Saturday, 21 December 2013

Saint Siollan of Lismore, December 21



Among the saints commemorated at December 21 on the Irish calendars is Siollan, Bishop of Lismore. The Martyrology of Donegal records:

21. E. DUODECIMO KAL. JANUARII. 21.

SIOLLAN, Bishop of Lis-mór.

A diocesan historian gives this summary of the famous monastery of Lismore:

The church and monastery of Lismore, which grew to be one of the renowned centres of ancient Irish learning and piety, owed its foundation to St. Mochuda of the 7th century. Mochuda, otherwise Carthage, was a native of Kerry, and he had been abbot of Rahan in Offaly. It is probable that there had been a Christian church at Lismore previous to the time of Mochuda, for in the Saint's Life there is an implied reference to such a foundation. Be this as it may, Mochuda, driven out of Rahan, with his muintir, or religious household, migrated southward, and, having crossed the Blackwater at Affane, established himself at Lismore in 630. In deference to Mochuda's place of birth the saint's successor in Lismore was, for centuries, a Kerryman. Lismore grew in time to be a great religious city, and a school of sacred sciences, to which pilgrims from all over Ireland and scholars from beyond the seas resorted. The rulers of the great establishment were all, or most of them, bishops, though they are more generally styled abbots by the Annalists. Among the number are several who are listed as Saints by the Irish Martyrologies, scil:

Sillan, bishop of Lismore . .. . .. Nov. 21.

Patrick Power, Waterford & Lismore - A Compendious History of the United Dioceses (Cork, 1937), 5-6.

I note that Power has listed our bishop's feast at November 21, but as we have seen he is listed at December 21 in the Martyrology of Donegal and also at this date in the Martyrology of Gorman. I assume, therefore, that this is a typo, as I can find no saint of this name listed at November 21, only at December 21.

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