Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fête of Cornely (St Cornelius), at Carnac, Brittany, France

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

Cornelius was elected 21st pope in 251 during the lull in the persecution of the emperor Trajan Decius.

Cornely is patron saint of horned animals, no doubt because of the similarity of the saint’s name with the Latin word for 'horn', but also a remnant of pre-Christian worship of the horned god, who to the Celts was the similarly named Cernunnos (the Stag Lord).

According to tradition, when Cornelius was being pursued by the emperor's forces, he looked behind and saw the ranks of soldiers coming over the crest of a hill. With the sign of the Cross of Christ, he turned them to stone, each one a menhir, or standing stone, forming the megalithic Alignement de Carnac (pictured above; click to enlarge). A church was built on this site, and at midnight at Carnac on this day, the oxen are blessed in a shrine dedicated to the saint, and all kinds of horned animals are processed among Carnac's pre-Celtic menhirs, then around and even within the church ...

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