Sunday 26 January 2014

Saint Ernen the Bishop, January 26

One of the main difficulties in researching the Irish saints is the fact that so many of them bear the same name. It is thus not always possible to be definitive about the identities of the individuals. This is true of the Saint Ernen (Ernin, Earnán, Earnín) commemorated on January 26, one of twenty-five saints who bear this name identified by Canon O'Hanlon from the Irish calendars. His list, taken from one of the footnotes in the Lives of the Irish Saints, reads as follows:

1.St. Ernan, son of Eoghan, at the 1st of January.
2. St. Ernain, of Cluain Deochra, at the 11th of January.
3.St. Ernain, son of Caomhan, same day.
4.St. Ernain of Tegh Ernan, at the 17th of January.
5. St. Ernain, bishop, 26th of January.
6. St. Ernin Cass, of Lethghlinn, at the 23rd of February.
7. St. Ernin, at 28th of February.
8. St. Ernin, bishop, at 12th of April.
9. St. Ernin, at 12th of May.
10. St. Ernain, son of Aedh, at 16th of May.
11. St. Ernin, of Creamhchoill, at the 31st of May.
12. St. Ernin, of Cluain, at the 4th of June.
13. St. Ernin, of Cluain-finn, at the 28th of June.
14. St. Ernin, at the 1st of July.
15. St. Ernin, of Inis-caoin, at the 13th of July.
16. St. Ernin, of Cluain-Railgheach, at the 5th of August.
17. St. Ernain, at the 17th of August.
18. St. Ernin, i.e., Memog, of Rath-noi, at the 18th of August.
19. St. Ernin Ua Briuin, at the 27th September.
20. St. Ernan, of Miodhluachra, at the 26th of October.
21. St. Ernan, at 27th of October.
22. St. Ernin, Abbot of Lethghlinn, at the 12th of November.
23. St. Ernin, son of Dubh, at the 13th of November.-
24. St. Ernin, son of Senach, at the 14th of December.
25. St. Ernin, at the 23rd of December.

Our saint is number 5 on this list and the lack of further details does not deter the good Canon from starting off his account for the day with some confidence:

St. Ernen or Ernin, Bishop. 

We have no means left for discovering the time when or the place where this holy prelate lived. But we may rest assured he was a man who had been elevated, not as the result of any selfish ambition, but by the sheer force of an innocent and a holy life, of a great and mighty mind, and of immeasurable devotedness to the cause of our glorious Church. In the Franciscan copy of the Martyrology of Tallagh, the name of Ernen, bishop, is to be found in the entries for this particular date. In the Martyrology of Donegal, on this day, occurs the name of Ernin, bishop. No further light is thrown on his acts.

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