Monday, October 11, 2010

San Froilán

Last week Lugo held its major festival of the year - San Froilán.

Historically a harvest/market festival, it lasts all week. According to an interview I saw on TVGallego, since the adolescents had to stay home and watch the farm on the Stock Fair day, they all attended on Sunday - now known as Domingo das Mozas - Girls Sunday

So who the heck was San Froilán? From wikipedia:

Luckily, we have a short biography, in minuscule elegant Visigothic, copied by the deacon John, a contemporary. The copy is from the year 920, fifteen years after his death. Its author is unknown. Despite the laconic style, we can reconstruct the basic features of his life and character, stripped of the common adherences of legendary tales of the lives of medieval saints.

Born in the city of Lugo in Regueiro Dos Horta, in the year 833, and he chooses life as a student until he was about 18, in preparation for the priesthood according to the custom of the time.

Froilan, the Hermit

His spiritual life in crisis, he becomes a hermit, retiring to a cave in Vega de Valcarce, El Bierzo (now chapel). Meanwhile, rebellions break out in Mozarabic Muslim Spain. . . the young Hermit doubts whether he should stay longer in the wilderness.

The decision to end his reclusion was subjected to a test. If God suspended natural laws, it would be an obvious sign of his divine will:

Froilan introduced some hot coals in his mouth. The fire did not cause the slightest burn. God had spoken. From the mountains to the villages he was launched to spread among men the other fire that was burning inside him.

Froilán becomes so famous that he founds a monestary with over 300 monks in Vepe.
Alfonso III in Oviedo chooses him to create a chain of monestaries throughout the borders of Asturias and Leon to rehabilitate the devastated area after the reconquest.

Froilan employs his great initiative once again and takes it upon himself to travel throughout the kingdom´s lands. His indomitable attitude led him to found two monasteries near the border, a few kilometers from Zamora.

The first was that of San Salvador de Tabara, which gathered 600 monks and nuns. It was a double monastery, where the nuns, though strictly separated, had the advantage of priestly assistance and defense in case of invasion. . .

The second monastery, according to that biographer, was raised in a pleasant spot along the river Esla, apparently near Moreruela (Zamora). One laconic sentence added: .. 200 monks gathered there in devotion to the asceticism of regular life.

Frolán was subsequently appointed Bishop of León in 900. He died 5 years later in Leon and was buried in the Cathedral of León in a magnificent tomb built by Alfonso III.

He is often depicted in the company of a wolf, encountered on one of his many pilgrimages. A hungry wolf appeared one morning while the saint was deep in prayer. The wolf leapt on his donkey, planning to devour him, but was reduced to complete submission simply through the gaze of the Saint and his words of love and peace.

And so San Froilán removed the fear of both man and fire from the wolf and brought him into his service.


He is Patron Saint of both Leon and Lugo. Festivities in Lugo Oct. 4 - 12

Complete schedule for San Froilán 2010 Lugo

San Froilan in Leon

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