Celtic and Old English Saints          19 August

* St. Mochta of Louth
* St. Guenninus of Vannes
* St. Credan of Evesham

St. Mochta of Louth, Abbot Bishop
(Mocheteus, Mochteus, Mochuta)
Died c. 534. He was born in Britain but was brought to Ireland as a
child. Saint Mochta was an important saint in Ireland, as is evident by
the number of stories that grew up around his name. He was a disciple
of Saint Patrick, who was educated and consecrated bishop in Rome by
Pope St. Leo I, but some scholars believe he was consecrated by Saint

When he returned to Ireland, he settled at a place in County Meath
called Kell Mor Ydan (now unknown). Local opposition led him to move
north to Louth in eastern Ireland. Louth was originally the site of a
shrine to the Celtic god Lugh. With twelve companions Saint Mochta
founded a large monastery that gained a nation wide reputation. Both
monastery and village were burned and plundered frequently by the Danes
in the period 829-968

St Mochta is claimed as the first bishop of Louth. Among the legends
that arose, he and Patrick made a pact that each would care for the
other's community after the founder's death. It is also claimed that
Mochta numbered 200 bishops among his disciples and lived to be 300
years old - a punishment because he doubted the ages of many of the
patriarchs of the Old Testament. Scholars believe that he, the last of
Patrick's disciples then alive, died at 90.

Louth, the smallest county in Ireland, covers an area of only of only
317 square miles. It runs northwards from the River Boyne to Carlingford
Lough, consisting mainly of fertile undulating country with a coastline
of wide sandy bays and occasional rocky headlands. In the north,
however, between Dundalk Bay and Carlingford Lough, is the mountainous
Cooley Peninsula. The territory now known as County Louth figures
prominently in the epic tales of ancient Ireland. It was also the scene
of important events, and many chapters of Ireland's history are
illustrated by the county's numerous relics of the past(Benedictines,
Farmer, Husenbeth).


In Moran's Essays on the early Irish Church he devotes one of the appendices 
of his book to reproducing the Latin text of the 'Confession of St Mochta' 
starting on page 296. The work is available at the Internet Archive. Here is 
Moran's account of St Mochta:

St. Mochta of Louth, whose name was anciently written Macteus,* was a 
disciple of St. Patrick, and his death is assigned to the year 534, by 
Tighernach, the Annals of the Four Masters, and the Annals of Ulster.

His name is commemorated in our martyrologies on the 24th of March, and the 
19th of August.

Oengus adds to his name the epithets of faithful and devout the great good 
leader ; and Marianus O'Gorman styles him " the lamp of Louth, the father of 
an illustrious family." The gloss on Oengus adds, that he was bishop of 
Louth, and cites the following curious poem :

"Poverty abode not
With the family of Mochta in his fort of Louth ;
Three hundred bishops and one hundred priests were there with him.
Eighty psalm-singing noble youths
Were his household : royal is the enumeration :
Without ploughing without reaping without drying of corn,
They laboured not, save at learning only."

Amongst our many ancient saints, he was remarkable for his longevity and 
abstinence, both which traits are thus alluded to by St. Cuimin of Connor, 
in his poem on the characteristic virtues of the Irish saints

"Mochta of Lugh-magh (Louth), loved
By law and by rule,
That no dainty food should enter his body
For the space of one hundred years."

The life of this saint records that, guided by an angelic admonition, he 
proceeded to Rome, and there applied himself to the study of sacred 
literature ; and it further commemorates the offering of a ceraculum
or writing-tablet, which he made to the then ruling pontiff. When he visited 
Rome, the memory of the heretic Celestius was still familiar to the faithful 
of that city, and the well-known words of St. Jerome
were fresh in their ears : "Satan, though silent himself, barks through a 
huge and corpulent mountain dog, who can do more damage with his claws, than 
even with his teeth; for he is by descent of the
Scotic nation, which is adjoining Britain, and like another Cerberus, 
according to the fables of the poets, must be struck down with a spiritual 
club, that thus he may be silent for ever with his master Pluto."

Some seem to have feared that Mochta might, perhaps, be infected with a 
similar contagion, and for this reason he was compelled to vindicate the 
sincerity of his faith, by presenting, about the year 460, to the great St. 
Leo, a profession of his belief, of which a copy, written about the year 
700, was discovered by Muratori amongst the precious manuscripts of the once 
famous Irish monastery of Bobbio, and was published in his Anecdota 

St. Mochta, in this formula of faith, dwells almost exclusively on the 
doctrine of the blessed Trinity and on the Apostles' Creed ; indeed it 
presents a striking similarity with the creed recited by St. Patrick
in his Confession, whilst scarcely a hint is given regarding any of those 
heresies which disturbed the Churches of Britain and the continent. Of his 
own Church, he says : "we are as yet only in the
way to truth" (nos adhuc in fenestra id est, in via lucis); and of himself 
he adds : "why do people interrogate me whence I come ? I am a pilgrim" (ut 
quid quaeritur patria mea? Peregrinus ego sum) ; and
subsequently he thus briefly but beautifully tells us what was his opinion 
as to the special prerogative of Rome :

"If, for the fault of one individual, the inhabitants of the whole country 
are to be deemed accursed, let that most blessed disciple, too, be 
condemned, I mean Rome itself, from which hitherto not only
one but two, or three, or even more heresies have gone forth ; and, 
nevertheless, none of them could get hold of, or contaminate the Chair of 
Peter, that is to say the see of faith."

* The Irish a being pronounced like the diphthong au or o, was one of the 
chief causes of the discrepancy in registering the name of this saint. In 
some manuscripts of Adamnan, he is styled Mauctaneus,
Afaveteus, and Mauctem. The Vita S. Dagei calls him Afoccheus, and 
subsequently Mochteus. Jocelyn, in his life of St. Patrick, gives his name 
as Moccheus ; and with continental writers, he is commonly known by the name 
Macceus. Tighernach thus records his death, in 534 : "Dormitatio Moctai 
discipuli Patricii, xvi. kalend. Septembr. Sic ipse scripsit in epistola sua 
; Mocteus peccalor presbiter Sancti Patricii discipulus in Domino salutem." 
This same entry is given in the Annals of Ulster ; but he is said to have 
signed his own name Macutenus. See Reeves' Adamnan, page 6, seqq. ; Colgan 
Acta SS. page 729, seqq. ; Martyr, of Christ Church, I. A. S., 1844, page 
Ixix.; Todd, St Patrick, page 39, seqq.; Ware, de Script Hib. lib ii. cap. 

Source: Essays on the Origins, Doctrines and Discipline of the Early Irish 
Church by the Rev Dr Moran, (Dublin 1864), 92-4


St. Guenninus, Bishop of Vannes
7th century. The relics of Bishop Saint Guenninus are enshrined in his
cathedral in Brittany (Benedictines).

St. Credan of Evesham, Abbot
Died c. 780. We know that Saint Credan, 8th abbot of Evesham Abbey,
governed during the reign of King Offa of Mercia (757-796) because his
name appears in several of the king's charters. He had a thriving
cultus prior to the coming of the Normans, who suspected anything
Anglo-Saxon. The relics of Credan and other local saints at Evesham
were put through an ordeal by fire in 1077. It is reported that they
emerged unscathed and during the translation that followed, they are
reported to have shone like gold. Credan's relics and shrine also
withstood the damage that occurred when the church tower fell in 1207
(Benedictines, Farmer).

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