Saturday 19 July 2014

Saint Aedhan of Lismore, July 19

On July 19 the Irish calendars record the commemoration of Saint Aedhan,  an abbot of Lismore, County Waterford. We will start with a summary of the history of this famous foundation by a diocesan historian:   

The church and monastery of Lismore, which grew to be one of the renowned centres of ancient Irish learning and piety, owed its foundation to St. Mochuda of the 7th century. Mochuda, otherwise Carthage, was a native of Kerry, and he had been abbot of Rahan in Offaly. It is probable that there had been a Christian church at Lismore previous to the time of Mochuda, for in the Saint's Life there is an implied reference to such a foundation. Be this as it may, Mochuda, driven out of Rahan, with his muintir, or religious household, migrated southward, and, having crossed the Blackwater at Affane, established himself at Lismore in 630. In deference to Mochuda's place of birth the saint's successor in Lismore was, for centuries, a Kerryman. Lismore grew in time to be a great religious city, and a school of sacred sciences, to which pilgrims from all over Ireland and scholars from beyond the seas resorted. The rulers of the great establishment were all, or most of them, bishops, though they are more generally styled abbots by the Annalists. Among the number are several who are listed as Saints by the Irish Martyrologies, scil:

Aedhan, abbot of Lismore .. . ... July 19.

Patrick Power, Waterford & Lismore - A Compendious History of the United Dioceses (Cork, 1937), 5-6.

Canon O'Hanlon's account of Saint Aedhan, brings in a few other sources:

St. Aedhan, Abbot of Lismore, County of Waterford.

The name of St. Aedhan, Abbot of Lismoir, appears in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 19th of July. In the list of Aids or Aedhans given by Colgan, the present holy Abbot is included. In the Irish Calendar, compiled for use of the Irish Ordnance Survey, at xiv. of the August Kalends, there is an entry of this holy man, who is not designated, however, as Abbot. His name also occurs in the Martyrology of Donegal, at this date, as Aedhan of Lis-mor.

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