[celt-saints] 3 September #3

2010-09-02 Thread emrys
Celtic and Old English Saints  3 September

* St. Gregory the Great

St. Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome,
also known as Gregory the Dialogist
Born in Rome, Italy, c. 540; died there March 12, 604. His major feast
day is March 12. The Feast today commemorates the day he was chosen as
Bishop of Rome.

The Holy Bible is like a mirror before our mind's eye.
In it we see our inner face. From the Scriptures we
can learn our spiritual deformities and beauties. And
there too we discover the progress we are making and
how far we are from perfection.
--Saint Gregory.

Pope Gregory the Great and the Irish
John R C Martyn

Pope Gregory the Great's apparently close links with Columban and the Irish 
clergy between 592 and 601 are revealed through five of his letters:  2.43 
(July 592), an encyclical sent to the Irish clergy, almost certainly 
including Columban;  4.18 (March 594) about an Irish priest valuable to the 
Pope in Rome;  5.17 (November 594) about Columban's reception of Gregory's 
'Pastoral Care';  9.11 (October 600) praising Columban;  and 11.52 (July 
601) about an Irish Bishop Quiritus.  My version of Columban's letter to the 
Pope follows, with brief analysis of his irony, word-play and literary 
style.  It shows how the Irishman's erudite and very rhetorical letter would 
have tickled the Pope's fancy rather than offend him.

Full paper available here:

Where does one begin to recite the glories of a man who excelled at many
things in so many ways? His greatness is emphasised by contrast with the
time in which he lived, when everything was in decline. He was prefect
of Rome when he wrote:

Everything is at the mercy of the barbarians, the cities are
undermined, the citadels are destroyed, the provinces are depopulated,
there are no more farmers in the country. And every day the idolaters
exert their power and gratify their rage by assassinating the faithful.
We see what has become of her who once appeared as mistress of the
world. She is broken by all she has suffered from immense and manifold
misfortunes. . . . We, the few who are left, are menaced every day by
sword and innumerable trials. . . .

Saint Bede described Gregory as the man England may and ought to call
our Apostle, because he made our nation, till then given up to idols,
the Church of Christ, and Gregory's tomb in Rome bears the inscription:

He taught the Christian truth to English Saxons.

He was a distinguished Roman, born of a senatorial Christian family, and
owed much to his mother, Saint Sylvia and two of her sisters who are
regarded as saints. His father, Gordianus, who was descended from an
earlier pope, was a lay administrator of one of the seven archdeaconries
of Rome. Trained in Rome as a lawyer, by 571 (age 30) he had become its
prefect. He seems to have acquitted himself well in that post, despite
his tendency toward austerity. Historians refer to the splendour of his
robes in contrast with the habit he wore in later years.

On the death of his father, he gave most of his inheritance to the poor
and the Church, which included the founding of six monasteries in
Sicily. About 574, he converted his family mansion on the Caelian Hill
into the monastery of Saint Andrew, placed it under the direction of
Valentius, and resigned his office to become a monk. Gregory mitigated
the characteristic Eastern ascetic practices, which made the rule more
acceptable to Western conditions.

At this time, there was an impermeable boundary between monks and
priests; a priest who became a monk was expected to cease his priestly
ministry because priests were viewed as worldly; monks, other-worldly.
Gregory's later determination to free monks from episcopal control was
definitely contrary to tradition. The Council of Chalcedon (451) had
ordered monks to remain under obedience to their bishops. Gregory,
however, in the Lateran Council of 601, caused a decree to be issued to
all bishops exempting monks from their authority. Part of the reason for
this was to keep monks in their monasteries and prevent them from
wandering from place to place.

Pope Gregory wrote to Bishop Castorius of Ariminum:

On the death also of an abbot, let not the bishop on any pretext
intermeddle in the scheduling or taking charge of the property of the
monastery, acquired, or given, or to be acquired. We also entirely
forbid public Masses to be celebrated by him in a convent, lest in the
retreats of the servants of God and their places of refuge any
opportunity for a popular concourse of women should ensue, which would
be by no means of advantage to their souls. Nor let him dare to place
his episcopal chair there, or have any power whatever of command, or of
holding any 

[celt-saints] 3 September #3

2009-09-03 Thread emrys
Celtic and Old English Saints  3 September

* St. MacNisse of Connor
* St. Balin of Techsaxon
* St. Cuthburga of Wimborne
* St. Quenburga of Wimborne
* St. Hereswitha of Chelles
* St. Edward of England
* St. Lon-garadh
* St. Gregory the Great (see #2)

St. Lon-garadh of Ireland
(Lon, or Loman, also called Lon-garadh, of Disert-Garadh, or of Magh 

6th century.  September 3 is also the feastday of a less well-known Irish 
scholar saint, Lon-garadh, 'the Augustine of Ireland'. Below are two 
accounts of his life, the first from O'Hanlon's Lives of the Irish Saints, 
which includes an interesting diversion to Ethiopia, and the second, which 
quotes from the Martyrology of Oengus, from a history of the area in which 
the saint flourished.

1. St. Lon, or Loman, also called Lon-garadh, of Disert-Garadh, or of Magh 

In the ancient monastic schools of Ireland, learning and piety were 
admirably combined ; and this too at a very early period, as we can learn 
from the traditional and written accounts regarding the present devout 
scholar. In the Feilire of St. Oengus, at the 3rd of September, Longarad,  
a delightful sun, is mentioned, as having had his commemoration. We find a 
festival recorded, also, in the Martyrology of Donegal, at the same date, 
and in honour of Lon-garadh. In the manuscript copy of that calendar, a 
space had been left after the insertion of his name, to fill in the title of 
his dignity, the O'Clerys being uncertain as to whether they should style 
him priest, abbot, or  bishop. His original name seems to have been 
Lon, or Loman, to which the name of his place was afterwards added. It is 
possible, that he may be the same as Lon or Lonn of Cill Gobhra, who is 
venerated on the 24th of June. The present Lon-garadh is said to have 
belonged to Sliabh Mairge, or to have been of Magh Tuathat. He is called 
Lon-garadh Coisfinn, of Disert Garadh, in the north of Osraighe. He was 
surnamed Garadh, from Disert Garadh, in the Queen's County, where he 
probably had a cell. Lon-garadh was denominated of the White Legs, either 
because they were covered with a whitish hair, or because they were smooth 
and very white.

Lon is said to have been a doctor in teaching, in history, in laws and in 
poetry. This saint was regarded, likewise, as the Augustine of Ireland; such 
was the depth and range of his ecclesiastical knowledge. He was passionately 
addicted to a love of literature; but, it would seem, he was not remarkable 
for lending his much-prized books to others who desired their use or 
possession. The most valuable codices, especially the copies of Gospels and 
ritual Books, were often kept in polaire or leathern cases and in tiaga or 
satchels. These latter usually hung from pegs fastened in the walls of the 
old Irish monasteries. In the time of St. Patrick, a legend is related, that 
the Irish Apostle desired a skin on which he slept and stood, while 
celebrating the holy sacrifice of the Mass, to be converted into a sack or 
satchel, which might serve to hold books. These were then fastened to the 
girdles of six attendant boys, who accompanied six Irish clerics, on a Roman 
pilgrimage. This saint is said, likewise, to have been a great lover and 
collector of books. St. Columkille once paid him a visit ; but, according to 
the legend, Lon-garad hid his books, and his visitor predicted that after 
Longarad's death, no man would be able to read the works which were in his 
possession, and which were so inhospitably withheld, from one who could so 
thoroughly appreciate their value. It is a curious remark, how many similar 
ancient customs have prevailed, and in countries so very far remote, when we 
undertake the task of making antiquarian comparisons.

At the present time, in the Abyssinian monasteries and notably in that of 
Souriani the disposition of the monks' manuscripts is to Europeans very 
original. Those manuscripts are usually hung in leather cases or satchels, 
tied with leather thongs, and having straps attached to the cases. By these, 
the books contained in them depend from long wooden pegs, fastened in the 
walls. Those wooden pegs project underneath a shelf, carried in the Egyptian 
style around the walls, and at the height of the door-top. Three or four 
manuscripts are hung on one peg, or even on more, if the Cordices be small. 
The usual size of these books is that of a small and very thick quarto. The 
books of Abyssinia are bound in the ordinary way; sometimes in wooden 
boards, which occasionally are elaborately carved in rude and coarse 
devices. The straps, attached to the book cases, were intended also to 
support these, and the manuscripts were carried over the shoulders.

A very interesting account is given about the manner in which Abyssinian 
manuscripts are written; most usually on skins or