Born to the Breton nobility. Well educated. Priest. Left his country to become a travelling evangelist. Settled to live as a hermit on the Isle of Ramsey near southern Wales, living with a pious layman named on Honorius; he moved in on the condition that all the women of the household were sent away.
He visited Saint David of Wales, who was so impressed with the man’s holiness that he gave him hermitages on the mainland and a nearby island. Justinian is listed on very ancient Welsh calendars of saints and martyrs, and the church at Llanstinan is dedicated to him.
Some wonderful stories have become attached to the holy hermit.
- Once some sailors landed at the island hermitage. They said that Saint David was very ill, and that they had been sent to bring Justinian to the mainland. En route, Justinian discerned that the sailors were actually devils in disguise. The saint recited Psalm 79; the devils changed to blackbirds and flew, leaving the boat to sail itself safely to shore where Justinian found David in excellent health.
- Justinian died when he advised his servants that they should apply themselves to their jobs. Goaded by devils, the three of them became enraged, assaulted Justinian, and beheaded him. At the place where the body fell, a spring of healing water emerged from the ground. The killers were struck with leprosy, and lived out their days in the caves and rocks near the hermitage. Justinian had already specified a location for his burial; a church was built over the tomb, and became known as a scene of miracles. Saint David later moved the body to his own church.
- murdered by servants
- venerated as a martyr due to the demonic nature of his killers (see profile above) and the assumption that their motive was Justinian’s faith
- “Saint Justinian“. Saints.SQPN.com. 6 August 2014. Web. 25 January 2015. <>