St. Constantine, King of Cornwall, Monk and Protomartyr of Scotland

English Language Study for Russian Orthodox Learners

St. Constantine, King of Cornwall, Monk and Protomartyr of Scotland (✝576?)
Feast Day – February 27 (March 11)

If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and
take up his cross daily and follow Me. - Luke, 9:23

Saint Constantine of CornwallSt. Constantine, according to the holy tradition, was a nephew of the famous King Arthur.  Constantine was born in 520, and in 537 succeeded his father as the ruler of Cornwall, a kingdom on the south-western peninsula of Britain.  As a young man, Constantine led a sinful life.  The king’s character, however, changed greatly after the death of his beloved wife.  Constantine grieved her loss and could find no comfort.  Once, he was hunting a deer in the forest.  The animal, trying to escape, took shelter in a hut where a hermit lived.  The meeting with the holy man impressed the king so much that he decided to convert to Christianity.  Soon after that, Constantine abdicated the throne in favour of his son, said farewell to all, and left for Ireland, the land of monasteries.  The powerful king chose the life of a poor monk.

Constantine worked in a monastery granary for seven years.  His responsibility was to grind corn and carry it from the mill.  Nobody in the monastery knew that a monk, dressed in rags, was the former ruler of a kingdom.  One day, as St. Constantine was sitting in the mill, he spoke to himself, “Am I really the King of Cornwall, who used to wear a helmet and breastplate?  No, I am not any more.”  His words were overheard by another monk who reported them to the abbot.

The abbot took Constantine away from the mill and educated him to become a priest.  Father Constantine spent another seven years at the monastery.  Then, he was given the duty of preaching the Good News to the people of South-West Scotland who, for the most part, were pagan.  By a river near Glasgow, St. Constantine founded a monastery, where he was elected abbot.  Constantine was a good pastor, and his steadfast devotion helped many to accept faith in Christ.  As he grew older, the saint prayed to God to give him a martyr’s death.  The prayer was answered during one of St. Constantine’s journeys as a missionary.  He was on the peninsula of Kintyre with another monk.  A group of robbers followed them, and, seizing Father Constantine’s companion, cut off his hand.  St. Constantine immediately healed the man with his touch.  The miracle made the evil men angry, and, after cruelly beating the saint, they cut off his arm and left him to die.  His companion called the other monks for help, and when they came, St. Constantine was still alive.  He comforted his brethren and blessed them.  The saint died from loss of blood.  The monks carried the holy body to the monastery and buried it in the church.  The church, known as St. Constantine’s, still stands and is one of the oldest in Scotland.

The exact year of St. Constantine’s death is not known.  According to Irish tradition, he died in 588; according to Scottish tradition, in 576.

Celtic Cross