Tuesday 11 February 2020

Irish Saints in Germany

As we have just commemorated the memory of Blessed Marianus of Ratisbon and Saint Darlughdach of Kildare, whose cult extended to Bavaria, this seems like an opportune moment to reflect on some of the other Irish saints who laboured in Germany. The piece below is another of the syndicated offerings from the New Zealand digitized newspapers collection Papers Past and links the Insula Sanctorum with Bavaria Sancta. I am sure that Canon O'Hanlon would have approved, not only of the author's sentiments, but also of his awareness of the distinction in the early medieval mind between Hibernia Scotorum Insula and the country we now know as Scotland, a distinction later lost when Scottish calendarists like Camerarius and Dempster attempted to claim Irish saints for their own:


(From the Buffalo Catholic Union)

A great Bavarian prelate of the West, when preaching to a mixed congregation of German and Irish Catholics, took occasion to exhort them to mutual love and respect, irrespective of nationality. The Bavarians, said he, should especially bear in mind that they were indebted to the Irish for their Catholicity, the forefathers of the present Irish people having brought the glad tidings of the Gospel to Germany, long centuries ago. In a German work called "Bavaria Sancta," this good bishop, who once labored in the diocese of Buffalo, gives the history of the introduction of Christianity into his native country. An American archbishop, of Irish descent, also intimately connected with this diocese, went still further and said that most of the apostles of Germany and France were Irishmen. The book alluded to, "Bavaria Sancta," gives the names of the Irish saints of Bavaria as follows : Eustasius. Agilus, Marinus, Anianas, Magnus, Columbanus, Erhardus, Alto, Virgilius, Marinus, the younger, Theclanus, Tridolinus, Kilian, Coloman, Totnan, Disibod, Giswold, Clemens, Salust, Amor, Arno, who was brother to Alcuin, the great scholar; Murcherel, or, as some called him, Muricherodachus; Marinus, Vimius, Zimius and Martinus. These twenty-six saints were all Irish; their history and dates of their birth are given at length. It is known that St. Boniface, the great spiritual father of Germany, when on his deathbed, specially recommended the Irish people to the favor of King Pepin. Whole legions of Irish monks emigrated to Germany for apostolic purposes. There existed monasteries peopled by Irish religious in several parts of Germany and France until the Revolution suppressed them. Charlemagne, hearing that Ireland was the prime seat of learning, sent thither an invitation to the scholars to visit his court. The Irish monks, Clement and John, founded the universities of Paris and Pavia in Italy. In the time of Charlemagne the name Scotia was confined to Ireland; we find Eginhard, that monarch's secretary, denominating Ireland as Hibernia Scotorum, Insula, he likewise speaks of letters from the Scottish kings to the emperor. The Scotland of to-day was then in the possession of the Picts and the country was not in a position to form an alliance. Among the Scots who settled in Germany several were raised to the episcopal throne, viz., S. Sidonius, who was the companion of S. Virgilius of Salzburg, S. Franco, third bishop of Verdun, who was martyred in 815 ; S. Patto, also Bishop of Verdun, who was a great favorite with Charlemagne. S. Landeline, a Scottish Saint, was one of the apostles of the present Duchy of Baden.

Henry, surnamed the Lion, first Duke of Austria, charmed with the piety of the Scottish monks, invited several of them to Vienna, where he founded, in 1141, a magnificent abbey under the rule of St. Bennet, which he designed for the burial of his family. Amongst the apostles of Bavaria some were Scotch, or as we have seen, of the "Island Ireland of the Scots," hence really Irish. St. Arbogast, the great apostle of Alsace, was also an Irishman, like St. Findolinus, the founder of the famous abbey of St. Arald, formerly called Hilariacum, in the present German part of Lorraine, then named Westrasia in opposition to Austrasia, of which the capital was Metz. In fact let us be certain that the places in Germany, France, etc., where the Irish have not been the first in founding Christianity, are comparatively very few, although in some parts the name of the country of the first missionaries is not known. What a happy coincidence for Germans and Irish to meet here again on this side of the ocean, after many generations in the same faith and religion, which civilised the world long before the so-called reformation separated the Germans!

IRISH SAINTS IN GERMANY.,New Zealand Tablet, Volume VII, Issue 356, 13 February 1880

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