Church of Saint Rhedyw
in the Fourth Century A.D. - it is one of the oldest
churches in Wales.
Church is dedicated to Saint Rhedyw - or Rhedicus
in Latin, fl. 316 A.D. No early written history exists,
but there is a strong tradition that either he was
born in Arfon or that he founded the first Christian
church here. At one point in his career he was a
high official in the church at Augustodunum in Gaul
(Autun in modern France). His feast day is 6th of
July when Llanllyfni Fair is held each year.
Church of Saint Rhedyw in Llanllyfni.
was famous as a writer, and took a prominent part
in denouncing the heresy of Arius of Alexandria
in the early part of the fourth century. At this time,
the Church in Gaul was flourishing under the patronage
of Constantius and Helena, parents of the future
Emperor Constantine the Great, who made Christianity
the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Rhedyw (Rhedyw's Well), near the present church,
is likely to be an ancient pagan site rededicated
by early Christians. A place called Tyddyn Rhedyw
is close by. Not far away (near Nasareth) is Eisteddfa
Rhedyw where the saint is said to have lived for
some time and where his chair, his thumbprint and
the hoofprint of his horse may be seen imprinted
on the stone.
say that Saint Rhedyw was the father of Saint Garmon
of Auxerre, hero of the celebrated Hallelujah Victory
near Mold on Easter Sunday 430AD, where the heathens,
fearing that they faced a great host, were put to
flight by a small army led by Emrys Wledig (Ambrosius
Aurelianus in Latin) and a large number of chanting
monks led by Garmon (Germanus in Latin). Because
more than a century separates the two monks, it would
seem more likely that Garmon was "related" to
Rhedyw through the monastic lineage of Gaul.
many years, there was a single grave behind the altar
about two feet above the floor called Rhedyw's Grave;
but when the church was restored it was lowered,
and now it is covered by the pews in front of the
lectern. The chancel was expanded to its present
size in 1032 according to the date found above the
east window. But the other part is considerably older,
possibly the oldest church in the country.
the church facing the cemetery there was once a much-venerated
image of Rhedyw which is thought to have disappeared
at the time of the Reformation in the 16th century.
Tradition maintains that the top of the stile was
worn away by the knees of worshippers as they paid
homage to the statue of the Saint before entering
the church. This stone may now be seen set into the