Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Saint Mungo, also known as Saint Kentigern, traditional apostle to Strathclyde and patron saint and alleged founder of the city of Glasgow. Legendarily of Pictish religious origins, a pupil of Saint Serf, he takes credit for much of the Christianisation or re-Christianisation of Strathclyde and Galloway in the days before Saint Columba. His popular name 'Mungo', meaning 'dear one', was given to him by his ecclesiastical colleagues.
Saint Mungo is said to have arrived in Glasgow in about 540 CE. He built his church at the Molendinar Burn, where today's modern cathedral stands. Glasgow's current motto Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of his word and the praising of his name (often abreviated to the more secular Let Glasgow flourish is inspired from his original call to "Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the word".
Saint Mungo is said to have died in the early 7th century CE.
Saint Mungo is said to have performed four religious miracles in Glasgow, which are represented in the city's coat of arms. The following verse is used to remember these:
- Here's the bird that never flew
- Here's the tree that never grew
- Here's the bell that never rang
- Here's the fish that never swam
The verse refers to the following:
- the bird - Saint Mungo restored life to the pet robin of Saint Serf, which had been killed by some of his fellow classmates, hoping to blame him for its death.
- the tree - Saint Mungo had been left in charge of a fire in Saint Serf's monastery. He fell asleep and the fire went out. Taking branches from a tree and restarted the fire.
- the bell - the bell is thought to have been brought from Rome by Saint Mungo. It was said to have been used in services and to mourn the deceased. The original bell no longer exists, and a replacement, created in the 1640s, is now on display in Glasgow.
- the fish - refers to the story about a Queen who was suspected of infidelity by her husband. The King demanded to see her ring, which she had given to her lover and the King had subsequently thrown into the River Clyde. Faced with execution she appealed for help to Saint Mungo, who ordered a messenger to catch a fish in the river. On opening the fish, the ring was miraculously found inside, which allowed to Queen to clear her name.
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