Prince Cybi the
Tawny was almost
certainly born around AD 485 in the Callington region of Cerniw
(Cornwall) - although Cuby (near Tregony) and Duloe are alternative
claimants. He had a fine education and took a keen interest in
Christianity even in his youth. At the age of twenty-seven, he made
pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem and eventually became a priest,
being consecrated bishop by the Bishop of Poitiers. On returning
home, he found that his father, King Salom, had died and he was
nominally the monarch of his country. However, Cybi had set his
heart on a life dedicated to God and so, when he was formally
offered the Cornish throne, he politely refused and Cerniw once
more became united with Dumnonia.
Cybi then began
to travel the Celtic World. He founded churches at Duloe, Tregony,
Cubert and Landulph in Cerniw. He later crossed the Bristol Channel
to Edeligion in South-East Wales, with several followers (including St.
Llangefni). The local King, Edelig,
did not welcome them at first. Eventually, however, the monarch was
brought round and gave the Cornishman two churches at
Llangybi-upon-Usk and Llanddyfrwyr-yn-Edeligion. Cybi then moved on
to Ireland (staying with his cousin, St.
Dewi (David) at Mynyw (St.
Davids) en route). He settled on the Island of Aran Mor where the
Irish came to know him as St. Mo-Chop. After Aran, Cybi and his
followers moved to Meath and then Mochop, but each time they were
hounded by a local presbyter. So, Cybi sailed for Wales once more.
He landed on the
Lleyn Peninsula and lived for a while at Llangibi near Pwllheli.
Here the local King, Maelgwn Gwynedd,
came across him while out hunting a certain goat. Cybi used his
charms to pacify the King's anger at finding an unapproved Christian
community in his kingdom, and even persuaded him to give the saint
one of his palaces, at what became Caer-Gybi on Ynys-Gybi. Cybi and
his followers settled here and established a thriving monastery. The
Cornishman became a firm friend of St. Seiriol who lived on the
opposite side of Ynys Mon (Anglesey), and the two would often meet
up for prayers at the Clorach Wells in Llandyfrydog in the centre of
the island. This journey, with his face to the sun, allowed St. Cybi
to nurture an enviable tan. Hence his epithet of 'Felyn'.
St. Cybi is said
to have attended the Synod of Llandewi Brefi in AD 545, where his
advice was sought by a number of priests hoping to make a pilgrimage
to Ynys Enlli (Bardsey
Island). The men were worried about Saxon pirates, but the saint
persuaded them that if their faith was strong enough they had
nothing to fear. While in Dyfed, Cybi founded the Church of Llangybi
near Lampeter. He died on 8th November AD 555 and was buried on Ynys