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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

The Second Life is attributed by Colgan, with some probability, to Patrick Junior, the nephew of St. Patrick, who was the son of his brother, Deacon Sannan. This Patrick Junior was probably Bishop of Rosdela, now Rostalla, in the Co. Westmeath. Afterwards, it would appear, he resigned his See and went to Armagh, where St. Patrick made him Ostarius, or chief sacristan, of his own Cathedral. After the death of his great uncle, Patrick Junior, it is said, retired to Glastonbury, where he ended his life in the odour of sanctity, and wrote this ‘Vita Secunda,’ published by Colgan. Jocelyn names Patrick Junior as one of those who wrote a Life of St. Patrick, and it would seem that he had the work in his possession. But why Colgan identifies this Second Life with that written by Patrick Junior is not clear. Its author certainly outlived St. Patrick, and St. Fiacc also, for he refers to their death, and he was perhaps the only one of those referred to by Jocelyn who survived St. Patrick; that fact may have some weight in having the Life attributed to him. In its present form it is incomplete, for it only goes as far as Patrick’s famous interview with King Laeghaire on the hill of Tara. But it is a very valuable Life, written in fairly good Latin, with a few Irish phrases interposed. The writer makes the Confession the basis of his own account in the earlier part of the Saint’s life, and describes it as the ‘Book or Books of Patrick the Bishop’—the usual heading being—‘Inceperunt Libri Patricii Episcopi,’ as in the Book of Armagh. The writer is emphatic in his statement that St. Patrick was sent to preach in Ireland by Pope Celestine; that he was thirty years of age when he went abroad; and that he came to Ireland at the age of sixty, and spent sixty years more preaching in this country.

Colgan printed the Life from a MS. of the Abbey of St. Hubert, in the Ardennes, collating it with another which he procured from the monastery of Alna in Hannonia; hence Colgan calls the latter the ‘Codex Alnensis.’






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