Monday 29 December 2014

Saint Maedóc of Lismore, December 29

December 29 is the feast day of a saint of the monastery of Lismore, Saint Maedóc. In the Irish annals the successors to Saint Carthage of Lismore are sometimes styled as abbots and sometimes as bishops. The Martyrology of Donegal gives our saint the latter title:


MAEDHOG, Bishop, of Lis-mór.

Here is a brief reminder of the history of Lismore and its founder:

The church and monastery of Lismore, which grew to be one of the renowned centres of ancient Irish learning and piety, owed its foundation to St. Mochuda of the 7th century. Mochuda, otherwise Carthage, was a native of Kerry, and he had been abbot of Rahan in Offaly. It is probable that there had been a Christian church at Lismore previous to the time of Mochuda, for in the Saint's Life there is an implied reference to such a foundation. Be this as it may, Mochuda, driven out of Rahan, with his muintir, or religious household, migrated southward, and, having crossed the Blackwater at Affane, established himself at Lismore in 630. In deference to Mochuda's place of birth the saint's successor in Lismore was, for centuries, a Kerryman. Lismore grew in time to be a great religious city, and a school of sacred sciences, to which pilgrims from all over Ireland and scholars from beyond the seas resorted. The rulers of the great establishment were all, or most of them, bishops, though they are more generally styled abbots by the Annalists. Among the number are several who are listed as Saints by the Irish Martyrologies, scil:

Maedoc, bishop of Lismore ... . .. Nov. 29.

Rev. Patrick Power, Waterford & Lismore - A Compendious History of the United Dioceses (Cork, 1937), 5-6.

Not for the first time I notice that Father Power's quotation of the feast days from the Martyrologies seems to be out, for in both the Martyrology of Donegal and in the Martyrology of Gorman our saint is listed at December 29 and not November. I assume this is a typo.

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