Brendan the Navigator

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Saint Brendan the Voyage (or Navigator), was a sixth-century Irish Orthodox monk. He was perhaps the first Orthodox Christian to set foot on Canadian soil, and as such, is the first of the saints to set foot in North America. He is also known as Saint Brendan of Clonfert. He is remembered by the Church on May 16.


St Brendan was born around 484 at Tralee in Kerry, Ireland. He founded several monasteries in Ireland, including Cluain Ferta Brenaind (or Clonfert) in County Galway. His missionary and pastoral travels took him on voyages to the Scottish islands, and possibly to Wales. He reposed in peace in 577.

A Latin chronicle of the early ninth century, Navigatio Brendani (The Voyage of Brendan), made him the hero of a Christian adventure that included voyages to unknown lands far to the west of Ireland. The account indicates that Irish voyagers visited America as early as the 8th century, before the Vikings; but whether St Brendan himself made these voyages is disputed.


Troparion (Tone 4) [1]

The Divine Likeness has been perfected in thee, O holy Father Brendan,
For taking up the Cross thou hast followed Christ,
And by thy deeds thou hast taught us to disdain the flesh for it passes away,
But to cultivate the soul for it is immortal:
Wherefore, O holy father, thy spirit rejoices with the Angels.

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