Tuesday 27 August 2013

Blessed Maelbrigid of Armagh, August 27

Canon O'Hanlon records the commemoration of an eleventh-century Irish priest of Armagh at August 27. Maelbrigid, the 'servant of Brigid' was born just two years before the Great Schism of 1054, and seems to have enjoyed a reputation as a priest of great holiness:

The Blessed Maelbrigid, Priest, at Armagh. [Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries.]

There is an account of a holy man,named Maelbrighde MacDoilgen, or the son of Dolgen, in the Irish Annals. He was born in the year 1052, as may be inferred from the statements given. He became a priest a.d. 1080, and he appears to have been attached to the Church at Armagh. He is mentioned, as having been a noble priest, and as having been the senior of the priests of Ireland. Towards the close of his life occurred those disagreeable and factious proceedings, whereby a dominant faction resisted St. Malachy O'Morgair in his efforts to take possession of the See of Armagh, to which he had been elected as the chosen successor of Celsus, both by the clergy and people. In his industriously compiled Chronicle of the Primate Archbishops, illustrious men and incidents relating to the ancient Church of Armagh, Colgan has recorded the present distinguished Priest. He died in the fifty-second year of his priesthood, and in the eightieth of his age, on the 27th of August, 1132. Although desiring to know on what grounds Maelbrigidus is called beatus by Colgan, the Bollandists have noticed him at the 27th day of August, that assigned for his death.

The Entry and Notes from the Annals of the Four Masters:

The Age of Christ, 1132.

Maelbrighde Mac Doilgen, noble priest of Ard-Macha, and senior of the priests of Ireland, died in the fifty-second year of his priesthood, and in the eightieth year of his age, on the 27th of August.

"Maelbrighde Mac Doilgen "A. D. 1132. 1600; and Colgan's Acta Sanctorum, p. 350.

Beatus Maelbrigidus, Dolgenii filius, nobilis prsesbyter Ardmachanus, ac omnium praesbyterorum totius Hibernise senior praecipuus, sacerdotii anno quinquagesimo secundo, et aetatis octuagesimo, die 27 Augusti migravit ad Dominum -Trias Thaum., p.303

John O'Donovan, ed. and trans., The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, Volume II, 1040, 1041.

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