St. David's Cathedral (St. David's, Wales)
St. David's Cathedral is located in the city of St Davids (Tyddewi - house of David - in Welsh) in the far southwest of Wales, and is dedicated to David of Wales, the patron saint of the Principality.
The cathedral lies on the site of the monastery founded by Saint David prior to his death in 589 AD. Unusually for a Western European cathedral, it is located in a valley at the foot of a hill; rather than dominating its small city (modern St Davids is little more than a small country village), the cathedral is virtually invisible to passersby unless they are overlooking the valley. This location is said to have been chosen for its defensive properties, but the site was attacked and destroyed several times from the 7th to 11th centuries.
St. David's Cathedral nonetheless remained an important centre of learning in the early medieval period, and in the 9th century King Alfred requested help from St. David's in rebuilding the intellectual life of Wessex following his victories over the Vikings.
The present cathedral was begun in 1181. While architecturally important in its own right and an official site of pilgrimage for the Roman Catholic Church from at least 1123, before the current structure's construction (two visits to St Davids were equal to one visit to Rome), its modern importance from an Orthodox perspective lies in the shrine to Saint David behind the High Altar, which contains the bones of Saint David, Saint Justinian of Ramsey Island, and possibly those of Saint Caradoc.