Monday, 21 April 2014

Saint Berach of Bangor, April 21


April 21 is the commemoration of Saint Berach, one of the abbots of the monastery of Bangor, founded by Saint Comgall.  It seems that the abbacy of our saint Berach lasted for a short time, as Canon O'Hanlon, drawing on the evidence from the Irish Annals, explains:

St. Berach, Abbot of Bangor, County of Down.
[Seventh Century]

...The whole of Ireland was filled with monastic houses of great extent. Among these, the famous Abbey of Bangor sent many of its holy inmates from earth, to people the courts of the Heavenly Jerusalem. The name of Berach, Abbot of Bennchair, occurs, in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 21st of April. He was born, most probably, towards the opening of the seventh century. We know not the place of his nativity; but, it seems not improbable, he belonged to the community at Bangor, where St. Mac Laisre, the Abbot, died, A.D. 645. We find another Abbot, St. Segan O'Cuinn, who departed, A.D. 662. The holy man Berach was probably his immediate successor; and, if such be the case, he could not have long survived, to rule over that establishment. He died, in the year 663, according to the Annals of Ulster, and of the Four Masters. According to the Martyrology of Donegal, on this day was venerated, Berach, Abbot of Bennchar.

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