« Celsus Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland Cemeteries »

Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland

I. Origin and Early History, to c. 500.

1. In Britain.

Heresies (§ 1).

2. In Ireland.

Native Tradition of Origin (§ 1).

The Tradition Unreliable (§ 2).

Prosper's Palladius the Same as Patrick (§ 3).

True Origin of the Irish Church (§ 4).

St. Patrick (§ 5).

3. In North Britain (Alba).

II. Development and Full Maturity, 500–800.

1. In Britain.

The Church in Wales (§ 1).

The British Church and Augustine (§ 2).

2. In Ireland and North Britain.

The Irish Church not Revived from Wales in the Sixth Century (§ 1).

Learning of the Irish Monks (§ 2).

Travels and Missionary Labors (§ 3).

North Britain Christianized (§ 4).

Relations with Rome (§ 5).

The Patrick Legend (§ 6).

Conforms to Roman Usage (§ 7).

III. Complete Assimilation to the Roman Church, 800–1200.

1. In Wales.

2. In Ireland.

Incursions of the Norsemen (§ 1).

Irish Monks on the Continent (§ 2).

Rise of Armagh (§ 3).

The Culdees (§ 4).

Final Subjection to Rome (§ 5).

3. In North Britain.

IV. Some General Considerations.

Reason for the Divergences from Rome (§ 1).

Consecration by a Single Bishop (§ 2).

Monastic Character of the Irish Church (§ 3).

The Celtic and Roman Spirit (§ 4).

Relics (§ 5).

By the Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland is meant the Christian Church which existed in parts of Great Britain and Ireland before the mission of Augustine (597), and which for some time thereafter maintained its independence by the aide of the new Anglo-Roman Church. It comprises two branches, one in Roman Britain and a continuation of it in Wales, the other in Ireland and Alba (Scotland).

I. Origin and Early History, to c. 500.

1. In Britain.

There is no trustworthy account of the introduction of Christianity into Britain. That the British Church of the first half of the sixth century had no knowledge or tradition of the time or manner may be inferred from the silence of Gildas. The Lucius story may be dismissed at once as fabulous (see Eleutherus; Chur, Bishopric of). Foreign writers give no more reliable information than the native sources. The arguments of Warren (pp. 46–62) for the introduction of Christianity into Britain from Greek churches in Lyons and Vienne as a consequence of the persecutions under Marcus Aurelius are not convincing [cf. F. Haverfield, Early British Christianity, in The English Historical Review, xi. (1896) 418, n. 2]. It is more probable that the Gospel came to the island by ordinary intercourse with other countries, and Gaul and the Lower Rhine lands are those of which it is most natural to think. Had there been organized or individual missionary effort, tradition would have preserved names. That Christianity was widely spread in Britain by the beginning of the third century can hardly be inferred from the notices in Tertullian and Origen (Haddan and Stubbs, i. 3–4), which are too rhetorical to be safe testimonies. It does seem certain, however, that much progress was made during the third century. This rests, not upon the sixth-century tradition of martyrs in Britain during the Diocletian persecution, which probably did not have any noteworthy extension into Britain (cf. Haddan and Stubbs, i. 5–6), but upon the fact that three bishops, a presbyter, and a deacon from York, Lincoln [according to others Colchester or Carleonon-Usk], and London took part in the Synod of Arles in 316 (Haddan and Stubbs, i. 7). The towns from which they came as well as the localities assigned for the martyrdoms mentioned by Gildas (St. Albans, Carleon-on-Usk) show distinctly that Christianity first took firm foothold in the cities and stations of the Roman highways.

1. Heresies.

The records are sufficient to show that throughout the fourth century there was a well-organized Church in Britain which stood in constant touch with the rest of the Church, particularly in Gaul, and considered itself an active member of that body (Haddan and Stubbs, i. 7–12). British bishops attended the synod summoned at Ariminum (Rimini) by Constantius in 359 [Haddan and Stubbs, i. 9–10], and their presence shows that their Church was drawn into general doctrinal disputes. Gildas maintains that it was much injured by Arianism (p. 32, ll. 20–25). His testimony is controverted by that of Hilary of Poitiers (c. 358) and Athanasius (363; both in Haddan and Stubbs, i. 7, 9). But it must be admitted that Arian views found acceptance in Britain during the second half of the fourth century, and as the Roman power was waning there from that time on, it is conceivable that such views may have lingered and found expression se late as 600, possibly in the baptismal formula (cf. F. C. Conybeare, The Character of the Heresy of the Early British Church, in the Transactions of the Society of Cymmrodorion, 1897–98, pp. 84–117). It is noteworthy that a life of Gildas written in the eleventh century, but based upon materials taken from the sixth century, and a life of Patrick of the second half of the seventh century lay stress on their devotion to the Holy Trinity (Chronica minora, iii. 95, ll. 8–9; Tripartite Life, ii. 273, ll. 12–13; 286, ll. 6–7); and Gregory the Great is said to have suspected Columba of not being quite sound in the doctrine (Bernard and Atkinson, i. 64, ii. 25). It is certain that Pelagianism appeared in Britain during the fifth century (see Agricola). Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, was sent thither in 429, and "overthrew the heretics and directed the Britons to the Catholic faith" (Prosper of Aquitaine, Chronicle, anno 429). Some years later, on a second mission, he completed the extirpation of Pelagianism in the island (Vita Germani, used by Bede, i. 17, 21). Gildas, writing a century later, does not mention the heresy. For a hundred years after the mission of Germanus nothing is heard of the Church in Britain. The land was abandoned by the Romans, and the Anglo-Saxon conquest caused Christianity to disappear completely from the East. With those Britons who kept their independence it found a refuge in the mountains of the West, whence it gradually 469comes again into view in the sixth century (see below, II., 1).

2. In Ireland.

1. Native Tradition of Origin.

There is native tradition of the introduction of Christianity into Ireland, the two oldest records of which can scarcely be dated earlier than the last quarter of the seventh century. They are (1) the life of Patrick, written by Muirchu Maccu-Machtheni at the wish of Bishop Aed of Sletty (d. 698), and (2) the collections of a certain Tirechan, a pupil of Ultan of Ardbrechan (d. 656), based upon information about Patrick which his teacher had communicated to him personally or had left in his papers. Both records, but with additions and amplifications, are in the Book of Armagh (Liber Ardmachanus), the several parts of which were written between 807 and 846. In brief this native tradition is as follows: In 431 Ireland was entirely heathen. In that year Pope Celestine I. sent a certain Palladius to preach to the people, but he turned back and died in Britain. His place was at once (c. 432) taken by a Briton, Patrick, who in his youth had been a prisoner in Ireland. He evangelized the entire land, founded churches everywhere, ordained bishops and presbyters, and died (459) universally revered as the head of the Church, in which he held a sort of metropolitan rank, with his see at Armagh in Ulster.

2. The Tradition Unreliable.

Everything discredits the authenticity of this tradition. (1) It represents Patrick as a personality comparable to Martin of Tours or Columba, the apostle to the Picts; such men do not fail to find a biographer among their admirers and associates; their fame grows and is spread in the next generation. But the name of Patrick does not appear till the second third of the seventh century, and then it is in the letter of Cummian to the abbot Seghine of Iona, in connection with the introduction of the Dionysian (!) paschal computation, which is ascribed to him. He is not mentioned in the full report of the Synod of Whitby (664), although the arguments were historical and the Irish referred to the traditions of their forefathers and to Columba (Bede, iii. 25). Bede must have been well informed concerning the Church in North Ireland and his interest in the beginnings of Christianity in the British Isles was keen; yet he says nothing about Patrick in his Historia ecclesiastica. It seems impossible that there can have existed in the North of Ireland in the seventh century a tradition of a founder of the Irish Church called Patrick. And yet it is in the North (at Armagh) that the tradition (the first reports of which come from the South) represents Patrick as having his see and ending his days. (2) The tradition describes the Irish Church as episcopal, dependent on Patrick's see of Armagh. But as a matter of fact the Church of Columba and of Finnian of Clonard, i.e., from the end of the fifth century, is a monastic church without central organization and with no traces of such a past as the tradition presupposes. How intensely the Irish cling to the customs of their fathers was shown at Whitby; it took four hundred years to transform this monastic church of the sixth and seventh centuries even after the theoretical acceptance of an episcopal constitution. If, then, the organization was so fundamentally changed within one generation, as it must have been if the tradition be correct, an explanation is needed. And none is forthcoming. (3) There is good reason to believe that Ireland was not entirely heathen in 431. The island is easily accessible from Britain; and active intercourse, particularly between the Southwest of Britain and the Southeast of Ireland, existed as early as the third and fourth centuries (cf. Zimmer, Nennius vindicatus, pp. 85–93, Berlin, 1893; Kuno Meyer, Early Relations Between Gael and Brython, in the Transactions of the Society of Cymmrodorion, 1895–96, pp. 55–86). As has been seen, there was a well-organized British Church in the fourth century. It is natural to assume, then, that Christianity was carried to Ireland from Britain before the time assigned to Patrick. And the assumption is corroborated by certain saints' lives, particularly those of Declan, Ailbe, Ibhar, Ciaran, and Abban (ASB, July, v. 590–608; Sept., iv. 26–31; Apr., iii. 173; Mar., i. 389–399; Oct., xii. 270–293; cf. also Ussher, Antiquitates, ed. of 1687, pp. 408 sqq.). In all these lives Patrick figures as "Archbishop of Ireland," but this is due to the time of redaction. These same men are not only Patrick's contemporaries, but older contemporaries, independent of him, and recognized as the apostles of their districts. Their locality is the Southeast, the coast counties of Wicklow, Wexford, and Waterford, and the adjoining inland counties of Kilkenny and Tipperary, where local testimonies to their cult still survive. Further evidence may be found in the fact that the two lives of Patrick, mentioned above, limit his activity to the North. The Patrick legend originated in the South and was forced upon the North from the time of Cummian's letter, the object being to win over the North Irish to conformity with the Roman Church. But this alone does not explain the silence of the lives concerning the South. It must be that, while the Southerners were willing to acknowledge Patrick theoretically as apostle of the North with his see at Armagh, hoping thereby to win over the mainstay of the opposing party, the abbot-bishop of Armagh, the traditions in the South concerning the founders of the monasteries there were too well known to admit of a description of Patrick as the apostle of the South. A third testimony is the fact that Ireland cherished the memory of the heresiarch Pelagius and was well acquainted with his writings (cf. Bede, ii. 19). In the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, the Irish Church possessed the original unmutilated commentary of Pelagius (when it had disappeared everywhere else in the West) and knew that Pelagius was the author. Pelagius may himself have been an Irishman (cf. Jerome, in MPL, xxiv. 682a, 758b). He was a sincere and earnest thinker and did not adopt heretical views until he went to Rome (c. 400). His learning was great and would naturally gratify the pride of his countrymen. If he 470came from a monastery of southeastern Ireland, it is easy to understand how his books were brought thither and how they came to be preserved. But, whatever may have been the nationality of Pelagius, his celebrity in Ireland is incompatible with the Patrick legend. Pelagianism was annihilated in the Roman State and See by Honorius and Zosimus in 418. In 429 Germanus successfully combated it in Britain. If, then, Ireland was wholly heathen in 431 and Patrick Christianized the land and organized its Church, he must himself have carried Pelagianism thither—which is, of course, absurd. But if the South was already Christian in the first quarter of the fifth century, it is quite comprehensible how Pelagianism found its way to the island. (4) Linguistic facts prove that Christianity came to Ireland from Britain. British and Irish are Celtic tongues, but certain differences of sound had developed by the fourth century. Ecclesiastical and other loan-words, introduced into Irish from Latin with the Christian religion, show forms hard to explain if they came directly from the Latin, but quite comprehensible if they came, through the medium of British (cf. Güterbock, Lateinische Lehnwörter im Irischen, pp. 91 sqq. Leipsic, 1882). Patrick himself was a Briton, it is true; but he is said to have studied on the Continent, and his associates are represented as of Romance origin (Tripartite Life, ii. 273, 305; Haddan and Stubbs, ii. 292). (5) Among the writings attributed to the supposed apostle of Ireland are two, the so-called "Confession" and the "Epistle Concerning Coroticus," which are undoubtedly authentic. They are the work of a man "unlearned and rustic, not at all such a one as later times extolled with the highest praises" (Schöll, p. 71; cf. p. 68), or one who could have founded in the fifth century the Irish Church—a Church in which from the sixth to the ninth century Christian and classical learning were united as nowhere else in the West. Moreover, the "Confession" is the work of a man looking back upon a long life, complaining bitterly of ingratitude, trying to defend himself from the reproach of having presumed to undertake a calling above his capabilities, and threatening to turn his back on Ireland because he recognizes the failure of his life's work there. And he makes not the slightest mention of ever having consecrated a bishop or established a single church in the island. (6) Finally there is the definite statement of Prosper of Aquitaine (Chron., anno 431) that Pope Celestine "ordained Palladius and sent him as their first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ." Prosper was probably in Rome in 431 and issued the first edition of his "Chronicle," which contains the statement quoted, in 433. Here then is a record, as certain and credible as may be, which confirms the supposition that the Irish, in part at any rate, were Christians in 431. The meaning of Prosper's expression "first bishop" is clear, bearing in mind the organization of the Irish Church. Palladius was the first bishop canonically ordained according to Prosper's view, in distinction from the missionary and monastic bishops of the Irish Church during the fifth century. In his later Liber contra collatorem (written probably about 437), in the course of a fulsome eulogy of Celestine, Prosper states that "while he [Celestine] endeavored to keep the Roman island [Britain] Catholic, he made also the barbarous island [Ireland] Christian" (in MPL, Ii. 271b-c). But a rhetorical statement of this sort does not impair the value of the careful entry in the "Chronicle." Moreover, the supposition that Celestine ordained a simple deacon—for such Palladius still was in 431—as bishop of a land considered wholly heathen is in itself untenable. It was not customary to consecrate "bishops" for lands where there were no Christians. Augustine was sent by Gregory to preach to the Angles; but he was not consecrated till he had made converts among them.

3. Prosper's Palladius the Same as Patrick.

Before attempting to reconstruct the early history of Christianity in Ireland, it must be noted that the historical Patrick and Prospers Palladius are the same. Various reasons may be mentioned: (1) Palladius went from Rome to the Irish Christians in 431; Patrick appeared in Ireland in 432. In view of the difficulties of travel of the time, it is hardly conceivable that two different persons should have been despatched to Ireland within the space of one year. (2) Palladius went as the ordained bishop of the Irish Christians; Patrick (in the first sentence of the "Epistle") calls himself with emphasis the appointed bishop for Ireland. (3) Palladius is first mentioned by Prosper under the year 429 as instigating the mission of Germanus against Pelagianism, from which it may be inferred that Palladius was a Briton and stood in somewhat intimate relations with Germanus. This is true of Patrick according to his own testimony and statements of the lives ("Confession," Haddan and Stubbs, ii. 309, ll. 1–4; Tripartite Life, ii. 370, ll. 9–14; lives, ib. ii. 272, Il. 4–5; 302, ll. 19–23). (4) If Palladius was a Briton, his Romanized name, according to the general custom of the time, should be a translation of his native name. Hence the latter should have some such signification as "war like" or "having to do with war." Patrick's British name was Sucat (Muirchu, Tripartite Life, ii. 494, l. 6; Tirechan, ibid. 302, l. 5; Fiacc's Hymn, ibid. 404–405), composed of su, "good," and cat, "war," a word still in use in modern Welsh in the form hygad, signifying "warlike." If, as was but natural, he resumed his native name on reaching Ireland and the name Palladius first became known there from Prospers work, it is easy to understand how the idea of two persons arose. As for the name Patrick, it is not improbable that Sucat-Palladius assumed it himself. He was especially proud of his alleged aristocratic descent (cf. his words in Haddan and Stubbs, ii. 316, ll. 15–17; 306, ll. 26–27; Tripartite Life, ii. 377, ll. 19–22; 368, ll. 1–2), which, however, was not so distinguished as he would make out. In Rome at that time the title Patricius was often conferred upon high officials of the empire to indicate rank. The somewhat narrow-minded Sucat, applying Roman conditions to the little British country town of Bannaventa, where his father had been senator or mayor, may have taken to himself the title Patricius, and so 471figured in Ireland as Sucat Patricius, and in his writings merely as Patricius. If this name entered into the Irish vernacular of the fifth century, according to linguistic laws it should appear in Irish of the seventh century as Cathrige or Cothrige. And it is a fact that a number of sources (Tirechan, Fiacc's Hymn, and others) state that Patrick was also called Cothrige.

4. True Origin of the Irish Church.

As a result of the foregoing argument, the origin and early history of the Celtic Church in Ireland seems to be as follows: Christianity was brought to Ireland from Britain during the fourth century as a natural outcome of the close intercourse between southwest Britain and southeast Ireland. The actual foundation of a Church, extending over large parts of the island, must be regarded as a result of that first great wave of monasticism which swept over Gaul and Britain from the middle of the fourth century and carried a number of half-Romanized Christian Britons to Ireland. Two facts confirm this view: (1) The great repute of Martin of Tours in Ireland, so great that in the ninth century it was thought desirable to bring the new apostle, Patrick, into close relations with Martin, and he was even accounted the latter's nephew. (2) The difference between the organization of the Irish Church and that of the British Church from which it sprang. Just how fast and how far Christianity spread can not be ascertained, but it seems safe to say that the northeast coast was Christian about 400. It is noteworthy that Patrick, in the two passages of the "Confession" where he speaks of his six years' captivity in North Ireland (Haddan and Stubbs, ii. 296, ll. 5 sqq.; 300, ll. 16 sqq.; Tripartite Life, ii. 357, ll. 7 sqq.; 361, ll. 19 sqq.), does not intimate by a single word that the Irish with whom he lived were heathen. This is the more remarkable since he dwells with horror on the paganism of the pirates into whose hands he fell when he made his escape (Haddan and Stubbs, ii. 301, l. 16–303, l. 2; Tripartite Life, ii. 362, l. 19–363, l. 34). No doubt the Saxons drove a number of Christian Britons into Ireland, as well as to the Armorican coast of Gaul, during the fifth century.

5. St. Patrick.

A Briton named Sucat played a prominent part in the Irish Church during the second third of the fifth century. The following outline of his life is based upon his own statements in the "Confession," and the notices of Prosper, interpreted as above. He was born about 386 in the borough of Bannaventa in central Britain, probably near the modern Daventry in Northamptonshire. His family possessed some wealth and had been Christian for generations. He led an easy worldly life until the age of sixteen (402), when plundering Irish carried him off as a slave to North Ireland. For six years (402–408) he was a swineherd. Reflection and changed circumstances made him a new man. He practised austerities, saw visions, and heard voices which counseled him to flee. He reached the coast and fell in there with heathen (doubtless Saxons), who took him to Britain and led him about the country for sixty days. Then he escaped and finally arrived at his home (408 or 409). There he became a deacon. His visions continued, and eventually he came to believe himself called to be the bishop of Ireland. In his native place, where he was looked upon as an enthusiast, narrowminded, and of defective education, obstacles arose to his consecration. His parents and friends were against it. So he left home at the age of thirty-eight (c. 424), and followed the old road by way of Auxerre (where he stayed some time with Germanus), through the Rhone valley, by way of Arles, along the coast of Provence and the Lerinian islands, through Upper Italy, to Rome. If Ultan may be believed (Tirechan, Tripartite Life, ii. 302, ll. 19–23), he spent seven years wandering through Gaul and Italy. His barbarian name was Latinized into Palladius. At Rome he gained influence probably the more readily since for twenty years Britain had been separated from the empire and the connection between the British Church and Rome had become difficult. Perhaps also he exaggerated his family's position and influence to the leading ecclesiastical circles. In 429 he was instrumental in sending Germanus of Auxerre to Britain, and in 431 he attained his heart's desire and was consecrated episcopus for Ireland. He reached Ireland in 432, dropped the Roman translation of his name, and assumed in its stead the title Patricaus. There are no trustworthy details of his activity in Ireland. But he was never recognized as its "appointed bishop." In the letter on Coroticua he says complainingly "although now I am despised by some," and in the "Confession," written near the end of his life, he characterizes himself as " despised by most." His very limited literary education may well have aroused the scorn and derision of his more cultured associates. How far he extended his missionary efforts in Connaught and the Northwest, where there must still have been opportunity for such work, can hardly be ascertained from the "Confession," the only source of any authority. Its words are those of a monkish ascetic to whom convertere ad deum is identical with "to enter a monastery," and definite inferences can not be drawn from its statements.

There are some indications of the locality where the historical Patrick lived. Muirchu (Tripartite Life, ii. 275, l. 13) says that the legendary Patrick landed at a port called Hostium Dee, near the present Wicklow. As the tendency of the legend required Patrick to settle in the North as soon as possible, it is probable that an item, of true tradition is preserved here. Muirchu was himself from County Wicklow and used the "Confession" and "Epistle" of Sucat as sources of his life. Aed, at whose request Muirchu wrote, was bishop of Sletty in Queen's County, near Carlow. Cummian, who was the first to mention the legendary Patrick, was also a native of the South. Therefore the South of Ireland possessed the material left by the historical Patrick (the Confessio and the Epistola) as well as notices of his life. Hence it is probable that Patrick settled somewhere in County Wicklow. He died Mar. 17, 459, according to the statement in the Luxeuil Calendar and the most trustworthy entries of the Annals. He was soon forgotten 472save in the district of his special activity; and here, in the seventh century, under the influence of a specific tendency, he was resurrected and made the apostle of the Irish, as Augustine was the apostle of the Saxons and Columba of the Picts.

It is not possible to say definitely why Patrick does not mention his consecration by Pope Celestine in the "Confession." But it may be recalled that for three hundred years the Roman Empire was a standing menace to the liberty of the Irish. Without doubt bitter feelings and hatred were still alive in 432, and the Irish were not likely to distinguish carefully between spiritual and temporal Rome. If, therefore, when Patrick arrived in Ireland he tried to impress the Christian Irish with his ordination by Celestine, he must soon have found out his mistake. With his religious feelings and views, Patrick would look upon Celestine merely as the instrument of God, who had himself appeared to him in visions and dreams and appointed him apostle to the Irish. And it was only natural that to the old man on the brink of the grave Celestine's slight and casual intervention in his life should fade away before the image of God Almighty, whose chosen one he was. (For other views concerning St. Patrick, see the article Patrick, Saint.)

3. In North Britain (Alba).

From statements by Beda (iii. 4) we know that a Briton named Nynia (St. Ninian) founded a monastery on the peninsula of Wigtown, in the extreme Southwest of Scotland, about 400, and thence spread Christianity among the Picts south of the Grampians. The germs of the young faith seem to have been destroyed in the confusion which arose in North Britain early in the fifth century. In two passages of his letter concerning Coroticus Patrick with evident anger calls the Picts "apostates" (Haddan and Stubbs, ii. 314, l. 13; 318, l. 5; Tripartite Life, ii. 375, l. 26; 379, l. 7). Coroticus was probably a king of the Strathclyde Britons, ruling near the modern Dumbarton between 420 and 450. His subjects were Christians; and as Patrick does not reproach the Irish (Scotti), living to the northwest, with paganism, it may be that they also, like their countrymen on the opposite coast of Antrim, were Christians.

II. Development and Full Maturity, 500–800.

1. In Britain.

1. The Church in Wales.

The British Church reappears in Wales in the second third of the sixth century, and is the direct continuation of the Church of the fourth century. That the latter consisted mainly of Roman residents of the towns while is the Britons in the country remained heathen, and that the Celtic Church first arose after the withdrawal of the Romans, is an opinion based upon defective knowledge of conditions in Roman and post-Roman Britain and is disproved by the fact that the Christian missionaries to Ireland in the fourth century and the Christians who settled in Armorica in the fifth spoke British, i.e., they were native Britons, not Roman occupants of the country. The external organization of the sixth century, however, is not an uninterrupted development from the fourth. When the Britons fled from the Saxons to the thinly populated hill-regions of the West, they found there no cities to serve as centers of ecclesiastical organization. But monasticism, which had flourished in Britain from the end of the fourth century, soon created new centers. Dioceses were formed, each based on the monastery of a clan and comprising the territory belonging to the clan. In time these were combined into larger organisms, and during the seventh century the ecclesiastical organization of Wales was definitively fixed by the constitution of four bishoprics, corresponding to the four political divisions, viz.: Bangor on Menai Straits in Gwynedd; St. Asaph in the Northeast in Powys; Menevia (St. David's) in the Southwest in Dyfed; and Llandaff in the Southeast in Gwent. They were independent of one another and based on the chief monasteries of the territories named. Abbot and bishop were generally the same. According to the Annales Cambriæ, the founders of the four bishoprics died in 584 (Daniel of Bangor), 601 (David of Menevia), and 612 (Dubricius of Llandaff and Kentigern of St. Asaph).

2. The British Church and Augustine.

The result of Gregory's mission to the Saxons (see Anglo-Saxons, Conversion of the; Augustine, Saint, of Canterbury) was to intensify and perpetuate the isolation from which the British Church already suffered. Two conferences were held between its representatives and Augustine (602 or 603), but the Britons rejected the proposals of the Roman missionary and refused to have him for archbishop (Bede, ii. 2; cf. Bright, pp. 86–93). Augustine's unskilful management may have contributed to the result—he is said to have offended the Britons by not rising to meet them—but he offered to overlook all other differences if the Britons on their part would accept the Roman computation for Easter, would remove divergences from Roman practise in the baptismal rite; and would join him in preaching the Gospel to the Saxons. The third requirement was probably the chief obstacle, and union was not effected because the Britons regarded the missionary as the representative of their hated foes. In his disappointment Augustine is said to have threatened the obstinate Celts with death at the hands of the English if they would not preach to them the way of life. Eight, or perhaps twelve, years after Augustine's death Ethelfrid, the heathen king of Northumbria, massacred a large company of British priests and the monks of Bangor at Chester, and the prophecy was thought to be fulfilled.

When the South Irish Church conformed to Rome, about 630, the Welsh Church was cut off on both sides, and this isolation proved fatal to its spiritual culture. Its most eminent representative in the sixth century is Gildas, and after him there is no one of greater literary merit than Nennius at the end of the eighth century. According to the Annales Cambriæ, Elbodug, bishop of Bangor, adopted the Roman Easter computation in 768: the Chronicle of Welsh Princes gives the date as 755 and says that South Wales followed in 777 (Haddan and Stubbs, i. 203–204). But opposition 473did not cease at that time, for the same source says that when Elbodug died in 809 "a great controversy arose because of Easter."

2. In Ireland and North Britain.

1. The Irish Church not Revived from Wales in the Sixth Century.

The earliest native and foreign sources show a flourishing church in Ireland in the sixth century. Its type is that of a mission-church, resting not on the labors of a single man, but growing, without central organization, in a land divided among many clans, through the constant activity of a missionary monkhood. It is the natural development of the seed sown in southeastern Ireland by British missionaries from the middle of the fourth century, springing up and increasing undisturbed by outside influences. This view is quite different from the prevalent one, which assumes, on the one hand, a complete collapse of the Irish Church at the end of the fifth century, and, on the other hand, a revival in the sixth century due to the influence of the Welsh Church, and particularly of such men as Gildas Cadoc, and David. A collapse about 500 is inexplicable, and is assumed only because necessitated by the Patrick legend and the hypothesis of a revival from Britain in the sixth century. This hypothesis rests upon: (1) statements concerning the activity of Gildas in Ireland, made in his life written at Ruys in Brittany in the eleventh century; (2) the view of the Irish Church of the fifth and sixth centuries found in the eighth century Catalogus sanctorum Hiberniæ;1212   This document is the source of the familiar division of Irish saints into three "orders." It states that the first order belonged to the time of Patrick. They were all bishops, 350 in number, founders of churches. They had one head, Christ, and one lord, Patrick; they observed one mass, one celebration, and one tonsure from ear to ear; they kept one Easter, on the fourteenth day of the moon after the vernal equinox; and what was excommunicated by one church all excommunicated. They did not reject the services and society of women, because, founded on the rock of Christ, they feared not the blast of temptation. This order lasted through four reigns, and its members were all bishops, from the Romans, the Franks, the Britons, and the Irish (Scotti).
   In the second order bishops were few and presbyters many, 300 in number. They had one head, our Lord; they celebrated different masses and had different rules, but their Easter and tonsure were as in the first order. They rejected the services of women, separating them from the monasteries. They lasted through four reigns, and received a mass from Bishop David, and Gildas, and Docus, the Britons.

   The members of the third order were holy presbyters and a few bishops, 100 in all. They dwelt in solitary places, and lived on herbs and water and alms, shunning private property. Their rules, masses, tonsure, and Easter were all different, and they lived through four reigns.

   The first order was sanctissimus; the second, sanctus sanctorum; the third, sanctus. They were like the sun, the moon, the dawn. These three orders were foreseen by Patrick is a vision from on high. Consult Haddan and Stubbs, ii. 292–294.
and (3) notes of certain saints' lives [such as that of St. Disibod], certainly not older than the eleventh or twelfth century (cf. Haddan and Stubbs, i. 115, n.a.). On the other hand, a mere enumeration of dates shows that the Irish Church was in no need of revival. Finnian of Clonard, the father of the "twelve apostles of Ireland," died in 548. Columbia founded the monastery of Derry about 546 and Durrow before 560. Ciaran founded Clonmacnoise 541 and died 548. Comgall founded Bangor in Ulster 554 or 558. Brendan founded Clonfert in Longford 552. In 563 Columba went to Iona. The authority of an eleventh-century monk of Ruys is not to be put above such evidence as this. Nor can the statements of ignorant authors of saints' lives, who confuse different centuries, furnish the basis for a historical construction at variance with all fixed dates. There is no evidence of British influence in Ireland apart from the visit of Gildas there in 566 (cf. Mommsen, Chronica minora, iii. 6, ll. 3–23). [This visit is considered doubtful by some; see Gildas.] The Church of Gildas, Cadoc, and David, it may be noted, was episcopal; if then these men, and men like them, revived the dying Irish episcopal Church, why did they substitute another entirely monastic with no trace of an episcopal character? Furthermore, the Church in Britain at this time was in no condition to infuse fresh life into the Irish Church. In the trouble and turmoil of the fifth century it had lost all organization, and Gildas himself draws a gloomy picture of the state of things in Britain before 547. Ireland, however, did not suffer from barbarian attacks, and her Church was able to develop undisturbed. Hence the natural supposition is that at this time the Irish Church was the giver and the British Church the recipient. And we know that from the very beginning of the sixth century Irish clerics went to southwest Britain and to Brittany, giving and spreading knowledge, not receiving it. The foundation of new monasteries in Ireland by Finnian of Clonard and men regarded as his disciples between 520 and 560 can not be considered a restoration or reformation of the Irish Church. There was already a large number of older monasteries, such as Emly in Munster and Armagh in Ulster, which for centuries played a greater role in the entire life of the Irish Church than any of these new foundations. Finnian was a sort of Irish Benedict of Nursia; he established his new house at Clonard by the side of the older institutions—rather mission-stations than monasteries—with stricter rules, and through the influence on Comgall and Columba it became the model of the Irish monasteries in North Britain and on the Continent.1313   Irish monasticism of the sixth century was very different from that of a later period. It has been characterized as the transition from the hermit life to the religious orders of the Middle Ages—a transition that was soon made in the East, but in Ireland proceeded more slowly and lasted till the subjection to Rome. The primitive Irish monasteries were of the same type as those of Egypt and Syria. The nucleus was a church or oratory, always oblong (from ten to forty feet in length, rarely sixty), and without chancel, aisles, or apse. No remains have been found showing any approach to the basilica form or anything of Roman type. Round the church were grouped "beehive" huts or cells, each for a single occupant, and the whole was surrounded by a wall or rampart, with a ditch, and a hedge or palisade on top. There is mention of kitchens and the "great house" (refectory); and there were also guest houses, storehouses and barns, workshops, and the like. The so-called "Round Towers" are always connected with ecclesiastical foundations, and belong for the most part to the ninth and tenth centuries. They probably served as bell-towers, for refuge or defense in case of attack, and as beacons and lighthouses.
   The whole establishment was called a "city" (civitas), and the designation is not inapt for the larger communities, with two or three thousand members, each having his own house, and its complex of public or common buildings. The first step in the foundation was to obtain a site, which was frequently given by the chieftain when he was converted, and sometimes was his fortress. It was often necessarily in the forest, as the extent of cleared land was very limited. The building material was most commonly wood or wattles and clay, but stone sometimes was used; the earliest stone structures are without mortar. As the first building operation was commonly the driving of stakes, "to drive" came to be the usual expression to designate the founding of a monastery. Each monastery had its own rules, followed also by the affiliated houses, which were governed by a local head under the abbot. The abbot was not chosen by the monks, but was appointed by the chieftain, generally from his own family or that of the founder, and hence was known as the coarb or heir of the founder. He was seldom a bishop, but there were always one or more bishops in each community, always subject, however, to the abbot. Poverty, chastity, and obedience were considered essential. The rule of St. Columban no doubt represents the life and practise of the Irish monasteries, particularly that at Bangor, of which Columban had been a member. Adamnan also gives many interesting details of the life at Iona in Columba' s time and this monastery, doubtless, did not differ materially from the others. Divine service and private devotion, study, and manual labor occupied the time of the brethren. Sundays and saints' days were marked by celebration of the Eucharist, rest from toil, and an allowance of better food. Easter was the chief festival and during the Paschales Dies (from Easter to Whitsunday) there was some relaxation in the severity of discipline. Christmas was the other great festival. Wednesdays and Fridays were fast-days except during the Paschales Dies. Lent was strictly kept, and the forty days before Christmas were observed by some in a like manner. Holy Scripture was the chief object of study and the Psalms were learned by heart. Much effort was spent in the copying of books and there are two Irish manuscripts of the Vulgate, known respectively as the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow and dating from the seventh century, which are among the finest extant specimens of illuminated work. It is a question where such work was done, as it must have been impossible in the poorly lighted cells; perhaps it was executed in the open air, and we read of the monks writing "on their knees." Besides writing, the production and preparation of food was the chief labor. Strangers were hospitably received and fasts were relaxed in their honor. Consult: Reeves's Adamnan, pp, 339–369, Dublin, 1857; J. T. Fowler's Adamnan, pp, xxxvii.–1, Oxford, 1894; J. Lanigan, Ecclesiastical History, iv. 348 sqq., Dublin, 1829; F. E. Warren, Liturgy and Ritual, chap, ii., Oxford, 1881; G. T. Stokes, Ireland and the Celtic Church, lectures ix. and xi.; G. Petrie, Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland, Dublin, 1845; Margaret Stokes, Early Christian Art in Ireland, London, 1887; J. Anderson, Scotland in Early Christian Times, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1881; J. Healy, Insula sanctorum, pp, 1159, Dublin, 1890.


2. Learning of the Irish Monks.

The Irish Church of the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries, then, was the natural development of the Church of the fourth and fifth centuries, without interference from outside. This freedom accounts for the high standard of learning maintained by the Irish monasteries till the ninth century. They kept the knowledge and culture received with Christianity, and cherished it at a time when everywhere else, in Britain, Gaul, and Italy, barbarian hordes came near to stamping it out. The erudition of the Irish monks in the sixth century—surely not derived from a Church whose greatest scholar was Gildas—surpassed on the whole that of Italy. Greek was studied at Bangor when Gregory the Great probably had no knowledge of the language. In the seventh century Aldhelm, writing to a young friend returning home from the Irish schools (MPL, lxxxix. 94 c-d), reluctantly admits the superiority of Irish scholarship. And in the eighth century Bede speaks with admiration of Irish learning (iii. 7, 27; [cf. Plummer's note to iii. 27, p. 192]).

3. Travels and Missionary Labors.

Besides their zeal for learning, a noteworthy love of wandering characterized the Irish monks. Singly or in groups they went forth from the great monk-colonies—for such the monasteries really were—to seek a form of the anchorite's life. They were content at first with the isles of their own lakes and rivers; then they betook themselves to the many islands of the Irish coast; then to the Hebrides, the Orkneys, and the Shetland Islands, and before 800 they had reached Iceland. At the same time others went to Britain—where many Christian inscriptions of the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries with Irish names and written in Ogham bear witness to their presence north and south of the Severn estuary—and to Brittany, and then through the land of the Franks to the Alps and across the Alps, so that Bobbio (perhaps Tarentum; see Cataldus; Columban) became the southern, as Iceland was the northern, limit of their wanderings. Their primary purpose was not missionary work; but circumstances made them missionaries and teachers of the people among whom they settled to lead the contemplative life.

4. North Britain Christianized.

The greatest achievement of the Irish Church and its monks in the sixth and seventh centuries, the Christianization of North Britain, must be regarded from the same point of view. With twelve companions Columba left Ireland in 563, "wishing to go into exile for Christ" (Adamnan's Life of Columba, p. 9). They settled on the little island of Iona (Eo, Io, Hi), belonging to the Irish (Christian) state north of the Clyde, took up missionary work among the heathen Picts of the neighborhood and rapidly extended it, so that when Columba died (597), the mainland north of Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as the western islands, was studded with monasteries, whose inmates looked after the spiritual welfare of the neighboring population, all of them dependent on the mother monastery at Iona. A generation later Oswald, king of Northumbria, who had been converted to Christianity during a seventeen years' exile in Ireland, applied to Columba's successor for missionaries to introduce Christianity in his realm. Aidan was sent (635) and under his lead and that of his successors, Finan (652–661) and Colman (661–664), with the earnest support of Oswald and his brother Oswy, the Gospel made rapid and splendid progress. Monasteries were founded, such as Mailros (Old Melrose) by Aidan, the first nunnery by Heiu at Hartlepool, the double monastery for both men and women at Coldingham by Oswald's half-sister, Ebba, the monastery at Whitby by Hilda, and others. Christianity and the Irish Church reached to the Angles living south of the Humber.

5. Relations with Rome.

This flourishing state of the Irish Church was disturbed by the Roman mission to the Saxons in 597. Like the British Church, that of Ireland 475 differed in some respects from the Roman Church of Gregory's time, the most important divergences being the form of the tonsure and the method of computing Easter [cf. Plummer's Bede, ii. 348–354; Bright, pp. 86–93, 224–225]. In 604 Augustine's successor, Laurence, with his fellow bishops, Mellitus and Justus, sent a letter to Ireland exhorting to conformity to Roman usage, but without success (Bede, ii. 4). A party favorable to conformity gradually arose through visits of Irish clerics to Gaul and Rome, and partly perhaps through influence of the Anglo-Roman Church, but in 627 it was still in the minority, for the exhortation of Pope Honorius I. to conform in 628 was again unsuccessful (Bede, ii. 19). Honorius then excommunicated Ireland (Cummian's letter, 977, ll. 5–6) and in 629 the Southeast generally observed the Roman date. Farther west opinions wavered, but in 630 the abbots met in a synod at Mag Lena near Tullamore, and decided to celebrate Easter the next year with the Roman Church. Opposition, however, made another meeting necessary and the Roman party failed to win a decisive victory. They sent an embassy to Rome, which returned in 633. Through the influence of this embassy and the death (636) of Fintan, abbot of Taghmon in County Wexford (see Fintan, Saint), leader of the opposition, the Roman party finally prevailed in the South. The North held out stubbornly for sixty years longer. Cummian's letter to Seghine, abbot of Iona (634), and a letter from Pope John IV. (partly preserved by Bede, ii. 19) in 640 to the prominent abbots of the North were ineffectual. The details of the struggle are not known, but it may be assumed that the Patrick legend was not the least important of the expedients resorted to to work upon the North Irish.

6. The Patrick Legend.

It was natural for the Irish to seek for an apostle who should be to them what Columba was to the Picts and Augustine to the Saxons. In the neighborhood of Wicklow a certain Patricius was remembered who had called himself the "appointed bishop of Ireland." Is it unreasonable to assume that about 625 it came to be believed in the Southeast that the apostle was found in this man? The scanty history of Patrick was filled out by analogy with that of Columba and Augustine. The Irish were supposed to have been all heathen in 432 as the Picts had been in 563 and the Saxons in 597. Patrick converted the land in a brief time, established a Christian Church, and won the favor of King Laeghaire as Columba had that of King Brude and Augustine that of Ethelbert of Kent. This legend was at once utilized, if not invented, by the Roman party, as is evident from the first mention of it in Cummian's letter. He attributes to Patrick the introduction of the Dionysian cycle in Ireland, although it was not introduced in Rome till the sixth century (col. 975c).

7. Conforms to Roman Usage.

The legend was also useful in winning over the bishop of Armagh. As the presumed successor of St. Patrick he was acknowledged in the South as metropolitan (cf. Tripartite Life, ii. 346, ll. 21–24). The claims of Armagh, however, met with violent opposition in the eighth and ninth centuries both in Connaught and Munster. Northumbria conformed to Rome after the Synod of Whitby in 664, whereupon the Irish returned to their native land (see Colman, Saint). Adamnan, ninth abbot of Iona (679–704), was persuaded to yield while visiting the court of Aldfrid in Northumbria in 686 or 687–688, but was unable to control the abbots of the dependent monasteries or his own monks at Iona when he returned home (Bede, v. 15). Then he went to North Ireland and with an Angle, Egbert (see Egbert, Saint), took the lead in efforts to win over the Irish party. The bishop of Armagh yielded in 697. The Columban monasteries continued obstinate. In 713 Naiton, king of the Picts, enlisted the services of Ceolfrid, the distinguished abbot of Wearmouth and Jarrow; the latter wrote a long letter on the Easter question, which Naiton sent in copy to all clerics in his dominion with an order to obey (Bede, v. 21). Those who continued recalcitrant were expelled from the country in 717. In 716 Egbert persuaded the abbot and monks of Iona to celebrate Easter at the Roman date. Their compliance, however, came too late to save the position of Iona as the center of a great monastic church. It was reduced to a mere parent monastery with a few affiliated houses on the west coast of North Britain and belonging to the Irish state. Armagh, on the other head, by timely yielding and a skilful use of the Patrick legend had prepared the way for becoming the head of an episcopal church comprising all Ireland.

III. Complete Assimilation to the Roman Church, 800–1200.

1. In Wales.

The Church in Wales, having been episcopal from the first, differed from the Roman Church only in subordinate points after it had conformed in respect to Easter and the tonsure. Political conditions hastened its complete assimilation to the Roman-Saxon Church. From the time of Egbert of Wessex (d. 836) the weaker Welsh chieftains sought the protection of the English kings against their more powerful countrymen. The attacks of the Northmen also, which from 853 on were felt more and more severely in Wales, promoted friendly feelings and relations between the two nations. That the culture of its clergy was higher after the isolation of the Welsh Church was ended is evident from the appointment and position of Asser, a nephew of Bishop Novis of Menevia, as teacher, counselor, and friend of Alfred. At the end of the tenth and beginning of the eleventh century, consecration of bishops of Llandaff by the archbishop of Canterbury seems to have been the rule, and there is some reason to believe that an earlier bishop, Cyfeiliawc (d. 927), was so consecrated. The Anglo-Norman archbishops Lanfranc (1070–89) and Anselm (1093–1109) repeatedly interfered in Welsh matters as if the Welsh bishops stood legally under the primate of England. Disputes concerning the boundaries of the Welsh dioceses of St. David's and Llandaff and the English diocese of Hereford between 1119 and 1133 were referred to Rome. About this time the bishop of St. David's began to set up the claim to metropolitan rank. After 1187, when Archbishop 476Baldwin of Canterbury as papal legate held a visitation in parts of Wales and preached the Crusade, the Welsh Church may be regarded as part of the English Church, although as late as 1284 the bishop of St. David's formally protested against the visitation of Archbishop Peckham of Canterbury. [Welsh tradition and the rapidity with which the Lollard movement in the fourteenth century spread among the English-speaking people on the borders of Wales favor the theory that the ancient British form of Christianity persisted in Wales throughout the Middle Ages side by aide with the Roman Catholic establishment. The mountainous character of the country and the character of the language, which Englishmen rarely acquired, were favorable to the perpetuation of evangelical dissent. A. H. N.]

2. In Ireland.

1. Incursions of the Norsemen.

A systematic sketch of the development of the Irish branch of the Celtic Church in this period is not yet possible owing to the defective character of the special investigations. A factor deserving more attention than it has commonly received is the influence of the incursions and settlements of the Norsemen. The Viking period—beginning in 795 and lasting more than 150 years—brought indescribable wo to all Britain and particularly to Christian Ireland. Churches and monasteries, as the centers of civilization and the Christian religion, were marked for destruction by the heathen Norwegians and Danes. Certain of the Irish monasteries (such as Iona, Bangor in Ulster, and many others) lay temptingly exposed to seafaring robbers. The rivers gave them easy access to the heart of the land from both the east and the west coast. The wooden structures of the monasteries were an easy prey to the flames, in which both books and monks perished. If any manuscripts escaped burning they were thrown into the water. A heathen Viking state in Armagh between 832 and 845 compelled the abbot-bishop, Forindan, to flee to Munster. At the same time the Norwegian heathen were settling in the interior, but they were either ultimately expelled or absorbed by the native population and became Christian. In 852, however, a Viking kingdom was set up at Dublin, which remained heathen and plundered Ireland and all the coasts of the Irish Sea for more than a century.

2. Irish Monks on the Continent.

Under such conditions it is not surprising that the exodus of Irish monks to the Continent continued and increased from 800 on. In the ninth century they were teachers in the monastic schools everywhere in the land of the Franks, at St. Denis, Pavia, and on the Upper and Lower Rhine, and they spread the repute of Irish learning so that it is almost a truism to say: Whoever knew Greek on the Continent in the days of Charles the Bald was an Irishman or had learned it from an Irishman (cf. H. Zimmer, Ueber die Bedeutung des irischen Elements für mittelalterliche Kultur, in Preussische Jahrbücher, lix., 1887, pp. 27–59; L. Traube, O Roma nobilis in Abhandlungen der philosophisch-philologischen Klasse der königlich-bayerischen Akademie, xix., 1892, pp. 332–363). They took their manuscripts with them in such numbers that no fewer than 117 Irish manuscripts, or fragments of such, older than the eleventh century are still extant in Continental libraries, not counting those in the Vatican or the Bibliothèque Nationale (cf. W. Schultze, Die Bedeutung der iroschottischen Mönche, in Centralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, 6th year, 1889, pp. 287–298). But if this was the Continent's gain, it was Ireland's loss. King Brian (1002–13) had to send across the sea "to buy books" (J. H. Todd, The War of the Gaedhil with the Gaill, Rolls Series, no. 48, p.138, London, 1867). The standard of education in the monasteries sank with each generation, and the new and inferior priesthood had less power to resist the forces which were substituting for the native monastic church an episcopal church with metropolitan head. The Irish chieftains and princes also, instead of uniting against the common foe, thought the time most fitting to fight out their domestic feuds. The monasteries were involved in these quarrels, not to mention fierce and bloody disputes between monasteries themselves when their interests happened to clash. Thus the old organization was weakened and broken up. Furthermore, the Patrick legend became a sort of dogma during the eighth century; and its view of the Christianization of Ireland and the position of the episcopus in church government was an additional force shaking the firmly built edifice of the monastic church of the sixth and seventh centuries.

3. Rise of Armagh.

It can be shown from the Annaia of Ulster that the abbot-bishop of Armagh, making free use of his opportunities, between 730 and 850 attained to some extent to that primacy in the Irish Church which was the logical outcome of the Patrick legend. The year 805 was decisive for Meath, 824 for Connaught, and 822, as well as Forindan's stay in Munster from 841 to 845, for South Ireland; thenceforth the see of Armagh had its tax-gatherers for Patrick's pence in all Ireland, excluding of course the Viking state whose ruler resided at Dublin. In 943 this ruler, Amlaib mac Sitricca (Norse, Olafr Sigtriggvasonr), became a Christian in England and was baptized by Wulfhelm, archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund, king of England, standing as his godfather. As Christianity spread among his subjects they naturally looked toward Canterbury and drew their clerics from England. The incumbents of newly established Norse bishoprics of Dublin, Waterford, and Limerick were consecrated at Canterbury. This was not satisfactory to the bishop of Armagh, who desired revenues from the rich Norse settlements in Dublin. He again had recourse to the Patrick legend, utilizing a detail of it which had already become current; namely, that Patrick had converted the Vikings. One of his adherents, writing about 1000, tells how the saint had converted the heathen Norse of Dublin, and consequently asserts that the successor of "Patrick of Armagh with the great revenues" had a right to an ounce of gold "from each nose" in the Dublin Viking state (cf. H. Zimmer, Keltische Beiträge, iii., in Zeitschrift für deutsches Alterthum, xxxv., 1891, pp. 54–85).


4. The Culdees.

Another phenomenon in the inner development of the Irish Church in this period which deserves attention is the appearance of the so-called Culdees (Irish, céli dé; Latin, colidei). It is difficult to define exactly the origin and position of these men. The Irish name does not furnish a trustworthy clue. It meant originally one who enters God's service and devotes himself to him to death, and could be applied, like vir dei in Latin, to monks and anchorites in general. Hector Boece, the Scottish historian of the sixteenth century, started the theory that the Culdei, as he calls them, were the direct continuation of Irish monasticism of the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries, or even of Celtic monasticism in general. But Bishop Reeves has shown that the term as used from the ninth to the twelfth century was applied to members of spiritual associations whose existence can not with certainty be traced earlier than about 800. Hence the associations of the Colidei must have been formed in Ireland about this time and an existing term of general application was given a more limited signification to designate their members. Apparently Chrodegang's monastic rule (749), designed originally for Metz, was brought to Ireland in the eighth century, and Irish anchorites, who were not under regular monastic rule, were first associated in accordance with it. The Culdees were never of great importance in Ireland. They are mentioned in nine places, often in connection with monasteries to which the house of the Culdees forms a sort of annex. The care of the sick and the poor was their chief charge, and they also seem to have been entrusted with the choral part of the service. In North Britain, however, whither they went from Ireland, they attained to greater importance. Naiton's expulsion of the refractory monks of Iona in 717 left gaps in the clergy which the new associations of the Colidei helped to fill. They appear in Scotland as a mixture of secular clergy and anchorites organized after monastic pattern; at a later time they resemble the regular canons of the Continent. There was a want of connection between different convents due to the lack of a common head and fixed forms. Hence there were wide divergences, and contemporary descriptions and opinions differ greatly. They were ultimately absorbed in the Roman orders, which were introduced in Ireland and Scotland during the twelfth century.

5. Final Subjection to Rome.

The full subjection of the Celtic Church of Ireland to that of Rome was accomplished after 1050. Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury found opportunity to interfere in Ireland in 1074 and sent a letter to the king, Torlogh O'Brian, through Gilpatrick, the Norse bishop of Dublin. Instigated by both, Gregory VII. sent a letter to Ireland and appointed Gilbert, the Norse bishop of Limerick, papal legate for Ireland. As in the seventh century, so now, the bishop of Armagh resisted. But in the end Gilbert found a man who fell in with his views, when in 1106 Celsus succeeded to the see of Armagh. At the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1120 it was decided to divide Ireland into twenty-four dioceses, all except Dublin subordinate to Armagh. In 1152 a synod was held at Kells, under the presidency of the papal legate, Paparo, and Ireland was divided into four provinces, Armagh was selected as the see of the primate, and the bishops of Dublin, Cashel, and Tuam were promoted to archbishops and received pallia brought from Rome. The complete Romanization of the Irish Church in internal affairs was effected in furtherance of the political interests of the Anglo-Normans at a synod held at Cashel in 1172 by command of Henry II.

3. In North Britain.

In 844 Kenneth mac Alpin, ruler of the Irish state in North Britain, mounted the throne of the united North and South Picts, and thereby created a united kingdom of Alba, later known as Scotland. In 850 Kenneth had the bones of Columba removed from Iona (which, because of constant attacks from the Vikings, had fallen into complete decay) and deposited at Dunkeld, in the land of the South Picts, the mainstay of his power. At the same time he established a bishopric at Dunkeld, apparently aiming to form here a center for a national church like Iona in the seventh century with a different basis, however, the abbot-bishop of Dunkeld being at the head of the church government as bishop and not as abbot. In 865 Kenneth's son, Constantine, removed the see of the bishopric to Abernethy, leaving Dunkeld with an abbot only. In 908 the see of the primate was transferred to St. Andrews and a parliament of the same year exempted the Church from taxation. Margaret, grandniece of Edward the Confessor and the queen of Scotland 1069–93, took energetically in hand the reformation of the Scottish Church according to Roman rules and usages. She received efficient support from her confessor, Turgot, abbot of Durham (see Turgot). Her sons, Edgar (1097–1107), Alexander (1107–24), and David (1124–53) continued and completed their mother's reforms. In 1107 Turgot was appointed to the see of St. Andrews and was consecrated at York. His successor, Eadmer, a Canterbury monk, at the desire of King Alexander was chosen and consecrated by Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury (1115). By 1188 the outward and inward transformation of ecclesiastical Scotland into a Roman province was complete. It was then declared independent of Canterbury and, like the Irish Church, came directly under the sovereignty of Rome through a bull of Clement III. (cf. Haddan and Stubbs, ii. 273–274). The land was divided into nine dioceses with strictly defined boundaries, and Augustinian, Benedictine, and Cistercian monks were introduced and absorbed the remnant of the national Celtic monasticism.

IV. Some General Considerations.

1. Reason for the Divergences from Rome.

Concerning institutions and doctrine, neither tradition nor history offers any support to the view that the Celtic Church in its prime almost reproduced the Church of the Apostolic Age. The British Church of the fourth century was a part of the Catholic Church of the West, just as Britain was a part of the Roman Empire. And the Irish Church was an offshoot of the British Church. The divergences from Rome which both branches of the Celtic Church 478showed at the beginning of the seventh century are easily explicable. It must not be forgotten that the position of the bishop of Rome in the time of Leo the Great (440–461) was different from that of Pope Gregory the Great (590–604); that the fourth century knew nothing of that rigid uniformity of institutions which at the beginning of the seventh century was looked upon as an essential requirement of the unites catholica; and that innovations domesticated themselves slowly in the more distant members of the Church. About 400 the British branch of the Catholic Church was cut off because political Rome lost its hold on Britain. A series of events of the early fifth century is instructive for the immediate consequences. The popes Innocent, Zosimus, and Boniface (401–422) energetically opposed the teaching of Pelagius, and the emperor, Honorius, supported them by issuing a rescript (Apr. 30, 418) threatening banishment to every Pelagian. The suppression of the heresy in the empire was thus due to the civil power. But the arm of the emperor did not reach to Britain and in 429 Pope Celestine could only send Germanus of Auxerre thither to eradicate the heresy by moral suasion. Later all connection between the Celtic Church and Rome was broken for 150 years by a double and threefold wall of barbarians—Burgundians, Visigoths, Franks, and Saxons. The development of the Western Church during all this time left no impress on the Celtic; and local conditions could not fail to influence the latter. This explains how a Columban of Luxeuil presumes to address the pope in a way which two hundred years earlier would not have been remarkable in a bishop of North Africa or Alexandria. It explains why the Welsh Church of the sixth century knew only of independent bishops without metropolitan; the British Church in 400 knew nothing of this institution. The difference in the date of Easter is due to the fact that in 600 the Celtic Church still used the older supputatio Romana, which had been followed by Rome till 343, but was then superseded by the younger supputatio Romana. Other changes—the paschal table of Zeitz in 447, the nineteen-year cycle of Victorius in 501, the cycle of Dionysius about 550—were all unknown to the Celtic Church.

2. Consecration by a Single Bishop.

The representatives of Britain at the Synod of Arles subscribed the canon that when possible seven and in any case three, bishops should take part in the consecration of a bishop. Yet consecration could be performed by a single bishop in both the British and Irish Churches long after their contact with Rome. This is not as surprising as it has been thought (cf. Warren, pp. 68–69). In the nature of things, particularly in the earlier period, consecration often had to be by one bishop if it took place at all. Gregory the Great recognized the necessity and gave Augustine permission to consecrate alone with the remark, "Since you are the only bishop in the English Church you can not ordain otherwise than without other bishops" (Bede, i. 27). Boniface V. gave the same permission to Justus, Augustine's third successor, "when the occasion made it necessary" (Bede, ii. 8). Custom with the English makes law without specific enactment. Hence it is comprehensible how consecration by a single bishop became first established usage and then law.

3. Monastic Character of the Irish Church.

In respect to the markedly monastic character of the Irish Church and the position of the bishop in it unlike that in the Western Church, it must be noted that in the older monasteries (such as Armagh in the North and Emly in Tipperary) the abbots were also bishops; that is, the heads of the dioceses were abbots and bishops in one person, but their power of church government rested on their position as abbots. This is explained by the political and social conditions of the Celts and the time and manner of their conversion. The first step was the establishment of a monastic missionary station with a clan. A member of the chief's family inevitably became the head of such a station. In some cases the right of succession to the abbacy remained hereditary in the chief's family for centuries. The necessity for some one to perform episcopal functions would not be felt immediately. When it did arise an original lay abbot may have received consecration, but, living as he did far from the sight and influence of an episcopal church, it was only natural that he should continue to perform the duties of church government in the church of the clan by virtue of his position as abbot and member of the chief's family.

4. The Celtic and Roman Spirit.

It is not advisable to attempt a complete picture of the doctrines and institutions of the Celtic Church in its prime. The material at hand is not sufficient, although it is adequate to support the conclusion that the Celtic Church of the sixth and seventh centuries was a reproduction of the Western Church of the fourth century, modified only in special points. An important difference, however, must be noted. The spirit of the Roman and Celtic Churches when they first came in conflict was not the same. The representatives of the former were intolerant and uncharitable, as Augustine toward the British bishops (Bede, ii. 2), Wilfrid toward Colman (ib. iii. 25), Aldhelm in his letter to Geraint (MGH, Epist., iii. 231–235). The Irish, on the other hand, such as Columban on the Continent and Aidan and the rest in Northumbria, only asked that they be allowed quietly to follow the customs of their fathers. As soon, however, as an Irishman went over to the Roman party a new spirit entered into him. Ronan, an Irishman who had been in Gaul and Italy, began the quarrel in Northumbria with the gentle Finan (Bede, iii. 25). Cummian in his famous letter expresses the pious wish that God would "strike" Fintan (his chief opponent) "as he would" (col. 977b), although four or five years earlier he had himself kept Easter at the Celtic date. Again, the spirit of deliberate falsification to serve church interests does not appear in the Irish Church before its contact with Rome. That it appears immediately thereafter is abundantly shown by the history of the Patrick legend.

5. Relics.

Lastly, the new spirit which 479begins to pervade the Irish Church in the seventh century is indicated by the unprecedented extension of the cult of relics. Ireland had no martyrs. There is no reason to believe that relics were known or honored in any part of the Irish Church before contact with Rome. In 633 the embassy sent to Rome because of the Easter contest (see above, p. 475) returned laden with books and relics. And the next year Cummian writes to Seghine: "And we have proof that the virtue of God is in the relics of holy martyrs and the writings which they have brought. We have seen with our own eyes a girl totally blind open her eyes before these relics and a paralytic walk and many demons cast out" (col. 978b). Everything here, even to the wording (reliquiæ), is Roman, not Irish. Muirchu Maccu-Machtheni's life of Patrick witnesses the progress of the cult of relics in South Ireland during the seventh century. Speaking for his own time (before 697), the author mentions with emphasis that in three different places in the Roman-Irish territory relics are worshiped and he even makes Patrick prophesy such worship (Tripartite Life, ii. 281, II. 1–2; 283, II. 3–5; 497, II. 14–19). To Adamnan, writing his life of Columba in North Ireland at the same time and before he had joined the Roman party, relics are utterly unknown. But no sooner did Roman influence find entrance in the North through the yielding of Armagh (697) and Iona (716) on the Easter question than the same change of attitude took place which had occurred seventy years earlier in the South. The Annals of Ulster give much information on the history of the Church, but in the sixth and seventh centuries they contain not a single entry respecting relics. In 726, however, occurs the first of a long series of entries recording the transference or enshrining of relics, and a little later Armagh exhibited at the great fairs of Ireland the relics of Patrick, supposed to have been found at Downpatrick in 733, and took them to Connaught and Munster.

Enough has been said to show that the spirit which animated the Celtic Church about 600 was quite different from that which the emissaries of the Roman Church brought to the British Isles. Both had the same dogmas. But on the one side was a striving after individual freedom and personal Christianity, on the other side a bigoted zeal for rigid uniformity and systematizing. The Celt emphasized a Christianity manifesting itself in word and deed, the Roman Catholic valued a formal Christianity above all else. As has been said, there is no reason to believe that the Celtic Church greatly resembled the Apostolic Church in institutions or doctrines. But the practical results of its teaching as seen in the life of such men as Aidan and Finan (cf. Bede, iii. 17) unquestionably come nearer the popular conception of the Apostolic Age than does the spirit manifested by the representatives of Rome.

(H. Zimmer.)

Bibliography: A. W. Haddan and W. Stubbs, Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, a convenient collection of the sources with valuable notes, vol. i., Oxford, 1869, dealing with the British Church in Roman times and the period of Anglo-Saxon conquest, the Church in Wales and Cornwall; vol. ii., part i., 1873, with the Church in Cumbria or Strathclyde, branches of the British Church in Armorica and Gallicia, the Church of Scotland till declared independent of York; vol. ii., part ii., 1878, with the Church in Ireland and the memorials of Patrick; vol. iii., 1871, with the English Church during the Anglo-Saxon period. Adamnan's Life of St. Columba, ed. W. Reeves, Dublin, 1857, Edinburgh, 1874 (see Adamnan). Bede, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, ed. A. Holder, Freiburg, 1890, ed. C. Plummer, 2 vols., Oxford, 1896. Cummian's letter to Seghine, abbot of Iona, in MPL, lxxxvii. 969–978. Gildas and Nennius, Historia Britonum, ed. T. Mommsen, in MGH, Auct. ant., xiii., Chronica minora sæculorum iv.–vii., iii., 1898. Prosper of Aquitaine, Chronicon, ed. idem, ib. i. Auct. ant., ix., 1892. The Tripartite Life of Patrick with Other Documents Relating to That Saint, ed. Whitley Stokes, in Rolls Series, no. 89, 2 vols., 1887 (see Patrick, Saint). The Lives of the Cambro-British Saints of the Fifth and Immediate Succeeding Centuries, ed. W. J. Rees, Llandovery, 1853, dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, which is also true in part of the material in the so-called Liber Landavensis ("Book of Llandaff," ed. W. J. Rees, Llandovery, 1840; ed. J. G. Evans, Oxford, 1893). The Acta sanctorum Hiberniæ, ex codice Salmanticensi, ed. C. de Smelt and J. de Backer, Edinburgh, 1888, and Lives of Saints from the Book of Lismore, ed. Whitley Stokes, in Anecdota Oxoniensia, 1890, also present only relatively late material. The various annalistic works give important data for ecclesiastical history, viz.: for the British and Welsh Church, the Annales Cambriæ, ed. J. W. ab Ithel, in Rolls Series, no. 20, 1860; the oldest part also in Y Cymmrodor, ix., 1888; for the Irish-Scotch branch, the Annals of Tigernach, ed. Whitley Stokes, in Revue Celtique, xvi.–xviii., 1895–97; the Annals of Ulster, ed. W. M. Hennessy and B. MacCarthy, 4 vols., Dublin, 1887–1901; the Chronicon Scotorum, ed. W. M. Hennessy, in Rolls Series, no. 46, 1866; Annals of Ireland, Three Fragments, ed. J. O'Donovan, Dublin, 1860; Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, ed. idem, 7 vols., 1848–51; Annals of Clonmacnoise, ed. D. Murphy, Dublin, 1896; Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, ed. W. F. Skene, Edinburgh, 1867. The oldest of the Irish collections is that of Tigernach (d. 1088). Since the sources upon which they are based are all lost, and the sources themselves appear in part to have been compilations of the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries from older monastic annals, it is clear that statements concerning Irish church history of the fifth century have no decisive value when they coincide with the views concerning the earlier period current after 750. In using the collections of Welsh and of Irish Laws (Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, London, 1841; Ancient Laws of Ireland, 6 vols., Dublin, 1865–1902) it must be remembered that the former dates from the tenth century and the latter can not be much older. Other sources are: the Stowe Missal, ed. F. E. Warren, in The Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church, pp. 198–268, Oxford, 1881; the Antiphonary of Bangor, ed, idem, and the Irish Liber Hymnorum, ed. J. H. Bernard and R. Atkinson for Henry Bradshaw Society, iv., x. and xiii., xiv., 1893–98; F. W. H. Wasserschleben, Die Bussordnungen der abendländischen Kirche, Halle, 1851; idem, Die irische Kanonensammlung, Leipsic, 1885; the Félire of Oengus, ed. Whitley Stokes, Dublin, 1881; the Martyrology of Tallagh, ed. M. Kelly, Dublin, 1857; the Martyrology of Donegal, ed. J. H. Todd and W. Reeves, Dublin, 1864; the Martyrology of Gorman, ed. Whitley Stokes, for Henry Bradshaw Society, ix., 1895.

The father of Celtic church history was Archbishop Ussher, whose work, Britannicarum ecclesiarum antiquitates, Dublin, 1639; 2d ed., enlarged, London, 1687, however, has now only historic interest. The monograph of C. Schöll, De ecclesiasticæ Britonum Scotorumque historiæ fontibus, Berlin and London, 1851, and the introduction and notes of Reeves's Adamnan, u.s., were pioneer work in the critical investigation and appreciation of the sources; it is to be regretted that not all their successors have continued in the same spirit. The legends of the Celtic Church are briefly but fully told in Cardinal Newman's Life of St. Augustine, chaps. i.–v., London, 1845. Works dealing with the Celtic Church in both Britain and Ireland are: J. H. A. Ebrard, Die iroschottische Missionskirche des sechsten, siebenten und achten Jahrhunderts, Gütersloh, 4801873; F. E. Warren, Liturgy and Ritual, u.s.; F. Loofs, Antiquæ Britonum Scotorumque ecclesiæ quales fuerunt mores, Leipsic and London, 1882; W. Cathcart, The Ancient British and Irish Churches, Philadelphia, 1894 (adverse to Roman Catholic claims); H. Zimmer, The Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland, London, 1902. For the British branch noteworthy works are: R. Rees, An Essay on the Welsh Saints, London, 1836; J. H. Overton, The Church in England, i., The National Churches, 2 vols., London, 1891; H. Williams, Some Aspects of the Christian Church in Wales during the Fifth and Sixth Centuries (London, 1895, reprinted from the Transactions of the Society of Cymmrodorion, 1893–94, pp. 55–132); E. J. Newell, A History of the Welsh Church to the Dissolution of the Monasteries, London, 1895; J. W. W. Bund, The Celtic Church of Wales, ib. 1897; W. Bright, Chapters of Early English Church History, Oxford, 1897; J. W. W. Bund, The Celtic Church of Wales, London, 1897; W. E. Collins, The Beginnings of English Christianity, with Special Reference to the Coming of St. Augustine, London, 1898; W. Hunt, The English Church from Its Foundation to the Norman Conquest, London, 1899. For Ireland: J. Lanigan, An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland to the Thirteenth Century, 4 vols., Dublin, 1829; R. King, A Primer of the History of the Holy Catholic Church in Ireland to the Formation of the Modern Branch of the Church of Rome, 2 vols. and supplement, Dublin, 1851; idem, A Memoir Introductory to the Early History of the Primacy of Armagh, Armagh, 1854; C. J. Greith, Geschichte der altirischen Kirche, Freiburg, 1867; W. D. Killen, The Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 2 vols., London, 1875; G. T. Stokes, Ireland and the Celtic Church, 6th ed., London, 1907; idem, Some Worthies of the Irish Church, ib. 1900; J. Healy, Insula sanctorum et doctorum or Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars, Dublin, 1890; A. Bellesheim, Geschichte der katholischen Kirche in Irland, 3 vols., Mainz, 1890–91; T. Olden, The Church of Ireland, in The National Churches, London, 1892; J. Heron, The Celtic Church in Ireland, London, 1898; Eleanor Hall, Early Christian Ireland, Dublin, 1905. For Scotland: W. F. Skene, Celtic Scotland, ii., Church and Culture, 3 vols., Edinburgh, 1887; A. Bellesheim, Geschichte der katholischen Kirche in Schottland, 2 vols., Mainz, 1883, Eng. transl., with additions and notes, by D. O. H. Blair, 4 vols., Edinburgh, 1887–1890; H. M. Luckock, The Church in Scotland, in The National Churches, London, 1893; J. Dowden, The Celtic Church in Scotland, London, 1894; W. Stephen, History of the Scottish Church, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1894–96; Dom Columba Evans, The Early Scottish Church, London, 1906 (claims original Roman supremacy). For the Culdees: W. Reeves, The Culdees of the British Islands as They Appear in History, Dublin, 1864; Skene, u.s., pp. 226–277; J. von Pflugk-Hartung, Die Kuldeer, in ZKG, xiv. (1894) 169–192. Fuller bibliographies may be found in Warren, u.s., pp. xiii.–xix.; Bellesheim, Irland, pp. xix.–xxii.; Schottland, pp. vii.–xv.; and Olden, pp. 430–432.

« Celsus Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland Cemeteries »
VIEWNAME is workSection