Friday, 14 November 2014

Saint Constans of Lough Erne, November 14

November 14 is the feastday of a holy man of Lough Erne, Constans, who is described as a 'priest and anchorite' in the Martyrology of Donegal:

CONSTANS, Priest and Anchorite, of Eo-inis, in Loch Eirne, in Uladh, A.D. 777. He was of the race of Colla Uais, son of Eochaidh Doimhlen, monarch of Erin.

The year 777 is given as the year of Saint Constans' repose in the Annals of Ulster which records:

Constans, sapiens Locha nEirne quievit.

The Martyrology of Gorman, also at 14 November records:

Constans of Erne whom we recognise, who was a gracious chief of (monastic) rule.

Among the traces of the monastic settlements of Lough Erne which survive today are a collection of enigmatic stone carved figures on White Island. Figure number 3 in the collection has been identified as possibly being that of Saint Constans. Pictures and suggested identifications of the figures can be found here. According to the site 'The figure with the bell and crozier has been identified as Patrick, Christ Abbot of the world, or Constans founder of the Abbey.'

Archdall's Monasticon Hibernicum records that the relics of Saint Constans were still extant in the 14th century:

Inis-Eo or Eonois. Another island in the same lough; St. Constans, the son of Fuasclac, who was abbot and anchorite here, died November 14th, A.D. His bones were translated into a shrine by Matthew, Bishop of Clogher, on the 6th of September, 1308.

Rt. Rev. P.F. Moran, ed.,M.Archdall, Monasticon Hibernicum, Volume II, (Dublin, 1876), 161.

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