THE LIFE OF SAINT ARMEL OR ARZEL, Abbot and Confessor, 16 August
I. St. Armel, what Breton called Arzel, was born in cantref Pen Ychen (Roman Bovium - now Cowbridge approximately 11 km west of Cardiff in the Vale of Glamorgan (see the Llandaff Charters: "Pen Ychen" - corrupted to Pennohen) in the Isle of Britain, the same place as St. Pol de Leon, about the year of grace 482. under the pontificate of Pope St. Simplicius (468 to March 10, 483) and the Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno (474 to 475; 476 to 491) and reigning in Brittany was King Hoel I (since he was born in 491, it would have been his father Budig II, Emyr Llydaw).
His parents, as most nobles in the country did, sent him to school at the Monastery of a holy saint (Llandough - Welsh: Llandochau Fach - founded by St. Dochau in the Vale of Glamorgan) in which young children were boarded. Armel soon surpassed them in learning and science. He cherished all the virtues and with humility performed all the menial and disgusting tasks. He was assiduous in prayer, temperate in his life, modest in its clothes, soft & benign in his conversation, charitable towards his neighbor, compassionate of their infirmities, chaste of soul and body, patient when abused, in obedient to his superiors, respectful toward his elders, and, although still only a lay student, was equal in virtue and perfection of the oldest and most perfected monks of the Monastery.
There was one of his classmates who had been detained a long time with an annoying fever, but his mind was more cruelly tormented by a great temptations, which he had not been driving away with prayer, or fasting, or tears or other spiritual remedies. One day when he walking in the company of other pupils thought that by touching with devotion the edge of the robe of St. Armel he might be healed. When his fever lifted and his temptations vanished, he gave thanks to God and to Saint Armel, who begged him not to tell anyone.
II. Having completed the course of his studies, he returned to his parents, and with their consent, joined the priesthood, and, having moved up the sucessive grades, sang Mass. He lived for some years as a secular priest, talking soberly of his heritage and giving the surplus to the poor. But God, who wanted to be served in the state of evangelical perfection, gave birth to him in his soul a great desire to abandon the world. Just as he was entertaining this thought, he entered the Church, as the Deacon sang the words of the Gospel where Jesus said, 'Whoever wishes to be a true disciple must renounce everything he owns'.
He took these words as if they had beene uttered to him alone, and, having made his prayer, became all the more confirmed in his resolution. However, for fear of making the wrong decision and possibly choosing the kind of life which he already wished for, and thus be following his own will instead of God's, he went to the S. Abbot at the monastery where he had studied. He was called Caroncinalis, a close relative of S. Paul de Leon. Having recognized that his calling had come from God, this holy Abbot confirmed his desire and urged him to put it into execution.
S. Armel, having taken leave of his good Master, returned to his housecand to attend more freely to the service of God, resolved to leave his country, his parents and property, giving much of it to the poor.
But as he made preparations of his journey, God inspired many young men, with the same desire to go with him and live under his rule and discipline. So they crossed the Britannic Ocean and settled on the coast of Leon, in a haven called Aber Benoît (More likely it is Aber-Ildut (the port of St. Iltud) as this port is closer to Lampaul-Plouarzel, whereas Aber Benoît is 6.4 kilometers away), where he got off the ship, and, advancing along the ground about 2.5 km, built a small huts for himself and his colleagues at the place where, to present, is the Borough & Parish Church, which, in its name, called Plouarzel. There he remained until Jonas, King of Lower Brittany, was killed by the tyrant Comorre, who vexed and pillaged Leon
IV. Arriving at the land that King Judwal had given him, he built an oratory and a few cells for himself and some other clerics who came to this place to serve God under his guidance and direction. They lived in common alms and the charity which their faithful neighbors provided, and as a reward, they were instructed and confirmed in the Faith by their preaching, and by fulfilling the directives of their church, God performed many miracles by their sanctity, healing the sick in his name, so the door of their church contantly continually filled.
One day, St. Armel was walking in the outside and a woman, oppressed by a stream of blood, approached him, and having touched the hem of his robe, was healed. There was in these neighborhoods a horrible dragon, who had his cave in a small mountain, near the river Seiche, which carried on a great havoc in the surrounding country. St. Armel, regretting the damage that it caused to the peasants, prayed God to deliver them from this calamity, and the next day, having celebrated Mass, he put on his chasuble, then rode to the cave of the monster, which he commanded from God to leave. The dragon complied which he did, so he bound it with his stole and dragged him along the side of the river into his cave in the mountain and commanded the river to drown him. It is recorded that the road or path by which the holy man dragged the monster through the mountain is named Mount S. Armel which appears to be dry & barren, with where no grass grows.
V. God, wishing to reward his long work revealed to him the day of his happy demise. He gave thanks to His Divine Majesty, and gave notice to his religious followers, urging them to persevere constantly in their holy vocation and took them in confessio. The next day he celebrated the divine mysteries before all the people, and, after giving them the Benediction, took leave of them, devoutly receiving the last rites, waiting a few hours talking with God in devout contemplation and gave up his spirit to the happy hands of the Creator on the 16th of August 552. (Since Conmore was killed in batte in 555, this date is too early. The date 570 is given in Lives of the British Saints. This would make his age 88 at his death.)
His disciples washed his body and honorably buried him in his monastery, where the miracles God have continued to from his grave and his parish where his holy relics are kept three hours ride fom Rennes. It is devoutly visited the pilgrim, and the city of Ploërmel at in the diocese of St. Malo, bears his name, the Parish Church of that city is dedicated to the this holy confessor.