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loose canons
There's a thin line between saintliness and madness. Here are inspiring tales of holy folly that laugh in the face of human wisdom... and also breathtaking examples of religious stupidity that fly in the face of common sense.

As told by Stephen Tomkins

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26: Agatha and Azenor: bosom buddies
capital ACCORDING TO EARLY MEDIEVAL versions of the legend of St Agatha, she was tortured to death for her faith after rejecting the attentions of a Roman consul, in the process of which her breasts were cut off. (They were restored to her by St Peter.)

She was consequently depicted in medieval artwork as carrying them on a plate, but then things got a bit confused, and misidentification of these items by the public led to her becoming the patron saint of bellmakers, bakers and volcanic eruptions.

Which brings us on to Princess Azenor and St Bunoc. When, in the 5th century, the King of Brest, France, was attacked by a snake, his daughter Azenor sought the advice of a nearby (presumably very nearby) wise man. Being a wise man, he told her to strip and smear her breast with olive oil and milk, an infallible ruse for alluring snakes. When the snake left the king and attached himself to her irresistible bosom, she should cut it off, he told her.

The snake fell for the Princess of Brest’s booby trap, and the King was saved. But the ungrateful so-and-so turned against his daughter, for reasons which to be frank I haven’t quite got to the bottom of, but I think had something to do with a wicked stepmother and an unexpected pregancy.

He threw her into the sea, shut up in a barrel. There she gave birth to a boy, Budoc, and her bosom was miraculously restored. Thus wondrously equipped she breasted the billows, feeding the baby and steered by angels and saints till after five months they landed in Ireland. Budoc grew up to become a missionary bishop back in Brittany. True story.

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st simeon
St Simeon
Don't forget to pay your respects to our patron saint, St Simeon the Holy Fool.
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