Friday 21 February 2014

Saint Cronan of Cill Beg, February 21

Among the Irish saints commemorated on 21 February is one simply recorded on the calendars as Cronan of Cill Beg or Kilbeg, a place name which translates to 'small church'.  Canon O'Hanlon's account demonstrates how important local traditions of popular devotion can be in helping to identify the location where a saint flourished:

St. Cronan, of Cill Beg, or Kilbeg.

We find Cronan Cille Bicci, in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 21st of February. Where "the little church," to which he had been attached, was situated, can hardly be determined with accuracy... [The author proceeds to give dozens of examples of the placename Kilbeg from every corner of Ireland]... The foregoing denominations must probably include the changed form of the present saint's former place; but, without some local tradition of a pattern or saint's day corresponding, it would not be possible to decide on any one spot. In conclusion, we find Cronan, of Cill Beg, is set down in the Martyrology of Donegal, as being venerated on this day.

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