Saint Asaph

Saint Asaph
Born: 6th Century, Wales
Died: c600, Wales
Feast Day: 1st May (5th May in Wales)
Patron Saint:  St Asaph
Symbols in Art: Bishop with a book, Monk carrying hot coals
Also Known As: Asa, Asaf
Shrine: St Asaph Cathedral, Flintshire

Saint Asaph was the first Welsh Bishop of Asaph in Wales. Legend states that Asaph was born to King Sawyl Peuchel and Gwenaseth, daughter of Rhufon Rhufoniog. Although no story of his life exists, there are various points of interest in the region near Holywell that bear his name including an ash tree, church, well, and valley. He is believed to have lived in a hermitage in the area.   

From Jocelyn’s book of Furness’s Life of St. Kentigern (Mungo) we do know some facts about Asaph. When young Asaph served Saint Kentigern (Saint Mungo), who was Bishop of Asaph before Asaph, having been exiled from Glasgow and establishing a monastery in Wales.  He was alerted to Asaph’s sanctity when he asked Asaph to bring a piece of wood for the fire, after praying in the freezing river.  Asaph brought live coals on his apron showing no burn marks and this was classed as a miracle.  After Kentigern moved back to Scotland, Asaph was ordained as Bishop on the direction of Kertigern.

In later years Asaph established a monastery in Powys where he died on 1st May c600.