BEFORE beginning to relate the story of Saint Patrick it is well for us to understand clearly how that story has been preserved for us. Here, fortunately, we find a subject as full of human and romantic, as of scholarly interest, so that the discussion of sources, which usually proves so forbidding to the general reader (however fascinating to the expert) is likely, in the present case, to be considered not the least appealing chapter in the whole narrative, of which it is the obligatory prelude. These sources are the Saint's own writings (the Confession and the Epistle against Coroticus) and a number of ancient Lives, dating from the seventh to the eleventh century. It will be convenient to study them under the following heads: I.-The Patrician Documents in the Book of Armagh; II-The Vitae, published by the great Franciscan hagiographer, Father John Colgan, in his Trias Thaumaturga; IIII-Other Sources.
Among the treasures salvaged from the wreck of Ireland's ancient civilisation, there is none more precious than a small square volume of vellum preserved in Trinity College, Dublin. More precious even than the Book of Kells is that volume to many an Irish heart, for to it we owe, in greatest part, our most authoritative knowledge about St. Patrick.
A Life of St. Patrick by Muirchu Maccu Machtheni written at the suggestion of Aedh, Bishop of Sleibte. As the obit of Bishop Aedh is given in the Annals s.a. 699, this work (claimed by its author as the earliest formal biography of its subject) must have been at least begun before that date. The few facts discovered about Muirchu have been set forth by Father Hogan. He appears to have been a bishop in the district around Blessington, where in former times the territory of the Vi Faelain "marched" with that of the" Vi Garrahon." He had a brother called Medran who in later times was, like himself, venerated as a saint (festival, June 8, in Felire of Oengus). With Bishop Aedh, Muirchu took part in the Synod of A.D. 697, where Adamnan, the biographer of St. Columba, got adopted his Lex Innocentium. From an expression in the dedicatory preface to his work, Dr. Graves has deduced that he was a son of Cogitosus, author of a celebrated Life of St. Brigid.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)|