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25 June

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  • ambrois@xtra.co.nz
    Celtic and Old English Saints 25 June =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= * St. Amphibalus of Saint Alban s * St. Moloc of Mortlach * St.
    Message 1 of 14 , Jun 24, 2013
      Celtic and Old English Saints 25 June

      * St. Amphibalus of Saint Alban's
      * St. Moloc of Mortlach
      * St. Adalbert of Egmond
      * St. Milburga of Much Wenlock
      * St. Solomon of Brittany
      * St. Solomon III of Brittany
      * St. Molonachus of Lismore
      * St. Kenneburga of Gloucester

      St. Amphibalus ("of the Cloak"), Priest-martyr of Verulam
      in Hertfordshire, England, Who Taught Saint Alban
      See 22 June

      St. Moloc of Mortlach, Bishop
      (also known as Lua, Luan, Lugaidh, Moloag, Molluog, Molua, Murlach)

      Born in Scotland; died at Rossmarkie, c. 572. Saint Moluag was educated
      in the monastery school of Bangor in Ireland and then returned to his
      native land as a missionary. (Some say that he was actually from Ulster
      and may have been an O'Neill.) The Cistercian Bernard of Clairvaux in
      his biography of his close friend Malachy of Ireland tells us that the
      monk Moluag of Bangor was the founder of 100 monasteries in Scotland. In
      fact, Moluag ranked alongside Saint Columba as a missionary: While
      Columba was the apostle to the Gaels; Moluag evangelized the Picts. His
      main work as a bishop was the evangelization of the Hebrides.
      Inevitably, legends have grown around his name according to which there
      was a rivalry between Moluag and Columba, but it appears that they
      worked among to distinct national groups.

      Moluag actually arrived about a year before Columba in Scotland. He was
      accompanied by Saint Comgall, an Irish Pict, who presented him to King
      Brude to obtain his authority for the mission. Columba, incidentally,
      had Comgall perform the same service for him. It is possible that King
      Brude preferred Moluag to Columba, and that is what led Moluag to
      concentrate more on the Picts. It would be quite natural that the
      Pictish king might have some reservations about the Ulster prince
      Columba, who was a natural leader of the Gaelic people in Scotland.
      Whatever happened, the two missionaries gradually brought an end to the
      armed conflict between the two nations.

      The blackthorn crosier (Bachuill Mor) of Saint Moluag is in the
      possession of the Campbells, dukes of Argyle, who traditionally carried
      it with them into battle. His shrine was at Mortlach. On the island of
      Lewis, the custom persisted, despite the Scottish reformers' attempts to
      stop it, until the 19th century of conducting a ritual service of
      intercession to Moluag at his titular church Teampall Mo Luigh. Although
      the cultus of Moluag decreased together with the power of the Pictish
      people he evangelized, there are many memorials to Moluag in the form of
      ancient churches and placenames. Kilmoluag is a common example. The name
      "Luke," which is very common among men in Scotland, is reliably stated
      to be derived from Moluag.

      Saint Moluag is invoked against insanity and his intercession sought to
      heal wounds (Benedictines, Montague)

      Another Life

      One of the Celtic Giants.

      Died: 592AD
      Also known as Lugaidh and Molloch, Moluag was born c.530AD of the clan
      Dalaraidhe, in northern Ireland where he became a monk of Bangor. Many
      consider his true name to have been Lugaidh (pronounced Lua) and the
      form of Moluag, used in the Annals of Tigernach, is simply an
      affectionate form - Mo-Luoc, "my Lugaidh". St Moluag's plan for working
      Pictland was to organize three great muinntirs or communities to be the
      centres of education and ministerial supply for the Churches in their
      respective districts; and, of course, for the maintenance of these
      central communities he had the reserves of the mother church of Bangor
      in Eire.

      He first organised the great community of Lismore in Lorn about 562AD.
      Moluag's settlement was in the north of Lismore, close to a megalithic
      site surmounted by a high cairn which once marked the funeral pyres of
      Pictish Kings. This island was the sacred island of the Western Picts,
      and continued to be the burial-place of their kings who reigned at
      Beregonium. The Churches dependent on Lismore, still traceable, are
      Teampul Mor in Lewis; the Church of Pabay, that is, Isle of the papa;
      Cill Moluag in Raasay; Teampull Mholuig, "Moluag's Chapel", at Europie
      in Ness; Cill Moluag in Skye; Cill Moluag in Tiree; Cill Moluag in Mull;
      'Kilmalu' in Morvern; 'Kilmalu' of Inverary; and Cill Moluag at
      Ballagan, Inverfarigaig.
      St Moluag's second central community is said to have been organised at
      Rosemarkie on the northern shore of the Inverness Firth (however, see
      below). Many of the churches founded from this centre were afterwards,
      in the Roman Catholic period, dedicated to Roman saints, and they cannot
      now be definitely distinguished as St Moluag's; but there was an old
      church in the strath of the Peffray (Strathpeffer) whose temporalities
      are still called Davoch-Moluag, and the submerged Church of Cromarty was
      evidently one of St Moluag's foundations.
      His third central community was at Mortlach in Morayshire. Dependant
      upon it was the smaller community at Clova or Cloveth near Lumsden
      village. The foundations that still bear St Moluag's name in this part
      of Scotland are at "Maol-Moluag's", now New Machar, at Clatt in the
      Garioch and at Migvie and Tarland. Another of St Moluag's known
      foundations was at Alyth in Perthshire.

      Site of Moluag's muinntir at Cloveth.
      St Moluag continued to labour in Pictland until his death on the 25th
      June 592 AD. Some sources give that he died at Ardclach in Nairnshire.
      According to the other old traditions he died while visiting his
      churches in the Garioch and was buried at Rosemarkie. In the Martyrology
      of Oengus, under his entry on June 25th, is a comment which is typical
      of the warm esteem with which he is commemorated in the Irish calendars:

      "The pure, the bright, the pleasant,
      the sun of Lismore;
      that is Moluoc,
      of Lismore in Alba".

      His crozier, Bacchuill Mor, "the great staff", a piece of blackthorn 34
      inches long and originally covered in a gilded copper case, is preserved
      on Lismore in Bachuil village in the care of the Livingstone family;
      having been for some time in the custody of the Dukes of Argyll. Because
      of their associations with the Bacchuill Mhor this Livingstone family
      holds the ancient title of Barons of Bachuil.
      Of course, it will not escape the attention of the reader that St
      Moluag's three main foundations at Lismore, Rosemarkie and Mortlach in
      time became the seats of the ancient medieval Roman Sees of the Isles,
      Ross and Aberdeen.
      It must not be supposed that the trained clergy from Bangor and from St
      Moluag's own centres kept themselves apart from the Britonic and the
      native Pictish clergy who were at work in Pictland at this time; because
      there is evidence that the Bangor clergy assisted in manning Churches
      founded long before their arrival as well as looking to the care of
      congregations gathered by themselves. The only sign of want of
      co-operation between the Celtic clergy, as might be expected from the
      political relations of the time, was between the Picts and the Gaidheals
      or Scots, in the territory occupied by the Scotic colonists in Dalriada.
      There was certainly no co-operation between the Pictish ecclesiastics
      and the Gaidhealic ecclesiastics in the island of Tiree!
      There is some discrepancy with regard to St Moluag's burial place. Until
      recent times the tradition on Lismore itself was that Moluag died at
      Ardclach and that his body was born back to Lismore by twenty-four of
      the most stalwart islanders. This tradition is very much in keeping with
      the Celtic tradition of burying a saint in his main or oldest
      foundation. Another source gives that the story of Moluag being buried
      at Rosemarkie is false and repeats the story that his body was taken to
      Lismore. It goes further by relating that there was a later Moluag, a
      colleague of St Boniface, and that he was a great preacher. It is said
      that it is this second Moluag, who died over a hundred years after the
      first, that was buried in Boniface's chapel at Rosemarkie. It has to be
      said that, if one is to accept the first Moluag's association with the
      district round Rosemarkie then it is surprising that there are so very
      few churches which bear his name. Even where original Celtic saints
      names were replaced with Roman ones, it is rare for the original to
      completely disappear. This story of a second Moluag may have an essence
      of truth in it!

      The Islanders talk about Moluag as if they had just recently met him out
      shopping on the mainland - and they are mostly presbyterian !

      His Abbatal Bell is in Edinburgh and his Stone Chair is nestled in the
      rocks at Lismore (Lios-mor - Big Garden) and a flower is named for him.
      There are not many dedications of churches in his name: There is one
      of them at Kentallen-by-Duror - and there is another in the Outer Isles.

      Holy Father Moluag - Pray for us.

      A Modern Pilgrim's Pilgrimage to Lismore

      St. Adalbert of Egmond
      Born in Northumberland, England; died c. 740. Saint Adalbert, a prince
      by birth, became a monk at Rathmelgisi and accompanied Saint Willibrord
      as one of his deacons to Friesland. He laboured especially around
      Egmont, of which
      Benedictine abbey he is the patron (Benedictines). Adalbert is venerated
      in Friesland. Depicted as a deacon with a crown and sceptre at his feet;
      sometimes in dalmatic, crowned, and holding the sceptre (Roeder).

      St. Milburga, Abbess of Much Wenlock, England
      (also known as Milburgh)
      Died c. 700 or 722; This is the feast of the translation of her relics.
      The ruins of Wenlock Abbey in Shropshire, dating from the 11th century,
      remind us of Saint Milburga, whose name still lingers in that area. She
      was one of a family of eminent saints and belonged to the royal house of

      How often a good mother is blessed in her children! Her mother Domneva
      (Domna Ebba or Ermenburga), princess of Kent, had three daughters:
      Milburga, Mildred, and Mildgytha, each of whom grew up to follow the
      pattern of her mother's faith, and each, after a life wholly devoted to
      Christ, was recognised as a saint.

      Those were the days when the daughters of kings were proud and eager to
      dedicate their wealth and talents in Christian leadership and to pour
      out their youth and strength in the service of the Church. They founded
      and ruled great abbeys, taught the young, cared for the sick, and
      relieved the poor.

      Milburga, like her mother before her, surrendered her high estate,
      forsook the luxury and comfort of her home, and counted it her highest
      privilege to serve God in a consecrated Christian life. Helped by her
      father, Merewald, an Anglian chieftain, and her uncle Wulfhere, king of
      Mercia, she founded the monastery of Wenlock, which was placed under the
      direction of Saint Botulf of East Anglia. Its first abbess was
      Liobsynde, a French nun from Chelles. Its second was Milburga, who was
      consecrated abbess by Archbishop Saint Theodore. It was no ordinary
      monastery; everything about it reflected the grace and fragrance of her
      own pure spirit. The gardens were full of the choicest flowers, the
      orchards bore the sweetest fruits, and within its walls was found, we
      are told, the very peace of heaven.

      By her sheer goodness Milburga converted many to the Christian faith,
      and this in a dark and primitive age when, outside the monastery walls,
      the countryside was wild and remote, and full of unknown dangers. One
      day, for example, on one of her errands of mercy, she was terrified by a
      neighbouring princeling who, wishing to marry her, intercepted her with
      a band of soldiers, but she providentially escaped. In her flight she
      crossed a small stream called the Corve, and he, following, found when
      he reached it that the waters had risen and his plan was thwarted. The
      place where it happened it called to this day Stoke Saint Milburgh.

      She loved flowers, birds (over which she had a mysterious power),
      country life, and country people, to sit and work in the sun and tend
      the herbs in her garden, and to visit in the villages around. People
      came to her with their troubles and ailments and even ascribed to her
      miraculous cures. Milburga was venerated for her humility, holiness, the
      miracles she performed, and for the gift of levitation she is said to
      have possessed.

      According to Boniface, the famous Vision of the Monk of Wenlock occurred
      during Milburga's abbacy. Goscelin also preserved her testament, which
      is a long, apparently authentic list of lands that belonged to her at
      her death.

      When she was on her deathbed, she said to her followers, "I have been
      mother to you. I have watched over you like a mother, with pious care.
      And in mercy, I go the way of all flesh. A higher call invites me." One
      by one they said farewell, gave her the holy sacraments, and after her
      death buried her body near the altar of the abbey.

      Her tomb was long venerated but its site was unknown when the Cluniac
      monks from La-Charite-sur-Loire refounded Wenlock in 1079. The church
      had a silver casket that contained her relics and documents describing
      the site of her grave, near an altar then unknown. Apparently, the
      church was destroyed by the Danes.

      After consulting Anselm, the monks excavated an old, disused church.
      Thus, centuries later, two boys who were playing among its ruins fell
      through the pavement by the broken altar, as a result of which her tomb
      was rediscovered. When opened, according to legend, there came from it a
      heavenly sweetness, and the lost garden of the monastery seemed filled
      again with the fragrance of the flowers she had planted.

      Among the miracles documented were the healing of lepers and the blinds,
      and, the vomiting of a worm that had caused a wasting disease. Goscelin
      wrote her vita in the late 11th century. Her feast was common in English
      calendars from the Bosworth Psalter (c. 1000) onwards (Attwater,
      Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Gill, Husenbeth).

      In art, Saint Milburgh holds the abbey of Wenlock. There may be geese
      near her. She is venerated at Stoke (Roeder).

      St. Solomon of Brittany, Martyr
      Born in Cornwall; died 434. King Solomon of Brittany was the husband of
      Saint Gwen and father of Saints Cuby and Cadfan. He was murdered by
      heathen malcontents among his subjects (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia).

      St. Solomon (Selyf) III, Martyr
      Died 874. Several centuries after the death of Solomon I of Brittany,
      this saint was born to be king of Brittany during a brutal time. He was
      a warrior against the Franks, Norsemen, and his own rebellious subjects,
      which has made him a hero among the Bretons. During his early years he
      committed many crimes, but later did penance for them. When he was
      assassinated, his people immediately acclaimed him a martyr

      St. Molonachus of Lismore, Bishop
      7th century. Molonachus, a disciple of Saint Brendan, became bishop of
      Lismore in Argyle (Benedictines).

      St. Kenneburga, Virgin and Martyr of Gloucester, England


      Attwater, D. (1983). The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, NY:
      Penguin Books.

      Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
      (1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.

      Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket Dictionary of Saints, NY:
      Doubleday Image.

      Encyclopaedia of Catholic Saints, June. (1966).
      Philadelphia: Chilton Books.

      Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
      Oxford: Oxford University Press.

      Gill, F. C. (1958). The Glorious Company: Lives of Great Christians
      for Daily Devotion, vol. I. London: Epworth Press.

      Husenbeth, Rev. F. C., DD, VG (ed.). (1928). Butler's
      Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints.
      London: Virtue & Co.

      Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland.
      Guildford: Billing & Sons.

      Roeder, H. (1956). Saints and Their Attributes, Chicago: Henry

      These Lives are archived at:
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