Tuesday 27 December 2016

God's Fine Disciple: An Irish View of Saint John the Apostle

"Disciple of the Lord,
ever-angelic John,
a goodly, handsome-haired man,
with bright blue eyes,
red-cheeked and fair of face,
with gleaming teeth and dark brows,
red-lipped, white-throated,
skilful and dextrous,
with supple lithe fingers,
fair-sided, light-footed,
noble, slender and serene,
bright with holiness,
friend of Christians,
expeller of the dark devil,
God's fine disciple"

'Episodes from the Life of John, the Beloved Disciple' in Maire Herbert and M. McNamara, trans., Irish Biblical Apocrypha: Selected Texts in Translation (Edinburgh, 1989), 92.

On December 27 the Irish calendars record what the Martyrology of Gorman describes as 'The chief feast of John the Apostle'. I have already written about the Irish tradition concerning the apostle John in a post which can be found here. In it you will find some other selections from the Irish apocryphal writings on the Apostle John, writings which draw on common sources but which reflect distinctive Irish embellishments of the text. They are preserved in a 15th-century manuscript, the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum.

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