dilyno i ddal swydd Archesgob. Yma fe welwn y Dewi dyrchafedig, nid y mynach hunanymwadol o Henfynyw: arweinydd Cymru gyfan, nid parochia Tyddewi yn unig. Cyfyd anawsterau sylfaenol serch hynny rhag derbyn yn llythrennol y cyfan a ddywed Rhigyfarch. Mae hyn i'w briodoli yn bennaf i’r ffaith ei fod yn defnyddio termau eglwysig Eglwys Babyddol yr Oesoedd Canol, pryd y gwisgai’r esgobion, er enghraifft gochi, meitr, bagi a modrwy. Nid felly yrroedd yn amser Dewi. Dangoswyd yn eglur erbyn hyn gan y Dr. Kathleen Hughes fod yna esgobion, yn sicr, yn yr eglwys Geltaidd ond mai esgobion llwythol oeddynt a’u cadeiriau yn agos at ganolfannau’r awdurdod sifil (gan amlaf mewn bryngaer fawr le’r oedd pencadlys pennaeth y llwyth). Er i Dr. Hughes seilio’i thystiolaeth ar yr hyn a ddigwyddodd yn Iwerddon cyn dyddiau penllanw mynachaeth yno, diogel yw tybio mai’r un oedd y sefyllfa yng Nghymru.

Chapter 53 describes the triumph of David after the heresy had been ‘expelled’ by his oratory and forceful presentation of the anti-Pelagian case. Rhigyfarch stresses that he is made Archbishop by popular acclaim, that he has the support of all branches of society – ‘bishops, kings, princes, nobles and all grades of the whole Britannic race’, and that his monastery at St. David's is declared the Metropolis, and whoever may rule there after him is to be regarded as Archbishop. Here we see the glorified David and not the ascetic monk from Henfynyw: the leader of all Wales and not just of the parochia of Tyddewi. There are, however, fundamental difficulties in accepting literally all that Rhigyfarch says. This is due mainly to the fact that he is using the ecclesiastical terminology of the Roman Church in the Middle Ages where bishops, for example, were complete with cope, mitre, crosier and ring. This was not the case in David's time. It has now been clearly demonstrated by Dr. Kathleen Hughes that although there were most certainly bishops in the Celtic ‘church’ they were tribal bishops with their seats near to the centres of the civic authority (most frequently a very large hill-fort where the chief of the tribe had his headquarters). Although Dr. Hughes based her evidence on what happened in Ireland in the days before the coming of full monasticism, it is safe to assume that a similar situation prevailed in Wales.

Mae’n bwysig pwysleisio eto felly mai cynulliad llwythol oedd Senedd Brefi, ac mai esgob llwyth oedd Dewi, yn gwisgo, maen tebyg, ddillad garw o grwyn anifeiliaid ac yn cario cangen fawr o’r coed yn hytrach na bagl esgob, ac yn cerdded yn bennoeth ac yn droednoeth. ‘Roedd ganddo gloch a alwai’n 'Bangu’ - g1och annwyl, uchel ac meddai ar alluoedd goruwchnaturiol. Y drefn yn y mynachlogydd Celtaidd oedd i’r abad gyflawni'r dyletswyddau gweinyddol tra’r oedd yr esgob neu’r esgobion yn mynd o gwmpas y wlad gan bregethu a chyflawni dyletswyddau crefyddol megis gweinyddu bedydd esgob, priodi, a gweinyddu’r Cymun. ‘Doedd gan esgob na dyletswyddau gweinyddol na ffiniau pendant i'w 'blwyf’ (parochia), ar wahân efallai, yn fras, ffiniau’r llwyth neu wely gordd (pobi or un gwaed). Ni allesid gwneud Dewi’n archesgob yn ystyr Rufeinig y gair ond gallai fod wedi ymdoddi’n dda i’r darlun llwythol a dynnwyd o Senedd Brefi. Gallesid bod wedi ei gydnabod yn esgob o radd uchel neu hyd yn oed yn esgob mwyaf ei ddawn a’i barch ymysg ei gyfoeswyr mewn cynulliad lluosog o’r math hwn yn yr awyr agored. Ond ni ellid ei ddyrchafu’n archesgob (metropolitan) am nad oedd yn ei ddydd na threfi na dinasoedd iddo breswylio ynddynt. Y dref, nid y wlad, oedd canolfan Eglwys Rufain yr Oesoedd Canol. Nid oedd mynachlog Dewi yn Nhyddewi (Y Fynyw Newydd) yn ddim ond casgliad o fythynnod tlawd ynghyd ag eglwys fechan. ‘Roedd Rhigyfarch, fodd bynnag, yn awyddus i ddefnyddio termau canoloesol diweddarach er mwyn dangos rhagoriaeth dybiedig Dewi ym mywyd yr eglwys yn y gorllewin Celtaidd yn y gorffennol. Canys gwyddai fod y cof am Ddewi a’r swydd aruchel y tybid iddo ei dal yn parhau yn arf boliticaidd o’r pwys pennaf yn yr unfed ganrif ar ddeg ym mrwydr yr Eglwys Geltaidd yn erbyn gallu cynyddol Caergaint a Rhufain.

It is important to re-emphasise, therefore. that the Synod of Brefi was a tribal gathering and St. David a tribal bishop who wore rough clothing, possibly of animal skins, and carried a large branch from the woods rather than a crosier, and may well have been bareheaded and barefooted. He carried a bell which he called ‘Bangu’, ’the dear loud one’, which possessed magical powers. The arrangement in Celtic monasteries was for the abbot to attend to all administrative duties while the bishop (or bishops) moved around the countryside preaching and attending to religious duties, such as baptism, confirmation, marriages, burials, and the administration of the Eucharist. The bishop had no administrative duties and his parochia no precise territorial limits, except vaguely those of the local tribe or sib. Dewi could never have been made an archbishop in the Roman sense of the term, but he could have integrated well with the tribal picture portrayed at Brefi. He may well have been acclaimed 'a senior bishop' or, even, the most outstanding and gifted bishop among his contemporaries, in a large open-air gathering of this kind. As for being made a Metropolitan, there would have been no towns or cities in Wales in his day to reside in. The medieval Roman Church was urban and not rural-based. David's monastery at Menevia (the New Mynyw) comprised merely a group of lowly huts with a little church. Rhigyfarch, however, was keen on using later medieval terminology in order to show the supposed pre-eminence of David in the Church life of the Celtic West in the past, for he realised that the memory of St. David and the eminent position he was said to have held was still a political weapon of the first importance in the eleventh century in the struggle of the Celtic Church with the ever increasing power of Canterbury and Rome.

Er hynny, sut bynnag yr esboniwn hanes Senedd Brefi mae’n ymddangos ein bod yn dechrau gweld dyrchafu Dewi yn arweinydd mawr ar yr eglwys a’ r genedl.

Nevertheless, however we interpret the story of the Synod it would seem that we are beginning to see St. David raised on high and emerging as a great national leader in Church and State' alike.