Sunday 3 December 2017

Saint Banbán, December 3

At December 3 both the Martyrology of Gorman and the Martyrology of Donegal record the name of 'Banbán, Bishop'. This is an interesting and ancient Irish name whose most well-known saintly bearer is Banbán, Bishop of Leighlin. This saint has a feast on November 26 which raises the possibility that today's commemoration could be the octave day of the Leighlin bishop rather than the feast of a different individual who happens to share the name. There are two further commemorations of Saint Banbán in the Irish calendars, both in the month of May. This saint is described as 'Banbán the Wise', but in his Dictionary of Irish Saints, Pádraig Ó Riain argues that the May and the November feast days probably all relate to the same saint. Interestingly, the May dates fall on the first and the ninth of the month, which again means that we are dealing with an octave day.  Ó Riain does not discuss the December 3 feast, but is it just a coincidence that it too can be read as an octave day for the feast of the Bishop of Leighlin?

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