Who Was St. Enoder

St Enoder (also known as Tenenan, Tinidor and Ternoc)

As a young man, newly ordained, St Carantoc left his native Wales and travelled to Ireland, where he was to stay for many years helping a now elderly St Patrick build up the Church in Ireland. Carantoc established churches and monasteries, and many a noble family sent their children to him for schooling.

A child named Enoder, the son of an Irish prince, studied with him and when he had completed his studies Enoder was sent by his parents to London, to the King’s court, where the only daughter of the Count of Arondel fell in love with him. Enoder was a very handsome young man but had set his heart on becoming a monk, and he was desperately afraid that the Count of Arondel and his father would make marriage arrangements. To avoid the match, Enoder prayed earnestly that he might become so ugly that none would marry him. His prayer was heard and he became a leper. The marriage plans were aborted and Enoder thankfully returned to Ireland, planning to offer himself to Carantoc as an oblate.

Carantoc, having been warned by God of Enoder’s condition, was waiting for him. He welcomed him gladly and gave him a meal and then compelled him to take a bath. Enoder was embarrassed and afraid, but Carantoc was insistent. When Enoder entered the bath Carantoc touched his skin and he was healed. Enoder was upset to be returned to his handsome self, because he knew that his looks not only made him proud but also made him the object of desire. He was angry with his old teacher, but Carantoc just shrugged and said, ‘Now you don’t stink!’

From this moment onwards Enoder remained with Carantoc as his disciple. They left Ireland in around 520 accompanied by two other disciples, both of whom were named Columb, and travelled back to Wales and then on to Somerset and Cornwall.

On arrival in Cornwall they built an oratory on the north coast and from this base Carantoc sent his young disciples out to found their own parishes. Enoder established his first church near a spring and a settlement not far from the coast, while the two Columbs founded their churches nearby. It is believed that one of the Columbs was martyred in Cornwall and that after a few years the others continued their travels and went to Brittany, accompanied by Senan, Quenan and several others.

Enoder founded three churches in Leon, at Plou-bennec, Les quelen and Landerneau, and then as years went by he decided to take himself into retreat and built a little cell at a place now called Lan-Tinidor, not far from the tidal river of Ylorna. How long he stayed there we do not know, but as an elderly man he succeeded St. Goulben as Bishop of the see of Pol de Leon. The first thing he did when he became Bishop was to found a church in honour of St. Carantoc.

This is now the parish church of Carantec in Leon. In humility Bishop Enoder had himself represented as a little disciple at the feet of his kind master. Ever since, statues of St. Carantec have been accompanied by a little Enoder.