Life of St. Efflam

Saint Efflamm, a semi-legendary figure of penitence, was born in Britain and later died in Brittany, with his feast day on 6 November. His story, steeped in legend and tradition, primarily originates from an 11th-century account crafted by the Treguier scriptorium. According to this narrative, Efflam was the son of an Irish king, born in 448. Despite being married at a young age to Enora, he took a vow of chastity, assisted by an angel to resist temptation. Eventually, he fled to Brittany, landing at Plestin-les-Grèves in Trégor, where he lived for some time with Saint Gestin.

Another version of the tale suggests that Efflam, under his father’s orders, married a Saxon monarch’s daughter to forge peace, but they never consummated their marriage. Instead, Efflam and Enora, after arriving in Ireland, dedicated themselves to God in a hermitage in a forest.

Efflam passed away in 512, and his story was later recounted by Albert Le Grand in “Les Vies des Saints de la Bretagne Armorique” (1636). The narrative details Efflam and his companions’ journey across the sea to Armorica, where they encountered a dragon in a vast forest. This dragon, which demanded royal blood each Christmas Eve, retreated when confronted by Efflam, who also aided King Arthur in ridding the beast. Efflam drew water from a spring in what is now Saint-Efflam village and prayed before the dragon’s lair, leading to the creature’s drowning in the sea. In another account, the monster was chained in the open sea under the Roc’h Ruz reef.

The legend symbolizes the triumph of Christianity over paganism and may have stemmed from the dangerous tides in the bay, likened to those at Mont-Saint-Michel, which caused numerous drownings until the mid-19th century.

Efflamm’s companions, significant in the toponymy of nearby communes, include Kirio, Tuder, Kemo, Haran, Nerin, and others. Their names are enshrined in places like Plounérin, Locquémeau, a chapel in Plestin, and Pors Mellec beach. Tuder, an Irish monk traveling with Efflamm, gave his name to the commune of Tréduder, where a church and fountain still bear his name.