Aaron of Aleth

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Saint Aaron of Aleth

Hermit and Abbot

Date of Birth : Unknown
Place of Birth: The British Isles, exact location Unknown, perhaps Wales
Died: after 552
Where: Saint-Malo, Brittany, France
Honored in: Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast: 22 June

Saint Aaron of Aleth (or, in Breton, Saint Aihran) was a mid-sixth century hermit, monk and abbot at a monastery on Cézembre, a small island near Aleth, opposite Saint-Malo in Brittany, France. Some sources say that he was born of British stock in Armorican Domnonia.

Aaron was a Welshman who lived in solitude near Lamballe and Pleumeur-Gautier, before finally settling in Aleth. He attracted numerous visitors while there, including Saint Malo, it is said, in 544, and became their abbot. He died soon afterwards. Saint Malo then succeeded to the spiritual rule of the district subsequently known as Saint-Malo, and was consecrated first Bishop of Aleth. Aaron’s feast day is 22 June. He is mentioned in Les Vies des Saints de Bretagne.

Source Wikipedia

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From Baring-Gould:

‘A saint, presumedly from Wales, in the first half of the sixth century in Armorican Domnonia, where he is venerated.

He is locally known as Aihran ; the Latin form of the name is Aaron. He made a settlement a few miles north-east of Lamballe, where he is still commemorated as titular saint of the parish.

To the west, in Cotes du Nord, is a chapel dedicated to him, that may indicate his presence there for a while, at Pleumeur-Gautier, on the tongue of land between the river Trieux and that of Treguier. But he would seem to have retired in old age to an islet near the ancient city of Aleth, at the mouth of the Rance. Off this coast are several islands, the largest being Cesambre, on which a colony of Irish monks was settled under an abbot named Festivus.

‘The islet, now occupied by the town of Saint Malo, was then much more considerable in extent than at present. It has been reduced by the action of the sea. At the time when Aaron was there, a vill or two was situated on it ; they have been submerged.

‘The town of Aleth was either abandoned by its ancient inhabitants or was occupied only by pagans. Bili, author of a Life of Saint Malo, asserts the former, but this is inconsistent with the rest of the narrative, and is in contradiction with the statement in another Life which says, “Civitas illa eo tempore populis et navalibus commerciis frequenta.”

‘According to the most trustworthy Lives of S. Malo, this latter saint, on leaving Britain with his companions, came to that isle where was Aihran or Aaron, and there remained for a considerable time till elected Bishop of Aleth ; but Bili says that it was not till later that he paid Aaron a visit. The former authority is best ; according to it, “ingressus insulam vocabulo Aaronis, ab ipso monacho nuncupatam, exceptus est ab ipso officiosisime.”

‘Here Aaron lived, as says Bili, “desiring to avoid the sight and conversation of bad men.” Possibly his mission had not been very successful, and he himself may have been broken with age. He gladly welcomed Malo as coming from Wales, and as having the energy of youth, to enable him to overcome the obstacles that had been perhaps too great for himself. Aihran died in the middle of the sixth century.

‘The chapel of Saint Aaron at Saint Malo stands on the highest point of what was once the island that bore his name. It is surrounded lofty houses, and has been threatened with destruction. Mass is said in it every year on June 22. There was formerly a chapel of S. Aaron at Ploemeur in Morbihan, in the hamlet now called Saint Deron.

At Saint Aaron (Cotes du Nord) is a statue of him. He is represented habited in a long monastic garment, girded with a cord, his head bare. His right hand holds a book, in the left is a pastoral crook.

Although titular saint of the parish, he has been displaced to make way for S. Sebastian, and his pardon suppressed. There is a fine painting in the Cathedral of S. Malo representing the reception of Machu by S. Aaron.

From Catholicexpert :

Saint Aaron, sometimes known as Saint Aihran, was born in Armorican Domnonia, which was a kingdom of Great Britain. His birth occured in the sixth century, but their is some uncertainty that surrounds Saint Aaron’s definite place of birth.

Aaron was brought up in a Christian family and decided one day to move by himself to a deserted, tiny island close to his home in France. Saint Aaron believed that a life cut off from the outside world would be the best way to devote his life to God. Aaron actually succeeded in living his secluded lifestyle for a period of time, until people in France began to heard of his ways and became interested.

Aaron’s intense devoutness impressed large numbers of people and made them want to join him. They wanted to be taught by Aaron how to become closer to the Lord.

Have you ever heard of Saint Malo? Well he was one of the many people who became compelled to visit Aaron on the small island of Cézembre. And he did just that around the year 544. Cézembre was only possible to by reached at a low tide. So Malo waited until the tide was low, and made the quest out to see Aaron. Saint Aaron kindly greeted Malo and invited him into his home. Malo and Aaron spoke for many hours on end, and Malo would begin traveling back and forth between Cézembre and France helping Aaron to increase people’s knowledge of God.

Saint Malo was the very first person to go see Aaron on Cézembre, and ultimately become his student. Once people heard from Malo and saw what he had been learning from Aaron, many flocked to Cézembre to become students of Aaron’s as well. The great numbers of men coming to join Aaron and Malo on the island led to the building of a monastery. Aaron remained on the island as a head figure for the monastery and a religious guide for all those who came to join.

Not too long after the building of the monastery, Aaron would die. His death was natural, but nonetheless it was deeply saddening for all those who knew him. Saint Malo took over the monastery and continued to teach all those who wanted to learn more about God.

Cézembre bore Aaron’s name for a long time after he passed away as a tribute to him. This only changed after the land surrounding Cézembre was left unpopulated for a long time around 1150.

Have you ever heard of a saint that was canonized “pre-congregation”? Well this is what Saint Aaron is, and it simply means that Aaron was made a saint before the time of the present day church and it’s set-up.

Saint Aaron is the patron saint of anybody who lives a passionate and steadfast life, and his feast day falls on the 21st of June.

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Last updated: May 1, 2014 at 14:58 pm

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