Wednesday 9 February 2022

A Papal Tribute to a Learned Irishman

February 9 is the commemoration of the eleventh-century Irish monastic scribe Marianus Scotus,
Muiredhach Mac Robartaigh, a Donegal man who pursued his vocation at the Irish monastery of Ratisbon in Germany. He left Ireland in the year 1067 and died at Ratisbon on February 9, 1088. He is the second Irishman with the Latinized name of Marianus to find fame among the Germans, as a decade earlier his namesake, Marianus the Chronicler, began his scholarly work at the monastery of Mainz. Now it seems there may also have been a third, Marianus the Master, who had once been a teacher to Pope Adrian in Paris, as writer Seumas MacManus explains:

The scholarship of holy Marianus Scotus of Donegal has already been referred to. There was another Irish Marianus, tutor of Pope Adrian, who taught in the royal school in Paris, about the same time that Marianus Scotus was doing his good work in Ratisbon. And this latter Marianus only accidentally escapes the oblivion to which hundreds and thousands of his exiled learned countrymen were consigned. He seems to have retired in his old age to the monastery of his namesake at Ratisbon. And when Abbot Gregory, who was a successor of Holy Marianus, visited Adrian in Rome, that Pope paid a wonderful tribute to Marianus the Master. The incident is set down in the Chronicles of Ratisbon, which says:

'A distinguished Irish ecclesiastic, Marianus, entered St. James's, who had long taught the seven liberal and other arts in Paris. When Gregory was admitted to an audience at Rome, Pope Adrian inquired, among other things, after his old preceptor at Paris. 'Master Marianus is well,' replied Gregory, 'and is now living a monk among us at Ratisbon.' 'God be praised,' exclaimed the Pope ; 'I know not in the Catholic Church an abbot [than you, Gregory] who has under him a man as excellent in wisdom, discretion, genius, eloquence, than this same Marianus.'

 Seamus MacManus, The Story of the Irish Race - A Popular History of Ireland, (New York, 1921), 165.


Content Copyright © Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae 2012-2022. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog. I just found it. It will be a regular source of enjoyment.

Marcella said...

Thank you, glad you found the blog and hope you will enjoy it.