Friday 12 July 2013

Saint Nazair of Liethmore, July 12

July 12 is the commemoration of a Saint Nazair of Liethmore. Although Canon O'Hanlon makes no mention of it, I find the name of this saint a rather curious one for an Irishman, but he is recorded in virtually all of the surviving calendars:

St. Nazarus, Nazair, or Nasan, Bishop of Liethmore, County of Tipperary.

The festival of Nazarius is found in the "Feilire" of St. Aengus, at the 12th of July: "Unto the angels departed Nazarius the story of every synod". A commentary on it states, likewise, that he was bishop of Liath in Eblind, or bishop of Liath Mór Mochoemoic. In the published edition of the Martyrology, we find this entry: "Nazair o Liath," occurring at the iv. of the Ides, or 12th of July. The editor of this Martyrology has also correctly identified Leith-mór with Leamakevoge, near Thurles, county of Tipperary. Both names are also referable to the Liath mentioned in the Martyrology of Tallagh. Besides, Marianus O'Gorman has also given us the name of this saint, called also Nasan, with an eulogy, at this same date. According to the Martyrologies of Cashel and of Maguire, the Natal day of St. Nazarus, Bishop, was celebrated at Liethmore, on the 12th of July. There appears to have been a diversity of opinion, on the part of most Irish writers, regarding the exact location of Leithmore. By some writers, it has been placed exactly four miles distant from the monastery of Bishop Colman at Doire mor; and both of those places are thought to have been in the present King's County. Colgan placed Liathmor in the vicinity of Kinnetty, the very ancient Life of Pulcherius stating, that it was only four miles distant from St. Colman's church of Doire-mor, thought to have been identical with Kilcolman, near Birr, and which, it is curious to observe, lies exactly four miles north-east from that place called Leagh on the engraved Map of the Down Survey. However, in the Life of St. Mochcemhog or Mochcemoc, also called St. Pulcherius, it is said, St. Colman's monastery of Doire mor was situated on the confines of Munster and of Leinster, but within the boundary of the former province, and in the territory of Ely. This was supposed to have been Ely O'Carroll; but, there was a southern Ely, lying near Thurles, and while this was within Munster, it was also on the borders of ancient Leinster. However, the precise locality of Liathmore is now found to be identical with the townknd of Leigh, within the parish of Two Mile Borris, situated south-east in Elyogarty barony, and in the county of Tipperary. The ancient name is said to have been Buirgheis Leith, and it was denominated, Borris Leigh, from the celebrated old church of Liath

Mochoemog, situated in that parish. It is probable, we must place the present holy man subsequent to the time of St. Mochoemhog or Mochcemoc, who was first Abbot and founder of Liath-more. In the Martyrology of Donegal, at the 12th of July, is entered the feast of St. Nazair, Bishop of Liathmor, in Ebhlinn. The Bollandists, who derived their information from Father O'Sheerin, also record Nazarius de Lieth, at this date.

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