Monday, 24 August 2015

Saint Gildard, August 24

Among the saints detailed at August 24 in Volume VIII of his Lives of the Irish Saints, Canon O'Hanlon brings us something of an historical mystery surrounding a Saint Gildard. The name of this saint is found in the earliest surviving Irish calendar, the Martyrology of Tallaght, but he seems to have been associated with the diocese of Nevers in France.  Canon O'Hanlon's account is largely drawn from continental sources, I found it interesting that some of these link our saint with another called Patrick, with whom he shares his feast day:

Reputed Feast of St. Geldarius, or Gildarius.

The simple entry, Geldarius, without any other designation, appears in the  published Martyrology of Tallagh,  at the 24th August. In like manner, the  name is entered in the Book of Leinster copy,  and as classed among the Irish Saints. This is probably the St. Gildard, a priest, who formerly gave  singular edification to the inhabitants of the parish of Lurcy-le-Bourg, in the diocese of Nevers, France, and where he died on the 24th of August. The Bollandists have notices of him, taken from old Martyrologies, on this day. Little seems to be known, regarding his personal history. In some of the  ancient Martyrologies, his name is associated with that of St. Patrick, Abbot, in the territory of Nivernais. Thus, in the editions to the Martyrology of Usuard, edited by the Jesuit Father Soller, we find such entries in the Codex of Centule, and in that of Rheims. Likewise, in the Martyrologium Parisiense, published in 1727; having set down the feast of St. Patrick of Nivernais, at the 24th of August, an addition of St. Gildard's feast is prescribed.  However, in other Martyrologies, his name, profession and feast are separately entered. The Latin name of his place, Luperciacum, within the former territory of the Aedui, had been a fortified town, and it was surrounded with walls. Such strongholds were known by the term Burgos. Hence it came to be called Leurcy le Bourg, in modern French. The Martyrologium Parisiense has a marginal note, which places the present saint in the seventh century; yet, this chronotaxis is set down, without sufficient authority. St. Gildard died on the 24th of August; but, as the festival of St. Bartholomew fell on the same day, his feast had been transferred to the 31st of the present month. St. Gildard was buried in the Church of St. Loup, near Nevers. It is a curious subject for enquiry, to learn how his name had been inserted in the Martyrology of Tallagh, as if he were to be classed among the Irish Saints.

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