Thursday 19 February 2015

Saint Nuad of Armagh, 19 February

A ninth-century Archbishop of Armagh, Saint Nuad (Nuada or Nodtat), is commemorated on February 19. Canon O'Hanlon records:

St. Nuad, St. Nuada or Nodtat, Archbishop of Armagh

[Eighth and Ninth Centuries.]

At the 19th of February, Colgan and the Bollandists have entered some biographical notices of this holy archbishop, who enjoyed the supreme ecclesiastical dignity in Ireland for a brief period. Nodtat or Nuada, bishop, is mentioned in the Martyrologies of Tallagh, of Marianus O'Gorman, and of Donegal, on this day. He was at first a monk, and also an anchorite. From this state of life, and even against his own will, he had been promoted to the abbatial, and thence translated to the archiepiscopal dignity. His birth-place or residence is said to have been situated at Lough Uama. This signifies the "lake of the cave," the water being said to rise out of a cavern, and the position is also assigned to Breiffny. Here, it is thought, he led the life of an anchoret. The lough, to which allusion has been made, was in the present county of Leitrim. It sometimes flowed back into that cave, whence it issued ; and, the people living on its borders especially believed, that this was an indication of the Dynast's approaching death, or that of his children. Ancient Breffny comprehended the present counties of Cavan and of Leitrim. It was divided into Upper and Lower, or East and West Brefiny. In the latter division, called Brefiny Hy-Ruairc, our saint must have lived, until he was called to a higher dignity, on the death of St. Torbach Mac Gorman. This event took place, on the 16th of July, A.D. 812. Archbishop Nuad visited Connaught, A.D. 810 or 815; and, he is there reported, to have made a reformation of some abuses, which had crept into the churches. The Catalogue of the Armagh Primates allows three complete years, for the presidency of Nuad ; but, these must be understood, with the addition of some months, reckoning from the death of Torbach, on the 16th of July, A.D. 812, to the 19th of February, A.D. 816. Other authorities, however, place his demise before this date, viz., at the year 811 or 812. Under the year 811, this passage occurs in the Annals of Ulster, "Nuad of Loch-Huama, bishop, anchorite, and Abbot of Armagh, fell asleep."

Lanigan's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland says that 'in 811 Nuad made a visitation of some part of Connaught and on that occasion relieved some churches there from an annual offering, which used to be made to that of Armagh' (Vol 3, p.252).

The Ancient List of the Coarbs of Patrick lists Nuada as the 33rd holder of the episcopal see of Armagh.

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