Concluding the eighteenth-century list of Irish saints with extant written Lives. Inevitably, the largest entry is for Saint Patrick complete with the traditional chronology of 432-492 for his mission. We are also confidently informed that our national apostle 'retired in 465'! The writer, a former Anglican Bishop of Carlisle, starts off with Saint Manchan of Mohill. He indulges in some antiquarian speculation that this saint shares the root of his name with the Manichees of the Old Testament, however, modern scholarship thinks it more likely that the name derives from a purely native root. Nicolson's claim that the saint founded an order of regular canons is also inaccurate, as the Augustinian canons were first documented in Ireland in the twelfth century.
Manchanus, founder of the monastery of regular canons at Mohil in the county of Leitrim, died in the year 652. His life is supposed to have been written by Richard, Archbishop of Ardmagh. The Ulster annals call him Manchenus; and others Manichaeus: Whereupon it is observed that the heretic Manichees and Menahem, (2 Kings xv. 14.) King of Israel have their names from the same original word, signifying The Comforter. Nazarenus begs of his Megaletor, to enquire among his learned acquaintance of the Irish college at Louvain, who is Manchanus, a writer who shines much in the margin of his famous four gospels; concerning whom, says he, though there be many of this name, I have my own conjectures. Having just learned what this fanciful writer thought of Marianus, Columbanus &c. I imagined that he was of opinion that Manchanus must have been a fervent or lover of the isle of Man: But his learned friend, and mine, Mr. Wanley, lately informed me, that he only guessed that Manchanus was a corruption of Monanchanus, and that the man whose praises are in his four gospels, was a canon regular of Monaghan. The reader will judge, whether Archbishop Usher's conjectures, or Mr. Toland's are the more probable.
Mocoemog, Abbot of Liath, died the thirteenth day of March, 656. His life begins, Beatissimus Abbos Mocoemog. This mentions, as one of the several of that name who were his contemporaries, one Bishop Colman, who resided in the monastery called Diar-mor, or the Great Wood, in the province of Munster.
Mochua of noble descent in Conaught, died the twenty-fourth of December, in the year 638. His life begins, Clarus genere vir erat, nomine Mochua.
Modwen or Moninna, two saints were of this name. One died the sixth of July, 518. The other lived about the year 640. The lives of both are jumbled into one by Conchubran, who lived before the end of the twelfth century. Sir James Ware had this transcribed out of the Cotton library; which, with another of the same, is still extant in that of the D. of Chandois: Where we have also an old hymn to St. Modwen. Conchubran, in her life says, she built her monastery of boards, Tabulis dedolatis, because the Scots or Irish had not then any (maceria's) stone buildings. He likewise acquaints us, that she lived at the same time with St. Patrick; and founded one nunnery of 150 virgins, whereof she was Abbess, at Fochard, and another at Chellsleve. We have another Manuscript copy of the life of St. Modwen in the Bodleyan library; which is written in the old French language.
Moling, the second Bishop or Archbishop of Fernes, died the seventeenth day of June, in the year 697. The writer of his life says he wrote prophecies, in Irish verse, of the battles and deaths of the Kings of Ireland down to the end of time. His life begins, De Australi Lageniensium Plagaa, quae dicitur Kenfelach.
Munnu: In his life, mentioned already in Fintan, junior, we have an account of a remarkable judgment on the king's son, who reviled him in the synod of Leighlin; wherein he seems to have presided.
St. Patrick, first Bishop of Armagh, and the great apostle of Ireland, came hither in the year 432, retired in 465, and died the seventeenth of March, in the year 492. Innumerable are the authors who have been ambitious of the honour of writing the life of this mighty saint; of which Colganus, from his large collection of all that he met with in his Trias Thaumaturga already mentioned, may justly be reckoned the chief. Multitudes of anonymous writers of this life remain still in the libraries of England and Ireland; few whereof were, in all likelihood, known to Colganus. Of these Archbishop Usher had, besides an ancient one in Irish, two more in Latin:whereof the one begins Patricius qui vocatur et Succet. The other Gloriosus Confessor Patricius. To these may be added 1. Vita, Miracula, et Purgatorium, S. Patricii. 2. Liber de poenis Purgatorij, S. Patricij, ubi de ejus vita et Miraculis. 3. Vita S. Patricij anonyma, in Bibliotheca Bodleyana. 4. Vita septima S. Patricij, a long one in three parts, in Colganus, &c. This is cited as anonymous, and of our own growth, by Archbishop Usher. 5. S. Patricij Nativitas, Parentes, et Patria. The like abstract of the life and miracles of this saint as long since given in eight short chapters, by Nennius, whose faith, in these matters, seems to have been of a larger size than Mr. O'Flaherty's. The last mentioned gentleman quotes his last will published in Irish verse; wherein he foretells of his own resurrection at Rath Keltair, or Down-Patrick; and likewise propheices that St. Bridget should outlive him thirty years. The office used at the celebration of his obit is published amongst others of the like kind. There is also an old confession ascribed to St. Patrick, which discourses of Ireland by the name of Scotia; and allows him to have had a deacon for his father; that his grandfather was a priest; and that he was brought captive into Ireland before he was full sixteen years old. His pretended letter, charter or indulgence to the monks at Glastonbury; wherein he is made to give an account of his having finished his work in Ireland in the year 425, &c. is abundantly exposed, as a forgery, by Dr. Stillingfleet. 5. Vita S. Patricij, Archiepiscopi et Confessoris, Primatis totius Hiberniae et Doctoris ejusdem Gentis, in the Cottonian library. 7. Archbishop Usher quotes another Manuscript life, written by an Irishman, which says that the forementioned resurrection, would be at Dunlege-Glaisse: Upon which a later English hand gives this note, Quod nos dicimus in nostra lingua Glastingabyri. Others have subscribed their names to their respective lives of this saint: As 1. St. Benignus, who was St. Patrick's own scholar, and immediate successor; whose book is part Latin and part Irish. 2. Kinnan, Bishop of Damleag or Duleg. What or where this prelate's performance is, I know not. 3. St. Evin or Eyvin, Abbot of Ross-Mac-Greom about the beginning of the seventh century; to whom Joceline owns himself to be obliged. 4. Tirechan, whose two books, still extant in manuscript, bear in their title, that Bishop Tirechan wrote them from the mouth or book of his master, Bishop Ultan. This is an elder writer than Luman. 5. Colman Vaniach, scribe of Armagh, who died in the year 725. 6. Kiaran of Belaigduin who died in the year 770. 7. Two of the oldest books of St. Patrick's life were written by Probus an Irishman, about the year 920, as Colganus guesses. They are falsely ascribed to Bede; and printed in the third tome of his works. 8. St Mael, or Mel the Briton, nephew to St. Patrick, by his sister Darerca, first bishop of Ardagh, wrote a book of the virtues and miracles of St. Patrick, then living. Mael died the sixth of February, in the year 487. 9. Luman, a Briton also, and nephew to St. Patrick, by his siater Tigridia, first Bishop of Trim, wrote the acts of his uncle. 10. A third nephew, called Patrick, composed also his life; and, after, his uncle's death, died at Glastonbury. All that is said of these three last is on the authority of Joceline. 11. Mr. O'Flaherty gives this note on another ancient writer of this life Scholiostes ille in vitam S. Patricij, a Fiedo, S. Patricij discipulo, et primo Lageniae Archiespiscopo, Metro Hibernico conscriptam super his verbis, &c. For which Colganus is cited. Bishop Usher quotes several passages out of the life written by this Fiecus Slebhtiensis. In the life written by Probus, he is called Pheg; and said to be a boy instructed in poetry by his master, Dubtac, an eminent bard; who was one of St. Patrick's first converts. 12. Joceline of Funress wrote it at large. This has been printed by several of the collectors. Whether the author was monk of Fourness in Lancashire, or of Fourness in Meath, is uncertain; but very sure we are, from his own testimony, that he wrote this life at the request of Thomas, Archbishop of Armagh, Malachy the third, Bishop of Down, and John Courcy, Prince of Ulster. Bede wrote also this saint's life, and called his book Beati Patricij primi Praedicatoris et Episcopi totius Britanniae Vita et Actus. This by way of reprisal on the Irish, who challenge St Cuthbert; though Bede allows St. Patrick, which is more than they say of him, to be an Irishman born. He says that this apostle's christian name was Magonius or Mannus; and that he took the name of Patrick, as all other writers of his life agree, on his being consecrated bishop. This was not written by Bede; who never mentions St. Patrick in his ecclesiastical history. 14. Archbishop Usher himself had once thoughts of collecting all treatises, truly or falsely, fathered on St. Patrick, and publishing them under the title of Magno Patricio adscripta Opuscula. Mr Camden had told him that he somewhere met with his epistles to the monks of Glastonbury. 15. Of St. Patrick, as well as Joseph of Arimathea &c. much may be seen in that large volume, De Antiquitate vetustae Ecclesiae B. Mariae Glastoniae, written by John, a monk of that church; who continues William of Malmsbury's account down to the year 1400. 16. Guil. Thyraeus, or Dr. Terry, wrote a panegyric on St. Patrick; which is sited and despised by Archbishop Usher.
Ruadan, died April the fifteenth, 584. His life begins Sanctus Ruadanus de Nobilis Parentibus. This life tells us that he was one of St. Finian's scholars, at Cluainiharaid.
Samthan, Abbess of Clonbrone, died the nineteenth day of December, 739. Her life begins Sancta et venerabilis virgo.
Senan, Bishop of Iniscatty, died the first of March, 544, the same day with St. David, patron of Wales. His life was written by St. Colman, Bishop of Cloyne. Another anonymous begins Senanus de Nobilibus, Paentibus, &c. Instead of this, Colganus has only given is an old monkish rhyme, or Latin hymn; which has little or nothing of his history in it.
Tathey, Martyr. His life is in John of Tinmouth.
Tigernach, Bishop of Cluanacois, now Clones, in the county of Monaghan, died April the fifth, 550. His life begins, Venerabilis Praesul Tigernacus, Regali ex progenie Natus, Nepos Echahci Regis.
Virgilius, the apostle and first Bishop of Carinthia, had his life written by a scholar of Everhard, Bishop of Salsburg; which is published by Canisius. It begins, Beatissimus Virgilius in Hibernia insula de Nobili ortus Prosapia....About the year 748, he fell under the censure of Pope Zachary, for asserting the doctrine of Antipodes.
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