church wall

St Kentigern

St Kentigern, otherwise known as St Mungo – what do we know of him?

For a man who founded a city as large as Glasgow he had a very difficult beginning indeed! His mother, sometimes known as St Enoch or St Teneu was a Celtic Briton Princess of around the sixth century AD. Her father, Leddun, the king of Lothian at the time, was enraged when he found out that she was pregnant, which was said to been the result of a rape by a Welsh prince called Owain mab Urien; he blame her entirely for this, possibly because she refused at the time to name her assailant, and she was sentenced to death.

The first attempt to kill her was by throwing her off a cliff; she survived this so she was sent off in a small lightweight boat across the Firth of Forth, where she was expected to die of exposure. Luckily she was found by either monks of the monastery of St Serf, or by the saint himself; and she was brought to the monastery, situated on an island in Loch Leven. There she gave birth to her son Kentigern who was nicknamed 'Mungo' (which translates to 'the dear one').

The work of St kentigern

Kentigern was raised to venerate Christ and when he reached manhood he made it his life's work to convert as many souls as possible to the true faith. This was not an easy task in these Dark Ages but eventually he founded his own religious centre on the site that is now occupied by Glasgow Cathedral. He is recognised by many as the founder of the city.

If you look at the coat of arms of Glasgow the Saint is portrayed at the top. There are also fishes, a tree, a bell, and a bird. These were all important symbols in St Mungo's life.

The belt was said to being given to Kentigern by the Pope, for use at funerals, during his oilgrimage to Rome. Unfortunately the original no longer exists and it was replaced in the 17th century. The other artefacts however represent three miracles.

His miracles

St Serf owned a pet robin which died. legend has it that it was accidentally killed by monks who blamed St Mungo; his response however was to pray over the bird and it miraculously came back to life.

The tree represents an incident in his early life money was left in charge of a fire at the monastery during a winter. Falling asleep he allowed the fire to die out completely; he broke off some branches from a nearby tree however and created a new fire using just this frozen wood.

Queen Languoreth of Cadzow (which was possibly the lost Kingdom of Goddau) had lost her wedding ring and her husband suspected her of having done this deliberately; something that would have put not only her marriage put also her life in danger. She asked Kentigern if he could help; he went fishing in the Clyde, caught a fish and the ring was inside it.

The Saint is now celebrated every year on the 13th January, the reputed date of his death.

Covid - and the fast food delivery explosion

Tens of thousands of businesses were disrupted or even destroyed by lockdowns during the Covid epidemic but one business has boomed - deliveries of fast food.

Takeaway food has been increasing in popularity for decades but the lockdowns meant that millions of hungry UK residents were blocked from going to their local McDonalds, Burger King, Chinese or Indian takeaway to grab a fast meal. Restaurants, too, were closed along with pubs that made substantial parts of their profits from cusomers who enjoyed eating out, particularly on Sundays. These food outlets were allowed to stay in business however if they operated solely on deliveries - and fast food delivery giants like Just Eat and Deliveroo were not slow into capitalising on this. Soon tens of thousands of food delivery couriers were signed up, each with their hot food delivery driver insurance policies, to take burgers, curries, pizzas, and even full retaurant meals to families which, it seemed, had lost the art of cooking food for themselves.

The lockdowns ended but rather than fall, the number of homer deliveries actually increased, fueled partly by heavy advertising from the delivery companies. Whether or not this has been good for the actual producers of the food is debatable; customers that go to a pub or restaurant for a meal cooked by someone else invariably buy drinks, desserts, coffees and other high profit margin addons. Also, someone has to pay the wages of the food deliverers.

Perhaps the only ones to benefit are the heavily advertised food delivery businesses - and the insurance companies that provide the specialist (and certainly not cheap) insurance to the couriers at the sharp end.

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