Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Saint Paternus

Latin: Padarnus
Welsh: Padarn
Breton: Padern
Born: Unknown
Died: c. 550

Saint Paternus was born in the late fifth century in Armorica, a region in present-day Brittany, France. He received a monastic education and became a bishop.

He is known for his missionary activities. He traveled throughout western France and Brittany, preaching the Christian faith and establishing monastic communities, such as the monastery of Llanbadarn Fawr in present-day Wales, which became an important center of learning and spirituality. Dyfed, in Wales, was historically part of the Kingdom of Ceredigion.

Several miracles and legends are associated with Saint Paternus. One of the most famous is the story of him calming a storm while at sea by making the sign of the cross. Another legend tells of him turning a pagan altar into a Christian one.

He passed into the Arthurian legends through a single instance when it was said that Arthur had tried to procure Paternus’s tunic. The ground opened and swallowed the King, and he was released only after he had begged forgiveness and repented of his sin.

The traditional pedigree of Cunedda makes Paternus the son of Tacitus and father of Aeturnus, but it appears that this character may be a separate one from Saint Paternus.