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St Julitta's
Capel Curig - the Heart of Snowdonia

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For more information and details of events and exhibitions visit St Julitta's new website at :
www.stjulittas.org


St Julitta's Church standing near the junction of the Afon Llugwy with the Nant y Gwryd just below the outfall from Llynau Mymbyr is the smallest in Snowdonia and is now a registered charity ( no. 1068756) - "Friends of St Julitta's Church"

The Friends of St Julitta's have been working to renovate and conserve the church building for the benefit of public, residents and visitors. They are also responsible for the maintenance of the churchyard - for more information , or to join the Friends, you can e-mail them by clicking here

History of the Church

Originally known as Curig's Chapel it gave its name to the hamlet of Capel Curig - the early chapel would have been of timber and wattle construction possibly on this site at the first crossing of the river. At the foot of the mountain, at some distance to the church, stood Gell y Mynach, a monks cell probably attached to the priory at Beddgelert. Tradition has it that this was the residence of the monk who ministered here in the middle ages.

The main building of the current church is likely to be the work of the 13th and 14th centuries, and retains the "double square" plan of nave and chancel. The South chapel was added around 1500; the bell turret, the present door and window openings in the 19th century - the bell is dated 1623.

Until 1848, Capel Curig formed a chapelry in the parish of Llandegai but was administered by the priest from Dolwyddelan. with the growing number of visitors to Capel Curig in the 19th century the old church became too small to accommodate the congregation and a new church was opened in 1883. The new church was dedicated to St. Curig, the boy martyr and the dedication of the old church was then changed to St. Julitta - Curig's mother

The old church remained in use until the 1970's when it was deconsecrated. The Friends of St. Julitta's leased the building from the Church of Wales in 1998 with the aim of preserving the building, and restoring it for use by the community and visitors to the area.

The Churchyard

The cemetery is the last resting place for generations of people from Capel Curig and many of those killed in mountain accidents. On its grave stones is written a rich history of the people, their homes and places of work.

The churchyard is also a haven for a wide range of insects, birds, mammals and plants - it is being managed with conservation in mind in the interests of wildlife.

Architecture

The plan of the original church is typical of old churches in Snowdonia and now unique in the district - the only example where the double square (the length is twice the width) has not been altered in later times.

The church was created by the people of Capel Curig, financed by them and built by its craftsmen and represents the simplicity and essence of the settlement in early days.

Saints Curig and Julitta


Curig Lwyd (Curig the Blessed) is believed to have been a 6th century bishop of Llanbadarn, Wales where several churches are dedicated to his honour. But in Norman times the dedication to the Welsh saint gave place as in other Welsh churches to the child martyr Cyriacus ( or Cyricus) and his mother Julitta.

When persecution against Christians was raging under the 4th century Roman emperor Diocletian a wealthy and pious noblewoman named Julitta was widowed with a three year old son named Cyricus. As a Christian Julitta decided that life in her native Iconium (in central Turkey) was too dangerous.

Taking her son and two maids she fled to Seleucia and to her alarm found that the governor, Alexander, was savagely persecuting Christians. The four fugitives journeyed on to Tarsus but unfortunately Alexander was paying a visit to that city when the fugitives were recognised and arrested.

Julitta was put on trial and brought her young son with her to the courtroom. She refused to answer any questions about herself except to say that she was a Christian. The court pronounced that Julitta was to be stretched on a rack and then beaten. The guards about to lead Julitta away separated the son Cyricus from his mother - the child was crying and the governor Alexander in a vain attempt to pacify him took Cyricus on his knee.

Terrified and longing to run back to his mother Cyricus kicked the governor and scratched his face. Alexander stood up in rage and flung the toddler down the steps of the tribune - fracturing the boys skull and killing him.

Cyricus's mother did not weep - instead she thanked God and went cheerfully to torture and death. Her son had been granted the crown of martyrdom. This made the governor even angrier and he decreed that Julitta's sides should be ripped apart with hooks and then be beheaded.

Both Julitta and Cyricus were flung outside the city on the heap of criminals bodies but the maids rescued the corpses of the mother and child and buried them in a nearby field.

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