Sunday 20 April 2014

Saint Maelochtraigh, April 20

Among the saints commemorated at April 20 Saint Maelochtraigh, apparently the only saint of this name to be recorded in the Irish calendars. It is a name though that he shares with an eighth-century County Meath abbot whose repose is recorded in the Irish Annals at the year 737, as Canon O'Hanlon explains:

St. Moelochtraigh, or Maelochtraigh.

Like their Divine Master, the truly great among his followers labour with indefatigable zeal and love, to mitigate the afflictions of the poor, the broken-hearted and the erring. The name of this servant of Christ appears, in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 20th of April, as Moelochtraigh. This, too, is the only saint of the name, to be found in our Calendars. It is difficult to identify him. We find, a Maelochtraigh, Abbot of Cill-Foibrigh, who died A.D. 737. But, it is not certain, if he be identical with this saint. His place has been set down as Kilbrew, a townland and parish in the barony of Ratoath, in thecounty of Meath. Here, there was an ancient monastery. The old church of Kilbrew has been uprooted, and a Protestant edifice has been built on its site. The parish is dedicated, as we are told, to St. Brigid. This day was set apart for the veneration of Maelochtraigh, according to the Martyrology of Donegal.

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