HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

The third of the minna of the Saint was known as the Canoin Patraic, now known as the Book of Armagh, which was always held in the highest veneration as in part at least written by the Saint himself, and, moreover, as the official record of his own Church of Armagh, setting forth Patrick’s copy of the whole of the New Testament, the facts of his life, the letters which he wrote, the maxims he inculcated, the chief canons he enacted, the prerogatives of his see, and the bounds of his diocese.

We have elsewhere referred to the contents of this famous volume at some length, so that we need not refer to it here, except very briefly. It is described as a small vellum quarto, 7¾ inches in height, 5¾ in breadth, 2¼ in thickness. The writing is mostly in double columns, and all seems to be the work of the same scribe, Ferdomnach, who died in A.D. 845. But as the scribe wrote, as he tells us himself, at the dictation of Torbach, Heir of Patrick, who held the primacy only for one year, namely 807, we are forced to infer that the entire volume was written, or rather copied, in that year from an older copy which even then was suffering from the injuries of time. The older MS. in the hands of the Primate was in all probability the original, partly written by St. Patrick himself and partly by Muirchu, Tirechan, and the other original scribes of the venerable records.

Like the other minna of Patrick, this volume was held in the greatest veneration as being partly the work of the Saint, and a record of the most ancient and important documents connected with his church. Hence we find that at a very early date it was enshrined in an elaborate cumdach, as the Four Masters tell us.

A.D. 937. The Canoin Phadraig was covered by Donchadh, son of Flann, King of Ireland.

This cumdach is unfortunately no longer in existence. It was probably seized by John de Curci and his soldiers when they pillaged Armagh, and carried off the Canon of Patrick with many other venerable relics of the primatial church. The Primate himself was made a prisoner also, but he was sent home from Down, and the Canon of Patrick with him—stripped, however, it would seem, of its beautiful cover. That and the other reliquaries were never restored: ‘the foreigners have them all to the present time,’ adds the annalist. Some of them, however, like the Staff of Jesus, they wantonly destroyed at a later period.

Like the Bell of the Will, the Canon of St. Patrick had its own official custodian or steward. He was called the Maor or Steward, because he had the custody of the book, and, as in the case of the Bell, the office became hereditary in one family; they were allowed large lands for their maintenance, and took their surname from their office. Hence they were known as Mac Moyres—the descendants of the Keeper. Yet—the pity of it—when Oliver Plunket, the noblest Heir of Patrick that ever sat in his chair, was arraigned for high treason in 1681 before a hostile judge and jury in London, it was two of those very Mac Moyres, Florence and his brother John—whom the martyred prelate himself described as ‘merciless perjurers’—that swore away his life, for they were amongst the chief faithless witnesses upon whose foresworn testimony he was convicted. And what is perhaps saddest of all, Florence Mac Moyre, at that time the official custodian of St. Patrick’s Book, pawned it for the miserable sum of £5 to a Protestant gentleman, Arthur Brownlow, of Lurgan, to enable him to procure money to go to London to swear away the life of the gentle-hearted and blameless Primate. Patrick himself was willing, as he tells us, at any time to give his life for his flock. Plunket gave it, but it was his own betrayed him the very men whose office obliged them to follow the Heir of Patrick and bear his insignia even unto death.

Mr. Brownlow was, however, a more faithful custodian of the Book of Armagh than its official keepers. He had the Book incased and carefully preserved in his private library down to the year 1853, when it was purchased by the late venerable and learned Dr. Reeves for the sum of £300. Reeves was perhaps the man in all Ireland most fitted to edit and publish the sacred volume, but he did not live to accomplish his task. The Book passed from him to Primate Beresford, a large and liberal-minded prelate, who presented it to Trinity College, Dublin, where it still remains. We understand that Dr. Gwynn, the Regius Professor of Divinity in the University, has continued the labour of Reeves, and that the work is now on the eve of publication.






This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Attribution: Sicarr




Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com