Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Saint Cronan of Moville, August 7



Following on the heels of Saint Cronan of Clondalkin, whose feast we celebrated yesterday, we commemorate another Saint Cronan on August 7, this one a seventh-century abbot associated with the County Down monastery of Moville. Whilst once again we do not have many details about our saint as an individual, it is thought that he was one of those mentioned in an exchange of letters between Irish clerics and the Pope during the Paschal dating controversy of the seventh century. Before moving to Canon O'Hanlon's account, we can start with a few details from one of his contemporaries, Father James O'Laverty, who writes on the monastery of Moville in the second volume of his diocesan history of Down and Connor:

The ruins of the Abbey Church of Moville stand about a mile to the N.E. of Newtownards. It was founded about the year 540 by St. Finnian, or, as he is sometimes called, Findbarr (Whitehead), from the whiteness of his hair...Moville, under Finnian, became one of the greatest schools in Ireland... The Church of Moville was ruled until about the middle of the eighth century by successors of St, Finnian, in whom were united the dignities of bishop and abbot; but after the year 731 Moville is noticed in the Annals only as governed by abbots. The Four Masters record:

A.D. 659. "St. Cronan of Moville died on the 7th day of the month of August." This is the "Cromanus Presbyter," whose name appears in the letter written from Rome about the year 640 to the Irish clergy.


ST CRONAN, OF MOVILLE, COUNTY OF DOWN.

[SEVENTH CENTURY]

ACCORDING to the Martyrologies of Tallagh and of Donegal, veneration was given, at the 7th day of August, to Cronan, of Magh-bile. This is said to have been the "Cromanus presbyter," whose name appears in the superscription of that letter written from Rome, A.D. 640. Further particulars relating to this Epistle have been already recorded, in the Life of Diman or Dima Dubh, Bishop of Connor. The holy man Cronan, of Maghbile, died in the year 647, according to the Annals of Clonmacnoise; but, in A.D. 649, according to those of Ulster, and of the Four Masters.

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