The Shrine of St David, St Davids Cathedral, St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales
To understand part of the reason St. Davids is so special, you have to know a little about the history of the area. St. David is the patron saint of Wales. Legend claims he was born around 500 A.D. on the rugged Pembrokeshire coast of southwest Wales. He was the founder of a strict monastic order in the town that bears his name, and was the most influential clergyman in all Wales during the “Age of Saints.” His place of birth and the cathedral built in his name became one of the most important shrines of medieval Christendom – two pilgrimages to St. Davids equaling one to Rome.
The best known miracle associated with David is said to have taken place when he was preaching in the middle of a large crowd at the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi. When those at the back complained that they could not hear him, the ground on which he stood is reputed to have risen up to form a small hill so that everyone had a good view. A white dove settled on his shoulder, a sign of God’s grace and blessing.
In 1081, William the Conqueror visited St David’s to pray, and thus recognised it as a holy and respected place. In 1089, the shrine of David was vandalised, and stripped of its precious metals.
The restored Shrine of St David was unveiled and re-dedicated on St David’s Day 2012. The painted oak canopy installed above the shrine seeks to replicate an original thirteenth century construction. It is painted in medieval colours and decorated with gold stars to represent the heavens. The white roses, joining the ribs of the canopy, represent the beauty of the gospel which holds together both heaven and earth.