Monday 24 February 2014

Saint Berectus the Monk, February 24

Febuary 24 is chiefly the commemoration of Saint Cuimine the Fair, whose life of Saint Columba is available at my other site here and here. There is also a notice of another saint with a Scottish connection in Canon O'Hanlon's Lives of the Irish Saints, an eighth-century saintly monk named Berectus who seems to have had a reputation as a preacher. Canon O'Hanlon's short account is followed by that of Bishop Forbes:

Reputed Festival of St. Berectus, a Monk, in Scotland.

At the 24th of February, Petrus Galesinus, from some Manuscript Kalendars, has entered a St. Berectus. Arnold Wion states, he was a monk, and a confessor, in Scotia, who excelled in a saintly life, and as a preacher; but, more he could not find, regarding the holy man. He is said to have flourished, during the reign of Mordac, the fifty-ninth King of the Scots. He is said to have died, A.D. 720. Menard, Dorgan and Wilson note his festival, at this date. The Bollandists have a suspicion, that Berectus may be identical with Berachius, who is venerated on the 15th of this month. At the 24th of February, the festival of Berectus, a monk, in Scotia, is entered by Camerarius and by Dempster. The latter acknowledges, that he does not know when the present holy man flourished, although attributing to him a Book of Homilies on the Sacred Scriptures.

From Forbes' Scottish Kalendars

BERECTUS. February 24, Ab. 720. —A Saint of this name, in the reign of Mordac, 59th king of the Scots, is mentioned by Wion. He is said to have died in 720.—(Camerarius de Fort., p. 107.)
Wion, Lignum Vitae, pars 2, lib. iii. p. 57, 1598—"In Scotia Sancti Berecti Monachi et Confessoris, qui profuit et vitae sanctissimae exemplo et predicatione." He adds in a note, " De eodem Galesinus hac die, ex MS. Kalendariis : de cujus rebus gestis nihil reperii."

Alexander Penrose Forbes, D.C.L. Bishop of Brechin, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, (1872), 279.

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