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ST. CORENTIN, C. FIRST BISHOP OF QUIMPER IN BRITTANY
HE was son of a British nobleman, and being educated in the fear of God, retired young into a forest in the parish of Ploe-Madiern, where he passed several years in holy solitude, and in the practice of great austerities Marcellus, who subscribed the first council of Tours, and the several other bishops who came over with the Britons into Armorica, had continued to govern their flocks without any correspondence with the French, being strangers to their language and manners. These being all dead, it was necessary to procure a new succession of pastors. St. Corentin was appointed bishop of Quimper or Quimmer, which, in the British language, signified a conflux of rivers, such being the situation of this place near the sea-coast. The cities of Rennes, Nantes, and Vannes were reconquered by Clovis I., and subject to him and his successors, and only became again part of the dominions of the Armorican Britons in the ninth century. French bishops therefore governed those sees, and even the Britons who were settled in those parts. But Lower Brittany was at that time independent, first under its kings; afterwards under counts. The count of Cornouaille, (said in the legends to be Grallo I., who died about 445,) in imitation of Caradoc, count of Vannes, gave his own palace at Quimper to serve the bishop, part for his own house, and part for his cathedral. As low as in the year 1424. under an old equestrian statue in the lower part of the church, was read this inscription: Here was his palace.
St. Corentin was consecrated by St. Martin at Tours, says the legend, but that holy prelate died about the year 397, and the first colony of the Britons was only settled by the tyrant Maximus under their first king Conan in 383, and their last greatest colonies under Riwal, or Hoel I., about the year 520, when they recovered under Childebert part of what Clovis had conquered. It seems therefore most probable that St. Corentin received the episcopal consecration from one of St. Martin’s successors at Tours. He subscribed the council of Angers in 453, under the name of Charaton. Having long governed his church, worn out with his apostolic labors, he gave up his soul to God before the end of the fifth century, probably on the 12th of December, on which his principal festival is celebrated at Quimper, Leon, St. Brieuc, Mans, &c. His name occurs in the English Litany of the seventh century, published by Mabillon. (Annal.) His relics were removed to Marmoutier at Tours in 878, for fear of the Normans, and are still preserved there. See Dom. Morice, Hist. de Bret. t.1, p. 8; and note 13, 14, 19; Lobineau, Vies des Saints de la Bretag. p. 51.
Another ST. CORENTIN, now called CURY,
was honored in Devonshire and Cornwall. He came from little Britain, and lived a hermit at the foot of mount Menehent, which Parker, Drake, &c., take for Menehont in Devonshire. He preached to the inhabitants of the country with great fruit, and died in that place in 401. See Borlase, Ant. of Cornwall, &c.