Tuesday 17 February 2015

Saint Ossan of Rathossain, February 17

17 February is a date on which many saints are commemorated in the Irish calendars of whom Saint Ossan of Rathossain in County Meath is one of the lesser-known . In O'Hanlon's account below I find it curious that there are supposed to be two different saints of this name commemorated on the same day, but the earlier, Patrician saint is not as well-attested as the seventh-century Ossan whose repose is recorded in various Irish Annals.

St. Ossan, Bishop of Rathossain, County of Meath. [Seventh Century.]

Colgan has some notices, regarding this saint, at the 17th of February. He was born, most probably about, or after, the beginning of the seventh century. According to Duald Mac Firbis, we find a Bishop Ossan, from Rath-Ossain, to the west of Ath Truim. It is thought,that he died on the 17th of February, A.D. 686. He is considered to have lived, at a period, somewhat earlier, than another homonymous saint venerated here, and on the same day. Colgan thinks, that a St. Ossan, at or near Trim, is alluded to, as one of the makers of sacred vessels for St. Patrick, under the name of Essa. Yet, this is clearly irreconcilable with chronology. However this be, Ossan, Bishop, is the only mention made of him, in the Martyrology of Tallagh. The Martyrologist, Marianus O'Gorman, calls him "candidus." In a moral sense, this word indicates his character for intergrity or innocence. If it refer to his physical appearance, we may assume that he was a man of clear or fair complexion. We read, as entered in the Martyrology of Donegal, on this day, Ossan, Bishop, of Rath Ossian. His place is particularly pointed out, as being near the western gate of the ancient borough or city of Trim. The " Annals of the Four Masters " place his death at A.D. 685, while calling him Bishop of Mainistir, or "of the Monastery." The "Annals of Ulster" have his demise at A.D. 686.

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