We’re praying for the good people of Eltisley in our diocesan Prayer Cycle today. Their church has the unique dedication of St Pandionia & St John the Baptist. St Who?
If you Google Pandionia you’ll just end up back at Eltisley. There’s a secret here: try Pandwyna. You won’t find a whole lot more, but you will learn that St. Pandwyna was a holy virgin born in either Scotland or Ireland, and was a nun at Eltisley. Leland recorded that Pandwyna was a daughter of a king of the Scots, who fled from those who would deflower her to a kinswoman who was prioress there. She died in 904 and was buried near the St. Pandonia Well in Eltisley. Her relics were translated into the church there in 1344. Her feast day is August 26th. The dedication to St John the Baptist was added later.
Robert Palmer, vicar in 1575, destroyed the well and a year later was accused of taking church paving for his own use, permitting the vicarage to be used as an ale-house and playing cards when he should have been in church.
Happily the new Team Rector, Nigel di Castiglione, and his band of sisters and brothers are made of saintlier stuff, and – inspired of course by the Blessed Pandionia – I am sure they will be taking forward the mission and ministry of God’s Church as befits her memory.