Thursday 25 July 2013

Saint Colman O'Liathain, July 25

July 25 is the commemoration of one of the many saints bearing the name of Colman. This one is a 7th-8th century abbot of Lismore, the great monastic foundation of Saint Mochuda, as Canon O'Hanlon explains:

Feast of St. Colman O'Liathain, Bishop or Abbot of Lismore. [Seventh and Eighth Centuries].

The feast of this saint, called Mocholmoc, is set down in the "Feilire" of St. Oengus, at the 25th of July. A comment is affixed, which throws some light on his family. In this gloss we read ‘Colman, descendant of Liathan, of Less Mor Mochuda’. A festival is registered, likewise, at the 25th of July, in the Martyrology of Tallagh, to honour St. Colman, said to have been identical with Mocholmoc h-Fachrach. According to the Calendar of Cashel, a festival in honour of this holy person occurs, on the 25th of July. He has been confounded with another St. Colman, Bishop and Abbot of Lismore, whose feast was kept on the 22nd of January. This latter died in the year 702. The present saint appears to have succeeded Cronan Ua Eoan, Abbot of Lismore, who died on the 1st of June, A.D. 716.

Colgan calls St. Colman O'Liathain a Bishop of Lismore, in one place. The Four Masters, however, when recording his death, only style him a select doctor. It is probable, that he was both Bishop and Abbot of Lismore; for, he is called Comorban or successor of St. Mochudda, in the Calendar of Cashel. According to his usual computation, the Rev. Dr. Lanigan places the death of St. Colman O'Liathain, in the year 726. This learned writer believes, likewise, that his natalis should be assigned to the 25th of July. The Four Masters place his death at A.D. 725, as also do the O'Clerys. Colgan, also assigns the death of St. Colman O'Liathain, Bishop of Lismore, to A.D. 725. In the Annals of Ulster, his death is placed at A.D. 730. In neither entry, however, do we find St. Colman O'Liadain called Bishop of Lismore. At this same date, the Martyrology of Donegal enters the name, Colman Ua Liathain, Doctor. In the table appended to this Martyrology, the compiler has a Latin comment, written in Irish characters, to the purport, that Oengus calls him Mocholmog, in the same way as Miarnog for Iarna, Mosiolog, Maodhdg, Moedoein.

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