Thursday 12 March 2015

St. Indreachtach O'Finachtain, March 12

On March 12 Canon O'Hanlon brings the details of a ninth-century abbot of Iona who may also have been a martyr. The final reference to William of Malmesbury would seem to make our saint the same Saint Indreachtach commemorated on February 5:

St. Indreachtach or Innrechtach O'Finachtain, Abbot of Iona, Scotland, and Martyr.

[Ninth Century.]

We learn, from the Annals of Innisfallen, that the surname of this holy man was Ua Finachta or Ua Finachtain. Idreachtach O'Finachtain is called Coarb of Columbkille, and from this it has been inferred, he was abbot over Londonderry Monastery, in the olden time. However, this title he obtained, because he was the twenty-first Abbot of Hy, and he held office A.D. 849, in which year he went to Ireland, with St. Columba's relics. As the date of his predecessor's death is not recorded, although we know, that Diarmait, the twentieth abbot, visited Ireland, on a similar errand; it cannot be known, when St. Innrechtach began his rule, over the Iona monks. He was regarded as an eminent sage. On the 12th of March, A.D. 852, he suffered martyrdom, among the Saxons, according to the Annals of the Four Masters. He was on his way to Rome. According to the Annals of Ulster, the date for his departure to Christ is A.D. 853, while the Rev. Dr. Reeves places it, at A.D. 854. A legend, by William of Malmesbury, misdates his martyrdom, by one hundred and sixty-five years, and places it near Glastonbury.

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