Thursday, 31 December 2015

Saints Lochan and Enda of Kilmanagh, December 31

The Irish Calendars for December 31 agree in commemorating two saints, Lochan and Enda, along with Pope Sylvester. The Martyrology of Oengus reads:

31. Lochan and Endae.
Silvester, noble desire!
from their feast - no very feeble leap
let us strive to step to the calends (of January).

The scholiast notes:

31. Lochan and Enda, in Cell na manach in Hui Dunchada are those two, and in Cell maic Cathail in Hui Bairrchi, i.e. in Belach Giabrain.

The Martyrology of Donegal concurs:

31. A. PRIDIE KAL. JANUARII. 31.

ENDA and LOCHAN, of Cill-na-manach, in Ui-Dunchadha, or of Cill-mac-Cathail, in Ui-Bairche; and of Bealach Gabhrain. Lochan was of the race of Dathi, son of Fiachra.

The site of Cill-na-manach, literally ' the church of the monks' is in County Kilkenny, although there is another site of the same name near Tallaght, County Dublin. I haven't been able to discover a great deal about these two saints but they are mentioned in a nineteenth-century paper by the Irish cleric J.F. Shearman. He produced a most interesting series of articles under the title Loca Patriciana and attached an appendix on the Monastery of Kilmanagh to part ten of this. He writes:
Lochan, son of Cathal, the grandson of Oilill, K.I., 463-483, son of Dathi, K.I., 405-428, and Enda were connected with Acadh Finnech (December 13th, “Martyrology of Donegal"). Lochan was also connected with a church in the diocese of Leithglin, now Kilmacahil (Cill Mic Cathail), in the county Kilkenny. The Abbot Garbhan, the friend of St. Kevin, was of this monastery. 
Rev. J. F. Shearman, Loca Patriciana - Part X, Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland, 4th series, Vol. 4, (1876-8) 88-9. 

I think the writer has accidentally misquoted the Martyrology of Donegal to read December 13 instead of 31.

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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Saint Aileran the Wise of Clonard, December 29

December 29 sees the commemoration of one of the great scholars of the monastic school of Clonard - Aileran  (also known as Aireran ) the Wise. The Martyrology of Oengus records:

29. Swift will be their aid:
at every hour may it shelter us!
Victor and a famous host,
with Aireran the sage.

to which the scholiast adds:

29. Victor, i.e. a martyr and pope of Rome.
Aireran, i.e. lector of Cluain Iraird (Clonard).

Archbishop John Healy gives an account of the life and works of Saint Aileran in his classic work on the monastic schools of Ireland:
The school of Clonard, too, for many centuries retained its ancient fame, and from time to time produced distinguished saints and scholars. St.Aileran the Wise, who, like many other Irish saints, died of the fatal yellow plague that devastated the country in a.d. 664, is described as chief professor of the schools of Clonard.

He was also, in Colgan's opinion, the author of what is known as the Fourth Life of St. Patrick, as well as of Lives of St. Brigid, and St. Fechin of Fore, in Westmeath. Moreover,he composed a Litany partly in Latin and partly in Irish, which O'Curry discovered in the Yellow Book of Lecain in Trinity College. Fleming, too, has published a fragment of a Latin treatise by St. Aileran on the "Mystical Interpretation of the Ancestry of our Lord Jesus Christ" This fragment was found in the Irish monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. It was first published by Fleming in A.D. 1667, and reprinted in the famous Benedictine edition of the Fathers in a.d. 1677. It may, perhaps, with greater readiness be referred to in Mignes Patrology (vol. 80, page 328).

We make special reference to this fragment because we have no other writings of the Clonard school remaining, either of St. Finnian himself or of his immediate successors; and secondly because of itself it furnishes ample proof of the high culture attained at that early age in this great Irish seminary. The Benedictine editors say that although the writer did not belong to their order, they publish it because Aileran "unfolded the meaning of Sacred Scripture with so much learning and ingenuity that every student of the sacred volume, and especially preachers of the Divine Word, will regard the publication as most acceptable (acceptissima)."

This is high praise from perfectly impartial and competent judges, and in that opinion we cordially agree. We read over both fragments carefully, that mentioned above, and also a "Short Moral Explanation of the Sacred Names,' by the same author, and we have no hesitation in saying that whether we consider the style of the latinity, the learning, or the ingenuity of the writer, it is equally marvellous and equally honourable to the School of Clonard. The writer cites not only St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and the author of the "Imperfect Work," but what is more wonderful still, he quotes Origen repeatedly, as well as Philo, the Alexandrine Jew. We cannot undertake to say that he was familiar with these two authors in the original Greek, but even a knowledge of the Latin versions in that rude age is highly honourable to our Irish schools. This fragment shows, too, that a century after the death of the holy founder scriptural studies of the most profound character were still cultivated with eagerness and success in the great school of Clonard.

Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum or Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars by the Most Rev. John Healy (6th edition, Dublin, 1912), 206-7.

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Sunday, 27 December 2015

Saint Tiopraite of Magh-ratha, December 27

We have another of the many obscure Irish saints commemorated on December 27. In the case of Tiopraite of Magh-ratha, the locality associated with him brings its own problems of identification. The Martyrology of Donegal records:

27. D. SEXTO KAL. JANUARII. 27.

TIOPRAITE, of Magh-ratha.

whilst the earlier Martyrology of Gorman says, rather more poetically:

27. d.

Tipraite fail findnoem

Tipraite a fair, holy fence

The index of places attached to the Martyrology lists a number of possible locations for Magh-ratha. The accepted wisdom has been to identify Magh-ratha with Moira, County Down, a locality said to have been the site of a famous eighth-century battle. The website Place Names NI sums up the latest scholarly thinking on the derivation of this place name, which is not as straightforward as it might at first sight appear. A nineteenth-century Irish antiquarian examined this matter and he mentions our saint in passing:

It also appears by the Calendar of Donegal, December 27, that there was another church in Magh Rath, dedicated to St. Tiopraite, but nothing more of it is known...


So, although I have tagged Saint Tiopraite under the Saints of County Down it's with the caveat that this identification is not certain. All I can say for sure is that his name is recorded on December 27 in two of the later Irish Martyrologies but when and where exactly he flourished remains open to question.

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Friday, 25 December 2015

'The High-King of Heaven was born in kindly Bethlehem at Christmas' - a 15th-century Irish Poem


Mary, the smooth white ewe, bore an illustrious Lamb in the stall of an ass; she merited not a mean cold lodging when the illustrious Lamb was with His mother.

The High-King of Heaven was born in kindly Bethlehem at Christmas; when He was born He took a course from the sun so that He warmed the world with His glowing heat.

The windows of the moon and ether opened at the tidings, so that the sun flung wide his doors, heretofore there had been a veil over his light.

The air was full of his radiance, 'twas easy to notice it, it was one bright grove of angels reaching to heaven over Holy Mary.


Quiggin, Edmund Crosby 'Prolegomena to the study of the later Irish bards 1200-1500'(Oxford,1911), 39.

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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Saint Maolán of Tullaghmelan, December 25

Among the Irish saints who celebrate their feast days on the Feast of Christ's Nativity is Saint Maolán of Tullaghmelan. Not much is actually known of him save that he is remembered as the founder of the church of Tullaghmelan. Diocesan historian, Father Patrick Power, writes of this locality:

Tullaghmelan Parish. 

THE Parish, which is about average size, lies on the north bank of the Suir along the Co. Waterford boundary line. Its name Tulaigh Maoláin ("Maylon's Height") does not appear ecclesiastical, yet it is the tradition of the locality that Maolan was the founder of the church. In fact, an effigy of stone still preserved in the precincts of the ruin is said to be his.

Rev. P. Power, The Place Names of Decies, (London, 1907), 353.

The Irish calendars record the saint at December 25 with the Martyrology of Donegal listing:

25. B. OCTAVO KAL. JANUARII. 25.

MAELÁN, Bishop.

whilst the Martyrology of Gorman describes him as 'great Maelán, void of weakness'.

The earlier Martyrology of Tallaght lists 'Melani episcopi' on this date, along with three other native saints.

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Saint Mochua of Timahoe, December 24

The Irish Calendars commemorate Saint Mochua of Timahoe on the eve of Christmas, although for some reason the Bollandists commemorated him on January 1. Below is a brief account of his life which quotes the Irish Martyrologies:

TIMAHOE
This place, which was originally styled Teach Mochua, derives its name from St. Mochua, who founded a monastery here in the seventh century.

St. Mochua was venerated on the 24th of December, at which date the Martyrology of Donegal has the entry: "Mochua, son of Lonan, of Tigh Mochua in Laoghis, in Leinster. He was of the race of Eochaidh Finn-fuathairt, from whom Brighit is (descended). Fineacht, daughter of Loichin, son of Dioma Chiret, of Cill Chonaigh, was his mother."

The Feilire of Aengus thus refers to him:- " 24 Dec. A waiting on Lucianus with my-Cua, a fair couple. Lonan's son chances (to come) to us on the night before Christmas." To which the gloss in the Leabhar Breac, adds:- " 'My-Cua,' i. Mo-chua, son of Lonan, of Tech-Mochua in Leix of Leinster, and of Daire Mis (?) in Sliab Fuait; i.e. of Teach Mochua in Leix, i.e. Mochua, son of Lonan, son of Senach, son of Aengus, son of Lugna, son of Breg-dolb, son of Art-Chorb, son of Tiacha, i.e. son of Feidlimid Rechtmar."

This saint died - according to the Chronicon, Scottorum - in 654, "A.D. Mochua, son of Lonan, quevit," but in 657, according to the Four Masters.

Rev M Comerford" Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin" Vol. 3 (1886)

There was also a northern link to Saint Mochua and the Armagh diocesan website has this account of the holy well dedicated to the saint:

St Mochua's Well, Derrynoose, Co Armagh

St Mochua's real name was Cronan Mac Lonain. His father was Lonan and his mother Fineachta, daughter of Loichin. He was born in 567. His pedigree can be traced to Eactach Finn Fuaith Airt. He was of Connacht origin, belonging to the tribe of Lugne, in Co. Sligo. In early life he was a soldier and perhaps a pagan. He gave up his military career to become a Christian cleric at the age of about 30. He established a monastery in Co. Laois where he spent another 30 years. When about 60 years old and wishing for great seclusion he set out for the north. He landed in the land of the Airgialla and finally settled in Derrynoose in Co. Armagh. There he built a church and spent the remainder of his life, dying aged 90 on Christmas Eve, 657. A Holy Well is located close by the ruins of that Church and has been associated with the Saint through the centuries to the present day.

St Mochua's well is located on the Fergot Road about half a mile south of Derrynoose Church. Today it is frequently visited by those with devotion to St Mochua, to bathe in the waters in hope of a cure. St Mochua is said to be powerful in the cure of eye complaints. Pilgrims arrive on three successive evenings after sunset, bathe in the waters and make devotion to the Saint. It is customary to leave some article at the well, generally the piece of cloth used in bathing.

Tradition or folklore tell us that the well was formerly on the opposite or south side of the road to where it is currently located but that some "malefactors" filled it with filth, whereupon it burst out on the opposite side of the road. It is also said that there is no spring in the well but that it has never been known to go dry even in periods of prolonged drought as in the drought of 1976.

(Abstracted from the Souvenir Brochure of the Official Opening of Páirc Naoimh Mochua, Derrynoose, 10 July, 1983.)

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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Saint Iotharnaisc of Clane, December 22

December 22 is the feast of Saint Iotharnaisc of Clane, County Kildare, whom we met last year in a post on Saint Ultan Tua. It seems that Saint Iotharnaisc also had a Scottish link, where he appears under the Latinization of his name, Saint Ethernascus or as Saint Athernaise the Hermit or the Mute of Fife. It is interesting that he retains his reputation for maintaining the discipline of silence in both countries. Dom Michael Barrett has an entry for Saint Ethernascus in his calendar of the Scottish saints:

22 St. Ethernascus, Confessor.

FROM his retired life and spirit of recollection this Irish saint was known as "Ethernascus, who spoke not," or "The Silent." He was one of the chief patrons of Clane, in the county of Kildare. It is difficult to determine what was his precise connection with Scotland, but his office occurs with a proper prayer in the Breviary of Aberdeen. The church of Lathrisk, in Fifeshire, was dedicated to St. Ethernascus conjointly with St. John the Evangelist.

Dom Michael Barrett, O.S.B., A Calendar of Scottish Saints (Fort Augustus, 1919), 180.

Bishop Forbes supplies the collect for the day from the Breviary of Aberdeen:

ETHERNASCUS, C. December 22.—

The Breviary gives only a collect. "O God, who didst will that the soul of blessed Ethernascus, thy confessor, should penetrate to the stars of heaven, vouchsafe that, as we celebrate his venerable birthday, we may, by his intercessions, be deemed of thy mercy, in respect of his merits, meet to ascend to the joys of his blessed life, through our Lord." There is an antiphon to the Magnificat, but no lections to the feast.

In the Irish Kalendars, under this day, we find, in the Felire of Aengus

Itharnaisc nad labrae.
[Itharnaisc who spoke not.]

In the Martyrology of Donegal, "Ultan Tua and Iotharnaisc, two saints who are (buried or principally venerated) at Claonadh, i.e. a church which is in Ui Faelain in Leinster." This is Clane, in the county of Kildare.

He is of Lathrisk in Fife, where we find a church dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and S. Ethernasc by David de Burnham on the v. of the Kalends of August 1243.—(Regist. Priorat. S. And. 348; 0. S. A vi p. 15.) The name Lanthrisk, or Lathrisk, contains evidently the Welsh Llan, which we find in Scotland elsewhere, as at Lumphanan, and Panmure and Panbride— the p and l being interchangeable, as we find in the Spanish where plenus becomes lleno. It is quite in accordance with probability that a Kildare saint should be found in the Church of Kenneth Macalpin. Thus we have a Cellach, at once abbot of Iona and Kildare, who died in 865.—(Grub, Eccl. Hist. i. 168.)

Alexander Penrose Forbes, D.C.L. Bishop of Brechin, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, (1872), 334.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Monastic School of Clonard

I now post part two of Archbishop Healy's account of Saint Finnian and his monastery of Clonard. The writer is in fine form as he introduces us to the 'Twelve Apostles of Erin' including the beautiful story of how Saint Finnian came to select Columba of Terryglass to be the man to minister to him at his life's end. December 13 is the feastday of Saint Columba and last year's post on his life can be found here. There is also an account of a later scholar of Clonard, Saint Aileran the Wise and his writings. The Archbishop finishes with a marvellous flourish against the Norman despoilers of Clonard and their Irish allies and strikes a wistful note in conclusion.

The School of Clonard.

St. Finnian seems to have founded his school at Clonard about the year A.D. 520, when he himself was in all probability not less than forty-five years of age. The place was previously a wilderness inhabited by wild beasts, which seem to have made their lairs in the dense shrubberies that covered the marshy banks of the Boyne and Kinnegad rivers. We are told expressly in Finnian's Life, that a huge wild boar, which had frequented the spot where the saint resolved to remain, abandoned the place for ever. The saint threw himself on his knees in prayer, crying out in the words of the Psalmist—" This shall be my resting-place for ever; here will I dwell for I have chosen it." So he built his hut in Erard's Meadow, where the wild boar had previously kept his lair.

An Irish school and monastery of the sixth century was, as we have seen, very different from the monastic establishments of modern times. Finnian began alone without, it seems, a single disciple. He built his little cell of wattles and clay, for stones are scarce at Clonard, and with such help as he could procure he also built his church quite near his cell, and in all probability of similar materials. We know, indeed, that afterwards there was a daimhlaig or large stone church at Clonard—for we are told that it was burnt down in A.D. 1045 no less than three times in one week, which is to be understood, however, of the furniture and the perishable materials of the roof. This stone church, however, was not built until the place had become famous by the life and labours of the saint. When the little church was built, he fenced around both the cell and the church with a deep trench or fosse which formed the monastic enclosure, and, heedless of the world, began to live for God alone in labour and watching, fasting and perpetual prayer. We are told that he slept on the bare ground, that he had a chain around his naked body which sank into his flesh, and that he wore the same old clothes until they fell to pieces from his back.

His ordinary food was a little bread with herbs and salt and water. On festival days he allowed himself some fish, or whey and porridge; but flesh meat he never tasted. It was not difficult to procure these luxuries; and what time he could spare from labour he devoted to prayer and sacred study, especially to the study of the Sacred Scriptures, for deep knowledge of which he became pre-eminently remarkable.

The fame of a life so austere and self-denying very soon spread abroad, and great numbers came to visit him. He performed many wondrous miracles; and, moreover, gave his visitors such heavenly instruction as showed that he was a man not only of great holiness but of great learning. He bad all the science of the saints, for he had been in the great monastic schools of Britain; some said he had been to Tours, others added that he had gone all the way to Rome— and these statements have come down even to our time, but unsupported by any satisfactory evidence. Then a great crowd of scholars began to gather round him; they were of all ages and came from all parts. Abbots left their own monasteries; even great bishops, some of them older than Finnian himself, left their cathedrals to profit by his bright example, and learn the lessons of divine wisdom that fell from his lips. To Clonard came all the men who were afterwards famous as "The Twelve Apostles of Erin."

Thither came the venerable Ciaran of Saigher, a companion of St. Patrick, to bow his hoary head in reverence to the wisdom of the younger sage; and that other Ciaran, the Son of the Carpenter, who in after years founded the famous monastic school of Clonmacnoise in the fair meadows by the Shannon's shore. Thither, too, came Brendan of Birr, "the prophet," as he was called, and his still more famous namesake, Brendan of Clonfert, St. Ita's foster son, the daring navigator, who first tried to cross the Atlantic to preach the Gospel, and revealed to Europe the mysteries of the far off Western Isles. There, too, was young Columba, who learned at the feet of Finnian those lessons of wisdom and discipline that he carried with him to Iona, which in its turn became for many centuries a torch to irradiate the spiritual gloom of Picts, and Scots, and Saxons. And there was that other Columba of Tir-da- glass, and Mobhi-Clairenach of Glasnevin, and Rodan, the founder of Lorrha near Lough Derg, and Lasserian, the son of Nadfraech, and Canice of Aghaboe, and Senanus from Inniscathy, and Ninnidh the Pious from the far off shores of Lough Erne. It is said, too, that St. Enda of the Aran Islands and Sinellus of Cleenish, and many other distinguished saints spent some time at Clonard, but they are not, like those mentioned above, reckoned amongst "the Twelve Apostles of Erin."

We are told in the office of St. Finnian that he had no less than 3,000 scholars under his instruction, and that, too, not meaning those merely who were there at different times, but that there were so many as 3,000 together in his school. It might seem at first sight that this was a rather extravagant number, and that it would be impossible to find suitable accommodation for so many persons in this wild spot. We must remember, however, not to judge things according to modern notions. There were no school buildings necessary in our sense,—no libraries, lecture halls, or museums.

The instruction was altogether oral. There were no books except a few manuscripts, and they were very highly prized. The instruction was generally given in the open air, and no more suitable place could be selected for the purpose than the green fields around the moat of Clonard. If the preceptor took his stand on its summit, or seated his pupils around its slopes, he could be conveniently heard, not only by hundreds, but even by thousands. They were easily accommodated, too, with food and lodging. They built their own little huts through the meadows, where several of them sometimes lived together like soldiers in a tent. They sowed their own grain; they ground their own corn with the quern, or hand-mill; they fished in the neighbouring rivers, and had room within the termon lands to graze cattle to give them milk in abundance. When supplies ran short they put wallets on their backs and went out on their turn to seek for the necessaries of life, and were never refused abundant supplies by the people. They wore little clothing, had no books to buy, and generally, but not always, received their education gratuitously.

The routine of daily life in St. Finnian's monastic school we can easily gather from his own Life, and from what we know of the monasteries in which he was trained. We are told in the Life that on a certain occasion he said to his beloved disciple Senachus, who succeeded him in the abbacy of Clonard: "Go and see what each of my disciples is doing at this moment." Senachus bowed his head and went; and lo! he found them all intently engaged at their various occupations." Some were engaged in manual labour, some were studying the sacred Scripture, and others, especially Columba of Tir-da-Glas, the son of Crimthann, he found engaged in prayer with his hands stretched out to heaven, and the birds came and alighted on his head and shoulders." "He it is," said Finnian," who will offer the Holy Sacrifice for me at the hour of my death," for his, it seems, was preeminently the spirit of holy prayer and meekness.

The study of sacred Scripture, as this reference shows, was especially cultivated at Clonard. It is the most sublime, and in one sense the most difficult of all branches of sacred knowledge. Moreover it is a study in which prayer and meditation can do more for the student than mere human wisdom. It can be best acquired at the foot of the crucifix, and its best teacher is the Holy Spirit of God. But human wisdom, too, is necessary, and all the aids which it supplies; and Finnian made use of that, also, for his own advancement and for the instruction of his pupils. From his youth, under the guidance of St. Fortchern, he had been a diligent student of the sacred Volume; he pursued the same studies in foreign schools under many teachers; God's Holy Word was food for his mind and a lamp to his feet through all his days, and in all his wanderings…

It seems to have been this power of expounding the sacred Scriptures to his scholars that secured for Finnian such prominence in sacred learning beyond all his contemporaries, and filled the school of Clonard not only with scholars but with masters in Israel, who came with the rest to acquire divine wisdom at his feet. Hence he enjoys in history the glorious title of "Tutor of the Saints of Ireland.” Of the Second Order of Saints, the men who shone like the moon in the firmament of our early Irish Church, Finnian has been always recognized as the teacher and the chief. He has been compared to the rose tree to which the bees from every quarter gather in order to extract the honey. His seminary at Clonard has been described by others as a wonderful treasure-house, where illustrious men from all parts of Ireland assembled together in order to enrich themselves with the wealth of ecclesiastical discipline and Scriptural knowledge. The hymn for the Lauds of his office has a stanza:

Trium virorum millium
Sorte fit doctor humilis;
Verbi his fudit fluvium
Ut fons emanans rivulis.

which may be imperfectly rendered in English:

"Before three thousand scholars he,
Their humble master, meekly stood;
His mind a mighty stream that poured
For all its fertilizing flood."

The Four Masters record his death under date of A.D. 548, but it may with more probability be fixed about A.D. 552; Colgan, however, thinks he lived until A.D. 563. The Four Masters frequently antedate by four or five years, so that the date of his death as fixed by them is really equivalent to A.D. 552 of the common era, which date is, we think, nearest the truth. In O'Clery's calendar he is described as "St. Finnian, abbot of Clonard, son of Finlogh, son of Fintan, of the Clanna Rudhraighe (Clan Rory)". Sir James Ware calls him Finnian, or Finan, son of Fintan -placing the grandfather in place of the father:

"He was a philosopher and an eminent divine, who first founded the College of Clonard in Meath, near the Boyne, where there were one hundred bishops, and where with great care and labour he instructed many celebrated saints, among whom were the two Brendans, the two Columbs, viz., Columkille and Columb mac Crimthainn, Lasserian, son of Nadfraech, Canice, Mobheus, Rodanus, and many others not here enumerated. His school was in quality a holy city, full of wisdom and virtue, according to the writer of his life, and he himself obtained the name of Finnian the Wise. He died on the 12th of December, A.D. 552; or according to others A.D. 563, and was buried in his own church at Clonard."

We could find no trace of his tomb, because in truth there is now no trace of his church. The hand of the spoiler has devastated Clonard perhaps more completely than any other of our ancient shrines. There was, we know, a round tower there, which is said to have partially fallen in A.D. 1039. "The Cloichtheach of Clonard fell," according to the Four Masters, in that year…

… From the time of St. Finnian to Stephen Rochfort, the Norman Bishop of Meath, who transferred his episcopal residence from Clonard to Newtown, near Trim, we have a chronicle of the bishops and abbots who sat in the chair of St. Finnian. It is not certain that he was himself a bishop, although he is spoken of in his office as Praesul and Pontifex.

It is much more probable, however, that he was a bishop, and his successors, though frequently styled abbots, seem to have been in episcopal orders; and all of them certainly exercised episcopal jurisdiction. The school of Clonard, too, for many centuries retained its ancient fame, and from time to time produced distinguished saints and scholars. St. Aileran the Wise, who, like many other Irish saints, died of the fatal yellow plague that devastated the country in A.D. 664, is described as chief professor of the schools of Clonard. He was also, in Colgan's opinion, the author of what is known as the Fourth Life of St. Patrick, as well as of Lives of St. Brigid, and St. Fechin of Fore, in Westmeath. Moreover, he composed a Litany partly in Latin and partly in Irish, which O'Curry discovered in the Yellow Book of Lecain in Trinity College. Fleming, too, has published a fragment of a Latin treatise by St. Aileran on the "Mystical Interpretation of the Ancestry of our Lord Jesus Christ" This fragment was found in the Irish monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. It was first published by Fleming in A.D. 1667, and reprinted in the famous Benedictine edition of the Fathers in A.D. 1677. It may, perhaps, with greater readiness be referred to in Migne’s Patrology (vol. 80, page 328). We make special reference to this fragment because we have no other writings of the Clonard school remaining, either of St. Finnian himself or of his immediate successors; and secondly because of itself it furnishes ample proof of the high culture attained at that early age in this great Irish seminary. The Benedictine editors say that although the writer did not belong to their order, they publish it because Aileran "unfolded the meaning of Sacred Scripture with so much learning and ingenuity that every student of the sacred volume, and especially preachers of the Divine Word, will regard the publication as most acceptable (acceptissima)."

This is high praise from perfectly impartial and competent judges, and in that opinion we cordially agree. We read over both fragments carefully, that mentioned above, and also a "Short Moral Explanation of the Sacred Names,” by the same author, and we have no hesitation in saying that whether we consider the style of the latinity, the learning, or the ingenuity of the writer, it is equally marvellous and equally honourable to the School of Clonard. The writer cites not only St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and the author of the "Imperfect Work," but what is more wonderful still, he quotes Origen repeatedly, as well as Philo, the Alexandrine Jew. We cannot undertake to say that he was familiar with these two authors in the original Greek, but even a knowledge of the Latin versions in that rude age is highly honourable to our Irish schools. This fragment shows, too, that a century alter the death of the holy founder scriptural studies of the most profound character were still cultivated with eagerness and success in the great school of Clonard. But evil days came upon this sanctuary of the holy and the learned, especially after the advent of the Danes.

It was plundered and partially destroyed some twelve times in all. But the Danes had half that work of sacrilege to their own exclusive credit—they plundered it on five or six recorded occasions. It was burned no less than fourteen times, sometimes partially, but on other occasions almost wholly, as for instance in A.D. 1045, "when the town of Clonard, together with its churches, was wholly consumed, being thrice set on fire within one week." On another occasion, in A.D. 1136, the men of Breifney, led even then by O'Rorke of the One-Eye, the husband of the faithless Dervorgilla, "plundered and sacked Clonard, and behaved in so shameless a manner as to strip O'Daly, then chief poet of Ireland. Amongst other outrages they sacrilegiously took from the vestry of this abbey a sword which had belonged to St. Finnian the Founder."(Four Masters.)

… His rival, Dermod McMurrough, who was not outdone in villainy by any other Irishman of the time, plundered and burned Clonard in A.D. 1170, and was aided in his foul work by Earl Strongbow and his friends from England; but next year he paid the penalty of his crimes, dying of a loathsome disease, without the sacraments, accursed of God and man, for the Four Masters tell us that "he became putrid whilst living, by the miracle of God, and Columkille, and Finnian, and the other saints of Ireland, whose churches he had profaned and burned" - truly a fitting end for such a life as his. In A.D. 1175 Walter de Lacy founded the monastery of Clonard for the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, but in A.D. 1206, as we observed above, Simon de Rochford transferred the See of Meath from Clonard to Trim and so the ancient glory of the place faded away until now it is merely a name known only to scholars, without even a broken arch or ruined wall to speak with saddening eloquence of its glorious past.

Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum or Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars by the Most Rev. John Healy (6th edition, Dublin, 1912), 199-208.

Content Copyright © Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Saint Finnian of Clonard, December 12

December 12 is the feast day of Saint Finnian of Clonard. Last year I posted a paper on his life from the Irish Ecclesiastical Record which can be read here. Below is another and very different account of Saint Finnian, taken from Archbishop John Healy's work on the monastic schools of Ireland. The writer divides his narrative into two parts, the first dealing with the early life of the saint and his monastic training in Wales. It ends at the point where he is led to Clonard, the second then deals with the school and its subsequent history. For writers of Archbishop Healy's generation Saint Finnian of Clonard was viewed as an Irish-born saint with a distinct identity. Modern scholars, however, wonder if he is actually a Briton whose cult was established in various places and that Finnian of Clonard, Finnian of Moville and Finbarr of Cork may all be the same person. Archbishop Healy provides a traditional account of our saint's life and will introduce us to many other saints along the way. Below is part one, I will post part two tomorrow to complete the story.

St. Finnian of Clonard.

St. Finnian of Clonard is set down first in the Catalogue of the Saints of the Second Order; and his School of Clonard was certainly the most celebrated, if not the earliest, of the great schools of the sixth century. It was the nursery of so many learned and holy men that its founder came to be known as the "Tutor of the Saints of Erin." Twelve of his most distinguished disciples were called the "Twelve Apostles of Erin," because, after St. Patrick, they were recognised as the Fathers and Founders of the Irish Church; and the monasteries and schools which they established became, in their turn, the greatest centres of piety and learning throughout the entire island.

Clonard—in Irish Cluain Eraird, and sometimes Cluain Iraird, that is, Erard's meadow— was very favourably situated for a great national college. Although within the territory of Meath, it was situated on the Boyne close to the Esker Riada, which formed the ancient and famous boundary between the northern and southern half of Ireland. It was thus a kind of neutral territory, open to the North and South alike; and both North and South availed themselves of its advantages.

Its founder, St. Finnian, was by birth a Leinster man. His father, Finloch, was descended from Ailill Telduib, of the Clanna Rory, hence his own patronymic, Ui Telduib. His mother's name, according to all the authorities, was Talech, and she belonged to the family of a Leinster chieftain. He was born at Myshall, in the Barony of Forth, county Carlow. The date of his birth cannot be ascertained; but if we are to accept the statements in his life, it cannot have been later than A.D. 470. When the child was born, his parents sent him to be baptized by the holy Bishop Fortchern, in the church of Roscur—Roscurensem ecclesiam. This Bishop Fortchern was son of Fedlimidh, and grandson of King Laeghaire. He was converted by Loman of Trim, shortly after the year A.D. 432, the date of St. Patrick's arrival, and being a skilful artisan in metal work, he made chalices and patens for the use of the new churches founded by St. Patrick. At the earnest entreaty of St. Loman, he consented to become Bishop of Trim after that saint's death, but he retained, it is said, that onerous office only for three days. After his resignation, he retired into Leinster, where many churches are said to have been founded by him in a district up to that time only partially evangelized. The Church of Killoughternan, parish of Slyguff, in the ancient Ui Drona, still bears his name; it is a corruption of Cill Fortchern. The town of Tullow, in the county Carlow, was anciently called Tullach Fortchern, and it is said that the saint had a school there, in which young Finnian studied tor many years.

When the women were carrying the child to be baptized by Fortchern at Roscur, it chanced that the holy priest Abban met them, and inquired whither they were going. They replied that they were carrying the child to be baptized by Fortchern. Thereupon Abban, moved by a divine inspiration, took the child and baptized him, giving him the name of Finluch, or Finloch, because he was baptized at the place where two streams meeting formed a pool of clean water. But the name Finnian was afterwards given to him as a more appropriate one—retaining the first, but omitting the second part of the compound. A cross afterwards marked the spot where the saint was baptized, and it was called the Cross of Finnian.

When the child grew up he was placed under the care of St. Fortchern, most probably at Tullow, and remained, it is said, under his care until he reached the age of thirty years. We thus see that St. Finnian was brought under British influence from his boyhood, for the mother of Fortchern was of British birth, and it was probably at the suggestion of his holy teacher that Finnian resolved to visit the saints of Wales, and perfect his education in the schools of that country. On his way, however, he stopped to visit a holy elder named Coemhan, who dwelt in the Island of Dairinis, in Wexford Harbour, and there he remained some time in the further pursuit of knowledge. Then taking voyage with some merchants, who were going to Britain, he set sail from Wexford, and arrived at Kilmuine, since called St. David's, in South Wales.

Here he had the good fortune to meet three celebrated saints, who seem to have exercised great influence over the mind of Finnian, and through him over the destinies of the Irish Church—St. David, St. Gildas, and St. Cathmael, or Cadoc, or Docus. As Finnian was trained, at least to some extent, by these holy men, and as they are all more or less intimately connected in many other respects also with the early monastic Church of Ireland, it is well to know something about their history.

Dubricius (a.d. 421-522), Bishop of Landaff, who was a contemporary of St. Patrick, and was consecrated by St. Germanus of Auxerre, perhaps at the time of his second visit to Wales, a.d. 449, or some years later, is exhibited in the doubtful chronicles of this early period as the first Archbishop of South Wales, and the great father of monasticism in Wales. His monastery at Llancarvan was the nursery of those great saints, whose names are still familiar both in Ireland and in Wales. Dubricius himself was, it is said, a grandson of that Brychan, who has given his name to Brecknockshire, and who was by birth an Irish chieftain, though settled in Wales. It is certain that the Irish monks, like Finnian, found a warm welcome in Llancarvan, both during the life of Dubricius, as well as after his death; and in that celebrated college were trained many Irish saints, who afterwards carried its learning and its discipline to their native land.

St. David, Archbishop of Menevia, is the most striking figure amongst the Cambro-British saints, and his memory is still venerated by all true Welshmen of every religious sect. Ricemarch, his successor in the See of St. David's towards the close of the tenth century, has written his life, which was afterwards dressed up in more elegant language by the celebrated Gerald Barry. St. David was born about the middle of the fifth century, and lived, it seems, till the middle of the sixth. His father was Sanctus or Xantus, Prince of Ceretica, and his mother was Nonna, a religious, forcibly carried off by this rude prince, who was captivated by her beauty. The child was born at Old Menevia, near the place where he afterwards founded his cathedral city at the extremity of that bare and bold promontory which overlooks St. George's Channel. St. Ailbe of Emly just then happened to arrive by divine guidance at Menevia, and he baptized the child. The young David was at first a pupil of St. Iltutus, and afterwards of Paulinus, who were both, it seems, disciples of St. Germanus of Auxerre.

In course of time David founded a great college of his own at a place called by Gerald Barry, ‘Vallis Rosina,' which may mean either the 'Marshy Valley,' or the 'Valley of Roses,' for rhos is a swamp, and rhosyn means a rose. It was, we are told, to this seminary that Finnian came on his first arrival in Wales. St. David afterwards became so celebrated that he succeeded Dubricius as Archbishop of Caerleon-upon-Usk; but with the permission of King Arthur, who was his near relative, he changed the seat of his Episcopal Chair from the City of the Legions to Menevia, which was at once his birthplace and monastic home, during what he doubtless regarded as the happiest and holiest years of his life.

It is said that Finnian also met Cathmael, as well as David and Gildas, at the city of Killmuine in Britain. Killmuine of the Irish Lives is the exact equivalent of the Latin Ecclesia Menevensis, called in Welsh Mynyw or Miniu. The old monastic buildings still surround the cathedral, but are now much dilapidated. Gerald Barry, himself a Welshman, describes in his odd incisive way, " this remote angle overlooking the Irish Sea, as a stony, barren, and unfruitful soil, neither clothed with woods, nor diversified by streams, nor adorned with meadows, but exposed to perpetual storms and whirlwinds—the storms of nature and the storms of war."

Cathmael is commonly identified with Cadoc or Docus, one of the most celebrated fathers of the Welsh Church. It is said there were two saints who bore that name; if so, Finnian's tutor must have been Cadoc the Elder. His mother was Gladys, the daughter or grand-daughter of the Irish chieftain, Brychan, who gave his name to Brecknock—so Cadoc "who has made a deep impression on the Celtic race," was not only of Irish blood, but was baptized, and trained up from his youth for many years, by an Irish anchorite named Meuthi, whose cell was in the neighbourhood of his father's castle. Afterwards he went to Givent in Monmouthshire, where he studied under another Irish master, St. Tathai. There he made great progress in learning and holiness—especially in the knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures, so that he was called Cadoc or Cattwy, the Wise. He was under Dubricius the founder and chief professor of the celebrated College of Llancarvan, near Cowbridge in Glamorgan. This became the most famous centre both of secular and sacred learning in Wales. A great number of young Irishmen crowded its lecture rooms, who afterwards became very famous in their own country, so that if Cadoc received much from Irishmen himself, he gave them even more in return. There can be no doubt that, as we shall see further on, be visited Ireland afterwards, and spent some time with those who were once his own pupils in Wales.

The influence exercised over the Celtic Church in Ireland by David, Gildas, and Cadoc may be estimated from the fact already referred to, that they are said to have given a Mass to the Second Order of the Irish Saints. This would seem to imply that these saints, most of whom spent some time in Wales, adopted the liturgy of the Welsh Church, which may have in some respects differed from the older liturgy established by St. Patrick. Finnian was the great means of diffusing the learning and practices of Llancarvan in Ireland. He taught at Clonard, what he had himself learned or seen at St. David's and at Llancarvan ; and thus became the means of diffusing the monasticism of the Welsh Church through most of Erin, especially in its southern parts.

The Life of Finnian given in the Salamanca MS. Records many miracles which he performed in Wales. By his prayers and his great faith in God he dried a lake to get a site for a monastery; he caused mountains to overwhelm the invading Saxons; he drove away the serpents, wasps, and birds that afflicted the religious men in the island called Echin, whom he visited in order to derive consolation from their life and doctrine. It is evident, however, from the narrative that he spent most of the thirty years of his sojourn in Britain under the spiritual guidance of Cathmael, and most probably in his great school at Llancarvan. The years being expressed in the manuscript Lives of the Saints by Roman numerals, are always liable to error—the addition of an X will make thirty out of twenty, and a double XX added by the fault of the copyist would make thirty out of ten. It is, however, stated expressly that Finnian having completed the XXXth year of his pilgrimage returned to his native country with Biteus and Genocus and some other religious men of the Britains, who followed the saint on account of the great holiness of his life and conservation. By God's help they landed at Magh Itha in the south of Wexford, at a port called Dubglais, whence they proceeded to visit his ancient preceptor, the holy Coemhan, who still dwelt in Dairinis. There was a Dairinis or Oak island in the Blackwater, which was known as Dairinis Molana; but the island here referred to is "Dairinis of Coemhan," as it is called in the Four Masters, A.D. 820. It was in Wexford Harbour; and, as we have already seen, Finnian when going to Wales spent some time with Coemhan in that island, so it is only natural that he should return to the scenes of his early years. From Dairinis Finnian went to visit Muiredach Melbrugh, King of Hy Kinselagh at that time, and sought permission to build a church in his territory. The king received Finnian with all honour and reverence, and sent him effective aid in building a church at a place called Achadh Abhail, now Aghold, a parish church in the barony of Shillelagh, county of Wicklow.

Leaving some of his monks to continue his work at Aghold, he went himself into the neighbouring district of Hy Bairrche, and spent seven years teaching and preaching at a place called Maonaigh in the saint's life. It takes its name from the Hy Maonaigh, an influential tribe who possessed that territory, some of whom having migrated to the North settled near the river Erne and gave their name to the Co. Monaghan. They are now known as Mooneys.

As we are told that Finnian, during his residence in this neighbourhood, sometimes preached before St. Brigid and her nuns, his sojourn there must be fixed before the death of that saint, A.D. 523 or 525. In his great love for holy poverty the saint refused to accept even from St. Brigid a gold ring, which she presented to him as a token of her esteem. Going still further north he founded another church at a place called Esker Brenain, which in the Irish fashion he fenced in with a circular mound and trench, dug with his own hands. One day he found beside his church a poor boy who had been carried off as a captive by some robbers, and was abandoned by them near the church. Finnian took charge of the poor child, and finding him a youth of good parts, diligently instructed him both in virtue and learning, gave him the tonsure, and made him it seems, his assistant, either there or at Clonard. After the departure of Finnian he became his master's successor in Esker Brenain.

Then an angel appeared to Finnian and told him that he was to seek elsewhere the place of his resurrection. Finnian promptly obeyed, and rising up, under the guidance of the angel, he came to the place called Cluain Eraird.

Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum or Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars by the Most Rev. John Healy (6th edition, Dublin, 1912), 193-199.

Content Copyright © Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Feast of the Birth of Saint Colum Cille, December 7



St. Columba then was born of noble parents; his father was Fedilmith, son of Fergus, and his mother was Aethne,whose father can be called in Latin Filius Navis, but in the Scotic tongue Mac Nave.

William Reeves, D.D., M.R.I.A., ed., Life of Saint Columba, Founder of Hy, Written by Adamnan, Ninth Abbot of That Monastery, The Historians of Scotland, Vol. VI. (Edinburgh, 1874), Second Preface, p.3.

Content Copyright © Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Saint Berechert of Tullylease, December 6

December 6 is the feast of Saint Berechert of Tullylease.  Last year I discussed some of the difficulties surrounding the identity of this saint, who may be one of the Saxons who came to Ireland after the Synod of Whitby. Below is a paper on his life from the Ulster Journal of Archaeology by Bishop William Reeves:



ST. BERETCHERT OF TULLYLEASE.
By W. REEVES, D. D.

The ecclesiastic whose memory is held in highest esteem in that part of the north-west of the county of Cork which forms the barony of Duhallow, is St. Beretchert of the Irish calendar, or St. Benjamin as he is vulgarly called in modern times. His festival is properly the 6th of December, at which day he is commemorated in the calendars of Marian Gorman and of Donegall as Beretchert Tulcha-leis, 'Beretchert of Tulach-leas.' He is not noticed in the more ancient calendar, called the Feilire of Aengus the Culdee; and the omission is an argument in favour of the early date of that remarkable poem, whose author is supposed to have flourished about the year 800; while the obit of the saint is assigned by the Four Masters to the year 839, in these words Berichtir Tulcha-leis decc 6 December, 'Berichter of Tulach-leis died on the 6th of December.' This date, if correct, will help to fix the age of St. Gerald of Mayo, who was his brother, but whose death is placed by the same annalists at the year 726. According to the life of this saint, he, Balan, Berikert, Hubritan, and a sister Segresia, were the children of Cusperius, a Saxon prince, and Bernicia his wife. They are represented as leaving England after the defeat of Colman, bishop of Lindisfarne, at the synod of "Whitby, and as coming over to Ireland with a great many followers. They first landed in Connaught, at the mouth of the Shannon ; afterwards they proceeded to the river Moy; and finally obtained a settlement in Mayo, where they erected a new monastery, or extended the existing one. St. Gerald, though not the founder, became in time the patron saint of Mayo, which was styled "Magheo- Saxonum of Gerald." Balan, called Ballon in the calendar of Marian Gorman, was the founder and patron of Teach-Saxon, that is, ‘House of Saxons’ a church giving name to the prebend of Taghsaxan, in the cathedral of Tuam, and now called Templegal, in the parish of Athenry. His day is the 3rd of September. Hubritan, or Uildbrit or Huiltbrith, as he is called in the calendars of Tallaght and Marian Gorman, was commemorated on the 24th of April.

The name of the other brother, being a Saxon one, is variously written in Irish authorities. The calendars call it Beretchert; St. Gerald's Life, Berikert ; the Four Masters, Berichtir ; and the inscription on his tombstone, Berechtuine. In a modern inscription at Tullylease, the name is written Bericheart, and in composition it appears in the form Kilberrihert, Kilberehert, pronounced Kilberrahurth. The name seems allied to Beret, and Ecgberct, and Brechtrid of Annal. Ult. 697. The local tradition about him is that he came to Tullylease from Cullen, a parish lying south-west in the same barony, where he had been some time in the society of three sisters, one of whom was called Lassar, and another Ingen Buidhe. The foundations of his house and church are shown there. Near the church is marked in the Ordnance Survey St. Laserian's Well, and it is said that stations used to be held here on the 24th of July, although St. Lassar's day is entered in the calendar at the 23rd, instead of the 24th. In the adjoining parish of Kilmeen, is the townland of Killasseragh, called from the same saint. The story is that the brother and three sisters composed a little conventual society, and that in their nocturnal studies or devotions, when fire was wanted to kindle a light, St. Lassar used to go to a neighbouring forge, and bring home the "seeds of flame" in her apron. But at length, happening to require a new pair of shoes, she went to a shoemaker, who did not disguise his admiration of the beauty of her foot, and thus ministered to her vanity, which being a sinful emotion, her apron lost its asbestic property, and the next time she went to carry embers, a hole was immediately burned therein. This was interpreted by St. Berecheart as a signal for his departure and greater seclusion; so he proceeded on his way, and journeying to the north-east, he placed his abode at Tulach-Leas, ' the hill of the huts,' now known as Tullylease, a parish at the north-west border of the county of Cork and diocese of Cloyne. The peasantry have a derivation for the name Berecheart, which is founded on a legend similar to that of St. Benen or Benignus of Armagh. They say that, on arriving at Tullylease, our Saint engaged in a public controversy with a druid who sought to hinder the conversion of the people; and it was finally agreed upon, that both should enter a hut built of inflammable materials, whereupon it was to be closed upon them and set on fire, and that the survivor of this ordeal should be considered the just claimant upon the popular regard. The legends of Benen and Berecheart thus coinciding, and furnishing a familiar etymology for the latter name, the real subject of the story seems, in later days, to have supplanted, or at least modified our saint's name; for, among the peasantry, and the crowds from all parts of Limerick and Cork who come annually to visit his "patron" he is known by no other name than St. Benjamin!

The legend of St. Benen, as given by Muirchu in the Book of Armagh, will prepare the reader for the local tradition of St. Berecheart:

[But after the performance of all these things in the presence of the king, between the Druid and Patrick, the king said, Cast those books of yours into the fire, and him whose books shall escape uninjured, we will revere. Patrick answered, I will do so. But the Druid said, I am unwilling to enter into the trial by water with him; for the water is undoubtedly tenanted by a deity, (he had heard of baptism administered with water by Patrick.) Then the king answering said, Try it by fire. And Patrick said, I am ready. But the Druid was unwilling, and said, This man, every second year, turn about, worships either the water or the fire as a deity. And the saint said, It shall not be thus, but you yourself shall go, and one of my disciples with you, into a detached and closed-up house, with my garment on you, and your garment on him, and thus ye shall be both set on fire. And the proposal was agreed to, and a house was built for them, half of which was constructed of wet material, and the other half of dry. And the Druid was placed in that part of the house which was moist, and one of the disciples of Saint Patrick, named Bineus, having on the Druid's garment, in the other part. The house was then secured outside, and set on fire in the presence of the whole multitude. And it came to pass, in the self-same hour, through the prayer of Patrick, that the flame of fire consumed the Druid with the moist half of the house, Saint Patrick's cowl alone remaining intact, for the fire did not affect it. Put Benineus, an the other hand, came off sale, with the dry half of the house, according to what is written of the Three Holy Children. The fire did not touch him, neither was he hurt, nor did he feel any unpleasantness; only the cowl of the Druid, which had been on him, was, by the will of God, burnt up.]

This is a very ancient legend; its writer flourished about the year 700, and it is in a book which was written before the year 807.

St. Berecheart's counterpart is as follows:

Hard was the test on which they settled:
A person from [each] person to put into one house;
Both ends of the house to set on fire at the same instant,
And he who was not burned, his God they were to worship.
Lest charms should be in their clothes,
They exchanged garments with each other;
Burned was the Druid, and it lighted not over Benin:
And then was given a judgment, righteous, holy.

These lines are given in John O’Connell’s poem on the antiquities of Ireland. According to the etymology contained in the last line, Berecheart is quasi Breith-cheart, “Righteous judgement”. Locally the derivation is thus given:

The Druid was burned, and not a spot was reddened on him. And hence he was called Beir-a-cheart i.e. Carry-the-right. Or, in metre:

He was not burnt,
But the Druid was, quite;
And hence he was term’d
St. Carry-the-right

On this story, probably, is built the vulgar belief, that stones picked out of the wall of what is called the 'Saint's House' possess the virtue of securing the bearer against fire and storm; and as a natural consequence, the little structure has nearly disappeared, for there is scarcely a cabin in the neighbourhood into the walls of which a stone from the sacred edifice has not been built as a religious 'policy of insurance' against fire ; and no emigrant thinks of leaving the country for a distant region without first providing himself with St. Berechert's life-preserver !

Every male child who is born on St. Berechert's day is called by his name, which is regarded as the Irish for Benjamin ! But the Saint's day has been unaccountably transferred from the 6th of December to the 18th of February. It could not have been owing to the employment of St. Benen's day, as of his legend, for his festival falls on the 9th of November.

The other places where St. Berechert's name is preserved are the following:

I. KILBERRIHERT, a townland in Knocktemple, the parish adjoining Tullylease on the southeast, also in the barony of Duhallow. The name signifies 'Berechert's church, but there are no vestiges of such now remaining.

II. KILBERRIHERT, a townland in the parish of Aghabulloge, barony of Muskerry East, situate to the south of the last. In the Ordnance map " Kilberrihert burying-ground" is marked in the demesne a little south of Kilberrihert House, and west of the Roman Catholic chapel. This old cemetery is now only used for the interment of unbaptized children. It contains no ruins or monumental stones. In another direction there is a holy well, which the peasantry call Tubber Berrihert, and sometimes St. Bernard's Well. St. Olan is the patron of the parish church.

III. KILBERCHERT, a townland in the parish of Ballincuslane, where the barony of Trughanacmy adjoins that of Duhallow in the county of Cork.

All these, however, were but inconsiderable stations in comparison with Tullylease, which was the principal church of the saint. O'Brien, in his Irish dictionary, calls it "St. Brendan's church of Tullaleis." But this is clearly another alias for Berechert, like the Benjamin and Bernard already mentioned. He is correct, however, in stating that the "O'Nunans were hereditary wardens or protectors of the church of Tullaleis in the county of Cork, and proprietors of the lands of Tullaleis and Castle-Lysin, under obligation of repairs and all other expenses attending the divine service of that church, to which these lands had originally been given as an allodial endowment by its founder." These lands, now the two townlands of Tullylease and Castlelishen ('Caislen-a-lishin,') have become secularised, and are held, the former by the Rev. Crosbie Morgan, and the latter by John Gibbings, Esq. and Sir J. Fitzgerald. But the Noonans, though they have ceased to be proprietors, are still numerous in the parish, and claim the chancel of the old church as their burying-ground; and one of the family still prides himself on possessing the guardianship of the edifice. Another Noonan, seeing a clergyman of the neighbourhood searching in the chancel for a piece of St. Berechert's tombstone, sent him word that if he disturbed his father's grave, he would shoot him! And there was a time when this preliminary message would have been dispensed with. But the name Noonan is a strange corruption from Ua Inmainen, its ancient and correct form. Of this we have proof in an interesting notice of Tullylease preserved in the Annals of Inisfallen, in which, at the year 1042, is recorded Dunadach hua Inmaineain airchinneach Tulcha-leis quievit, " Dunadhach O’Inmainen, herenach of Tulach-leis, rested:' a curious process Ua Inmainen becoming Noonan ! This is the only notice of Tullylease which the writer of this paper has been able to discover in the Irish annals, besides the obit of St. Berichter in the Four Masters: for it is a mistake to suppose that the entry in these annals at 804, where it is related that "Dunchu, abbot of Tulach-lias was slain," has reference to this church, as the learned editor supposed. The sequel, "the plundering of Ulidia by Aedh Oirdnidhe, the king, in revenge for the profanation of the shrine of Patrick, against Dunchu" shows that the county of Down was the scene of the transaction, and points to Tullylish, a parish in the diocese of Dromore, the Tulach-lis in Ui Eachach, 'Tullylish in Iveagh,' of the calendars at the 12th of May, where a reliquary called the shrine of Patrick seems to have been preserved.

According to Ware, a priory of Regular Canons of St. Augustin was founded here, at an unknown date, by Matthew Fitz Griffin; but it seems to have existed as such only for a short period, having been annexed to the great priory of Kells in Ossory before the fifteenth century; for in 1412, Henry the IVth confirmed the possessions of that house, and among them the " Ecclesia de Tyllaghlesche et terra sanctuarire." The rectorial tithes are now impropriate. The benefice is a vicarage in the diocese of Cloyne, and in the patronage of the bishop.

The old church, which stands in the parish church-yard, is in ruins. It consisted of a nave and chancel, the former 51 feet 8 inches by 30 feet wide, the latter 35 feet 4 inches by 23 feet. A window in the south side of chancel, and door-ways on the same side of chancel and nave, indicate the 13th century as the date of the building. At the western extremity of the nave, there are evidences of a habitation having been attached to the church, in the form of a loft or upper room. The door was on the south side, about two-thirds of the way towards the west angle. Prom this door to the angle there arc putlock-holes in the north and south walls where the joists formerly rested; and on the south side are the remains of the window which lit the chamber, high up above the other windows of the building. Leaning against the inside of the east wall, at the north side of where the altar stood, is the sculptured slab which is represented in the illustration that accompanies this paper. The old people of the neighbourhood believe it to have been the shelf of the ancient altar; but this is clearly an error. For, though more decorated than the generality of ancient Irish tomb-stones, its monumental character cannot be mistaken. It is a plain flag of sandstone, measuring three feet in length, and two feet in breadth. It is elaborately finished, and the edges well defined. Unfortunately, the upper corner at the right side has been broken off, and though the most careful search was made for it by the accomplished and zealous curate of the parish, it could not be found, and the only result was the discovery of some fragments of stone, having circular patterns of very great age, similar to those in the angles of the slab. There can be no doubt that it contained the letters IHS Jesus, as a counterpart to XPS Christus, which occupies the other angle. The legend below is in a rude form of Irish letter QUI CUM QUAE HUNC TITULUM LEGERIT ORAT PRO BERECHTUINE. The use of qua for que, and orat for oret, is agreeable to the barbarous orthography found in Hiberno-Latin records, where the vowels are written according to their value in the native pronunciation. Of the form orat we have an appropriate example in the colophon of an ancient MS. of the Irish school; and it may be remarked here, that the present legend possesses more of the style of a scribe's subscription to a book, than of the monumental formulas in use among the Irish. The colophon to the gospels of Mac Regol is - Quicumque legerit et intellegeret istam narrationem orat pro Mac Reguil scriptori. The form of the saint's name, Berechtuine, is peculiar, and is probably the result of unskilful carving. It might easily, in the hands of an ignorant stone-cutter, arise out of the correct form, as may be judged by the juxtaposition of the words in Irish character:


A rough drawing on stone of this monument was printed, for private circulation, in 1851, by Mr. John Windele, on a single sheet of letter paper; who, in the November of that year, kindly sent a copy to the present writer; and he having occasion to visit his birth-place, Charleville, in 1853, took an opportunity of going over to Tullylease to examine this interesting stone. He made a careful rubbing of it on the occasion, and having afterwards put it in the hands of his valued friend, J. Huband Smith, Esq. obtained a positive drawing, from which the accompanying lithograph has been reduced, with a considerable amount of artistic skill. Prom it the reader will be able to form a very good idea of this remarkable stone, which, though probably not so old as some of those represented in Dr. Petrie's Round Towers, is more ornate, and more historically interesting. Leaning against the same wall, in the middle, is another slab, on which is a coffin-shaped frame in relief, inside which stands out a figure of a man having a curled head of hair, a swallow-tailed dress coat, breeches, and boots, under which is engraved in modern letters,

B e r i c h e a r t 

The face is perfectly flat, from the repeated osculation it has undergone by the mouths of pilgrims and devotees; and thus serves as an index of the amount of veneration which is rendered to the saint, for the stone is hard and close-grained, and is not more than twenty years in its present position, the figure having been made by a stone-cutter of Charleville, about twenty years ago. The church-yard, it should be observed, is situate at an angle of the road, on its east side. In a field at the opposite side, about 100 yards distant on the north-west, is the Tobar Berecheart, or 'Well of Berechert,' having an old thorn-tree overhanging, covered with votive rags. This well is supposed to possess great virtues in curing diseases, and all around it are little crocks of ablutions, and other indications of pharmaceutical appliances. The writer visited the place on a broiling hot day, and being very thirsty, was about to drink from the well, when he received the timely hint that there was scarcely a disease, from itch to cancer, which had not its deposits in the pool. Close to the margin of the well, on the south side, are the traces of a small angular building, standing east and west, measuring about 28 by 18 feet in the clear. This is what is called Tigh Berecheart, or 'The Saint's House:' from its walls all the charmed stones have been supplied, and from its foundation grows the ancient thorn which overhangs the well. On the same, side of the road as the church, and about 120 yards north, is the Tobar Muire, 'Mary's Well,' where the people go their rounds before visiting St. Berechert's well. It is cased inside with blocks of oak, about three feet deep, rudely squared; and it is believed to have been formerly lined with lead. This well is called by the common people, Poll-a-mheir, i.e. ' the pool of the finger,' and it gives the name of Poulavare to the townland in which it is situate. The name is accounted for by the story that a certain sacrilegious person, having stolen the sheeting of lead which lined the well, was punished by the saint, who caused his finger to drop off into the water!

In a field lying to the south-west of the church, is a rude stone called Cloch na h-eilite, ' the hind's stone.' It has a basin-shaped cavity, with a small hole passing through underneath. There is a legend that a deer used to fill the cavity every morning with milk for the use of the workmen employed in building the church, but being watched by some inquisitive person, she kicked the hole in the vessel, and left the workmen to drink for the future out of the holy well.

A few yards from the burial-ground stood, in former times, a building called the Comharbach, i.e. ' belonging to the Coarb,' the trace of which is discernible, but only that, for the stones of the walls were removed some time ago by the present occupant of the land. It was probably the abode of the Coarb, or hereditary tenant of the church property, who was generally a cleric of some order.

All these religious spots seem to have been originally on glebe-land (though it is now alienated), and to have been enclosed by a circular fence, having the church nearly as centre. Tradition represents it as about 18 acres in extent ; but the Down Survey (No. 26 B.M. of the county of Cork, Record Office, Custom House, Dublin,) sets it out as 15 acres, 2 roods. The outline of nearly half the circle has been lately traced, and in some places the rampart is nearly perfect.

[For many of the forgoing particulars, the writer is indebted to the Rev. Thomas Olden, curate of Tullylease, through whose exertions, and partly on whose pecuniary responsibility, a new parish church, at a cost of £640 has been lately built in Tullylease.]

Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Vol 6 (1858), 267-275.

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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Primitive Irish Monasteries III

We conclude the trilogy of papers on early Irish monasticism by Father Jerome Fahy with his examination of its liturgical, musical and canonical traditions. He again takes the view that Saint Patrick was personally responsible for the introduction of some of these from the east and ends by proclaiming his pride in what he sees as a uniquely wonderful expression of Christianity in early medieval Ireland:

PRIMITIVE IRISH MONASTERIES— No. III.

“Ris reve mirabilis quod sic cum Deo perpetuo Collequobantur”

IT should be unnecessary to add that those Sacred practices which form a necessary part of our holy religion are strongly inculcated in St. Ailbe's Rule. Many would dwell with a particular pleasure on the evidences which this ancient document afford for showing that the Holy Mass, the practice of Confession, Prayers for the Dead, and the like, were for our ancestors over a thousand years ago, all that they are for us. We must, however, limit our remarks in this concluding paper, to the study of the recitation and chant of the Divine Office, as observed by our early monks. It is certain that the recitation of the Divine Office was regarded by them as a most important daily duty. In St. Ailbe's Rule, it is even represented as amongst the most important. In Strophe 22 —

“The perfect observance of the Canonical hours is reckoned as the chief rule."

And in another passage the religious is cautioned against a neglect of this important duty.

'' The Canonical hours he should not neglect.''

We are informed by a learned writer on this subject that the office recited then "was chiefly composed of Psalms and of lessons borrowed from the inspired writings of the Old and New Testament." And we find in St. Ailbe's Rule that the number of Psalms recited at Matins alone was thirty. We know on the authority of St Augustine, that in his time, as now, the "Venite Exultemus" was the prelude to the Canonical hours. Even the portions of the Canonical hours referred to in St. Ailbe's Rule are designated "Matins," "Tierce," "None," &c., as in our own times. It would also seem that the recitation of Matins for a particular day might be anticipated as in modern times; for we find it fixed for

“The close and the beginning of the day."

The privilege of chanting the Divine Office was highly prized by the monks of our early Irish Church. No doubt they experienced those holy sentiments regarding Sacred Psalmody which caused St. Chrysostom to exclaim: " Oh, wonderful goodness of Christ! The host of angels sing glory to God in Heaven! Choirs of men in the Churches imitate their chant on earth The same thrice holy hymn, which Seraphim chant in Heaven is sung by multitudes of men on earth. Earth unites with Heaven, and men form one choir with the angels”. And we may infer even from the legendary history of our Church, with what touching sweetness the Divine praises were chanted in those days.

Carthage, afterwards celebrated as the holy founder of the Monastery of Lismore, was, while yet a boy, engaged in keeping his father's flock; while thus occupied on a certain occasion, a Bishop with his retinue of Ecclesiastics passed by, engaged in singing the Divine praises. So enchanted was the youth by the Sacred melody, that he abandoned his herds, and followed the religious to their Monastery, where he was afterwards found by his anxious friends. When urged to return the boy refused ; and, resisting all entreaties, he added: " I want but one thing, to learn the chant which I have heard sung by the saints of God." Indeed we shall see that a love of Sacred music was widespread throughout Ireland in this early period, and that its practice was cherished and encouraged by our Monasteries.

It should be remembered that a passionate love of music has been from the remotest periods an Irish National characteristic. That it had largely developed itself in the pagan period of our history, is a fact strongly attested by the learned O'Curry. He writes: " If there ever was a people gifted with a musical soul and sensibility, in a higher degree than another, I would venture to assert that the Gael of ancient Erin were that people." Extraordinary indeed must have been their success if, as O'Curry assures us, the attainments of the Ollamhs in music should be such that they could, by their musical strains move their hearers to tears or laughter, or cause them to sink into a delicious slumber, according to their good pleasure.

The conversion of the nation, far from impeding largely, helped to cherish, develop, and consecrate this love of music. That it was actively encouraged by our National Apostle is proved by the Canons of a Synod celebrated by St Patrick, A.D. 450. The converted bards were amongst the most zealous in consecrating the art of music to the honour of religion and the glory of the one true God. As remarkable instances of this holy zeal, we might refer to Fiach, Bishop of Hetley, and to Duvach, Chief Poet of our first Christian King. There is therefore abundant evidence to show that from the earliest period of our Christian history Sacred music was assiduously cultivated in Ireland in our monasteries. Ireland was the instructor of the surrounding nations in music also, as in science : Caradoc and Venerable Bede declare that Wales and England are indebted to Ireland for their early knowledge of music. The same is incontestably true of Scotland. The Irish Missionaries invited to England by King Oswald, were careful to instruct their pupils in Sacred music throughout all the schools which they established among the Anglo-Saxons Nor was the duty of instructing in Sacred music committed solely to lay teachers, or even to the inferior clergy, it was frequently discharged by Abbots and by Bishops themselves. In the Bards they had also powerful and skilled assistants. The protection extended to that body through St. Columba, at the Convention of Dromceata, effected an enduring union between the Church and the Bardic order, while it secured for the Monasteries the most accomplished teachers of the sister arts of Poetry and Music

In this connection it may be interesting to inquire to what extent instrumental music was utilised by our early Church. It is certain that in this country the Christian poet and pagan druid were alike familiar with the use of the harp. Our National Apostle learned to wake the melody of its chords. Following his example, many of our Abbots and bishops not merely loved its weird strains but became themselves skilled performers. St Kevin, of Glendalough, is referred to as an instance: and it is well known that the number of bishops and of other high ecclesiastical dignatories who at the period of the English invasion were skilled performers on the harp, elicited the unwilling admiration of Gerald Barry. It is much to be regretted that not even one specimen of those early harps has been preserved to us among the many priceless relics of that remote period, now happily treasured in our National Museum. O'Curry, writing upon this subject, says, with the true spirit of an enthusiast for our ancient music,” I confess I would rather have preserved the harp of the Apostle Patrick, or that of the gentle Kevin of Glendalough, which we know to have been so long preserved, than their bells, shrines, or crosses, or any other of their relics."

It was not for purposes of mere recreation that the ecclesiastics of our early Church devoted portions of their precious time to instrumental music. The most tender strains of their harps were inspired by their private devotions. But though instrumental music was regarded as commendable in domestic psalmody, it was not tolerated in the public services of religion in the early ages of the Church. And this prohibition, which continued in force for "more than six hundred years," included even the harp. It was owing to the popular association of instrumental music with Jewish worship, and partly, too, owing to a knowledge of the base purposes to which it was degraded by paganism, that its use was strictly prohibited in the public worship of the early Church.

But the simple chant of our primitive Church had a beauty of its own, through which the most sublime and sacred thoughts found harmonious expression — an expression which proved to be both the happy medium through which the soul might be wed to the elevating influence of religion, and the most tender piety find expression for its yearnings and its love. Indeed, such was the universally acknowledged influence of this simple religious chant, that in those Monasteries in which the inmates were sufficiently numerous, the Divine praises were publicly chanted without intermission, night and day. in such Monasteries the brethren were divided into seven choirs, each of which was to engage in turn, in choir duty; and thus the praises of the Most High were ever heard before the altars. This beautiful practice, known as the Laus Perennis, and worthy of the deep pity of our early saints, was observed in the Monasteries of Bangor, of Lismore, and Clonard. The three thousand monks of Bangor were, we are assured, divided into choirs of three hundred singers each. And when St. Columbanus founded his celebrated Monastery at Luxeil, he established there the same religious observance; so that the solitudes of the Vosges soon became familiar with the "voices of the monks, unwearied as those of angels," in chanting their sacred anthems.

Evidence reach us which show that the same practice prevailed in some of the earliest Monasteries of Egypt and Palestine. The sister of St. Gregory, of Nysa, devoted her days and nights to prayer and psalmody. A Syrian monk named Alexander, who died A.D. 430, founded a Monastery on the river Euphrates, and a second at Constantinople, in which this observance was maintained ; and such was the zeal of his monks in sustaining the Laus perennis that they received in consequence the designation of "Aermetes," or the sleepless. In a life of St. Mary of Egypt, we are informed that the same practice was observed in a Monastery near the Jordan.

It was perhaps inevitable that simultaneous efforts made for the development of music in different countries, and by individuals independent of each other, should lead to a diversity of method in sacred chant. Such diversity was naturally regarded as out of harmony with that spirit of unity which forms a striking characteristic even of the Church's discipline. Hence, from an early period, the manner of chanting the Divine praises in the public churches was regulated, not merely by local custom, but also by positive ecclesiastical enactments. The most famous patriarchs of Monasticism also laboured zealously for the advancement of sacred music, and the establishment of uniformity. St. Athanasius laboured zealously at Alexandria, and Flavian laboured at Antioch for the promotion of the same object ; while the energies of St. Basil and St. Gregory Nasiansen were also directed to its advancement. It would appear that the system then advocated by St. Basil had much in common with that of Flavian, and was general from the Nile to the Euphrates.We think it extremely probable that the system of sacred chant prevalent in the East, was introduced into Europe wherever the rules and Monastic traditions of the East were accepted. In Europe, however, it must be said that it was the Ambrosian reform which first stamped sacred music with a character which, in course of time, became permanent and universally accepted. This harmonious uniformity effected at Milan, was soon after perfected at Rome by Pope Gregory, of holy memory. Indeed, admirable as were the reforms of St. Ambrose, it was the authority of the Pope alone which secured for it universal acceptance. Dr. Renehan, in his "History of Music," refers to the Councils of Vannes, Gironne, Tours, Auxerre, and others, celebrated in the fifth and sixth centuries, the canons of which insist strongly on a uniformity in ''choral service." The necessity of such decree would seem to argue that the acceptance of the Ambrosian reform was not as general on the Continent, even in the sixth century, as is generally believed. And hence we think it may be argued, that the opinion generally accepted, that St. Patrick introduced the Ambrosian chant to Ireland, may be fairly questioned. Dr. Renehan, who adopts the opinion, and who by its adoption gives it perhaps its highest sanction, states that our Apostle was instructed in that system at Tours. Contrary to his custom, however, he quotes no authority for this statement. On the other hand, we think it can be shown, by reference to accessible evidences regarding the character of our primitive Irish chant, that it had much in common with the sacred chant prevalent in the early Eastern Church. It shall be also seen that in the liturgical remains of our primitive Church, there are no evidences of Ambrosian reform.

It is admittedly difficult to form a correct idea of the musical tones adopted in the service of the early Church The broad fact of its extreme simplicity is, however, well established. Few of the Eastern Fathers laboured more assiduously for the cultivation of Sacred music, than did St Athanasius. Of the character of the Sacred Chant which he established at Alexandria, St Augustine speaks in the following words : ''The psalms were chanted with so slight an inflection of the voice, that it was more like reading than singing.'' Dr. Renehan insinuates that each composer adopted the system prevalent in the particular province or country in which he lived ; and that therefore the Greek system of music was very commonly used in the early Eastern Church. Indeed the rules of Grecian and Roman melody would have been lost to us, had they not been embodied in the hymns of the Catholic Church, and in her ''Canto firmo," which still supplies a nearer approximation, and a more useful clue to the musical system of the Greeks than any other record of antiquity extant.''

The foregoing quotations may aid the reader in estimating that simplicity which formed one of the chief characteristics of the music of the early Church. Now in estimating the character of primitive Sacred music in Ireland, it is a fact worthy of special notice, that the characters used by the Irish for writing their music resembled the musical accents of the Greeks, "which the Irish are said to have learned from the early Latin clergy." Dr. Sullivan, in his laboured introduction to O'Curry, seems to imply, that in early Irish music the same affinity to classic melody may be traced. And considering the fact that Ireland received her Monastic rules from the East through Gaul, it is not unnatural to suppose that the Sacred Chant which our Apostle had learned at Tours, was that with which SS. Athanasius and Cassian had made the West familiar. And this opinion receives additional confirmation from an ancient " Tract on various Liturgies," fortunately published in Dr. Moran's valuable essays. It has merited the attention of Usher, as well as of modern scholars. It is said to have been copied from a manuscript supposed to belong to the seventh century. Under the title of "Cursus Scotorum,'' it speaks at considerable length of the Irish Liturgy. It tells us that it originated with the Evangelist, St. Mark, by whom it was spread throughout Egypt and Italy; and that it was adopted in the East by St. Gregory and St. Basil, St. Anthony, St. Paul, and the early monks. It was subsequently introduced into Lerins by St.Cassian and St. Honoratus, where it was still followed when St. Germanus — one of the principal Masters of our Apostle in spiritual life — was a student there. St. Patrick adopted the same Liturgy, and by him it was "CHANTED " in Ireland.

It is very noteworthy that Mc Geoghegan advances the same opinion, and quotes Usher in support of his views. ''The first and most ancient Liturgy of this new Church," (writes M'Geoghegan) ''took its origin from St. Mark. It was introduced into Provence, Languedoc, and some other provinces by St. Cassian and St. Honoratus, St Germanus and St. Lupus established it in Gaul: and St. Patrick brought it into Ireland, where it has been scrupulously observed by his disciples." We can conclude therefore, if not with certainty, at least with a high degree of probability, that the sources from which our Apostle received his knowledge of Sacred Chant were the same from which he received his knowledge of Liturgy ; that his knowledge of Liturgy and Sacred Chant reached him through the most celebrated patriarchs of Monasticism in the East. And if our early Christian art and architecture, our early Monastic rules and Monastic observances, bear upon them the impress of Eastern influence, it is not strange that our early Ecclesiastical Chant should have much in common with the system of Sacred Chant prevalent in the East, and with which the West was made familiar through Cassian and Athanasius. The esteem in which those holy men were held at Rome, and throughout the West, was at once the source and explanation of their influence.

It is hardly necessary to advance any proofs for the purpose of showing that in the remains of our early Irish liturgy, no evidence of the Ambrosian reforms can be discovered.

The Missal of St. Columbanus is justly regarded as amongst the most ancient and valuable of the interesting memorials of our Early Church. It was in the beginning of the last century pronounced by Mabillon to be more than a thousand years old. The opinion of the learned Bishop of Ossory regarding this venerable memorial of our Early Liturgy, may be cited here, both for its intrinsic interest, and for the light which it casts on the subject of our inquiry. "Everything connected with it," he says, "bespeaks its Irish origin: its material writing is that of the ancient Scotic school ; its special forms of Latinity, are those peculiar to Irish writers; its multiplicity of prayers was a characteristic feature of the Irish Liturgy; whilst its penitential Canons strikingly and unmistakably proclaim its origin in our island. In a word, the whole Missal attests its connection with St. Columbanus, and probably it was used by him in his Monasteries of Luxieu and Bobbio, to both of which, as is recorded by a writer of the seventh century, he bequeathed the Irish Liturgy." Mabillon, indeed, contends that its origin is Gallican; and proves that it was not Ambrosian. But while thus asserting the claims of the Church of Gaul to the Missal, "the learned Benedictine candidly acknowledges that in many important points it was entirely at variance with every text known to represent the Gallican Liturgy." Dr. Moran, however, urges with much force, that it was natural certain points of affinity should exist between the Irish Liturgy and those known to us as Gallican. Considering our Apostle's connection with the great Saints of Gaul, who were his masters in sacred learning, and as St. Germanus and St. Martin of Tours were in communication with the Holy See it was natural perhaps inevitable, that the knowledge of liturgy which our apostle should receive from them should combine many features common to the approved liturgies of Rome and Gaul. "Now," continues Dr, Moran, "the liturgy of Bobbio is precisely such as we should expect to arise from a combination of Gaul and Rome, retaining the chief prayers and Canon of Rome, and adopting from the Gallican Liturgy, all that it had most beautiful in its outward arrangement of the Sacred Festivals."

The Stowe Missal may be referred to as a still more ancient monument of our Early Liturgy. Dr. Todd considered that it might be regarded older that the sixth century. And he even thinks it not impossible that it may have been the Missal of St. Ruadhan, who died A.D. 584. It is particularly note-worthy that the Stowe Missal strikingly coincides with that of Bobbio. "Indeed,'' writes Dr. Moran, "the coincidence of the Bobbio Missal with that of Stowe is so frequent and so striking, that it supplies a clear proof of the question which we are examining." This similarity of character clearly argues identity of origin. Our learned men, therefore can trace no affinity whatever between the Ambrosian and Early Irish Liturgies. These facts must be regarded as a strong negative argument to show that the Liturgy which St. Patrick " CHANTED " in Ireland was not Ambrosian.

The simplicity which I have already referred to as a striking characteristic of early Church music, is not, perhaps, likely to be duly appreciated in modem times. Yet, simple as it was, it was capable of exciting the highest and purest emotions of the soul. Now its tones come upon the ear softly as the whisperings of a ''gentle breeze;" or as the breaking of the wavelets on the shores of some sheltered bay. Again they would swell in power and volume, till they recall the deep and far-sounding murmurs of the ocean. Borne aloft, as it were, on the wings of hope, the " congregational Amen" bursts upon the ear like a thunder peal, as if conscious of the all-sufficient power of earnest, heartfelt prayer. Such were some of the qualities of early Church music which even St. Ambrose and St Jerome considered worthy of special notice, and which may we think, be fittingly referred to here. Its powerful pleadings were frequently attested by the penitent's tears, and by the joy with which it filled holy souls. Its sacred power proved an effective means of elevating the will, and of intensifying the longings of the soul for the pure and enduring harmonies of the New Jerusalem. Such, however, are results which the far more complex development of modern music can but seldom flatter itself on effecting.

We have written at greater length than we intended on this important subject, and yet we feel that our sketch of early monastic life in Ireland is very incomplete. We have left many things unsaid, which might with interest be referred to, if space permitted. Yet in our brief review of the lives of austere penance — of poverty and constant prayer — of heroic devotion to the claims of charity — of unselfish interest in the religious and social well-being of Eruope — led by our early monks — we have, perhaps, said enough to establish the justice of the record of their triumphs, which we read with pride in the Litanies of Aengus and in the Martyrologies of Talaght and Donegal. The strength and character of the Nation's supernatural life was shown by its wonderful religious activity, and by the grand results of its elevating and energising influence. And though the brightness of that period was frequently-obscured by the crimes of ambitious chiefs, and of their turbulent followers — in a word, by such blemishes as are inseparable from human history — still we shall look in vain among the nations for the counterpart of the picture which Ireland presents in the early centuries of her Christian history. J. A. F.

THE IRISH ECCLESIASTICAL RECORD, Vol. 4 (1883), 508-517

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