Wednesday, 18 November 2015
The Archiepiscopal See of Dublin (c. 750 - 1161)(Walsh)
From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xvi, p. 106 ff:
St. Sedulius son of Luaith is called bishop and abbot of Dublin as those were synonymous terms. Many abbots distinguished by their merit were promoted to the episcopacy without having sees attached to their places of residence. Such was his neighbor and contemporary the abbot and bishop Ferfugill of Clondalkin. Offices perfectly distinct were thus vested in the same person as it was necessary that episcopal functions should be exercised within the precincts of monastic establishments too remote from a regularly fixed see.
Besides assistant bishops such as coadjutors there were in Ireland others of a more subordinate dignity. Of this latter description the annals of Ireland make mention. To minister more effectually to the spiritual wants of his flock who might have dwelt at a distance from the abode of the bishop it was sometimes deemed prudent to remedy such an inconvenience by selecting priests in the remote districts to whom was confided the care of the faithful and that such clergymen were invested with a sort of episcopal jurisdiction appears certain but whether dignified always with the holy order of the episcopate is a question as yet to be decided. Some maintain it as the more probable that they were not exalted to this dignity others allow that they were consecrated and that they could with the permission of the ordinary confer the orders of deaconship and the priesthood. Other writers hold the opinion that they were always and without exception invested with the order of the episcopacy.
In Ireland, the usage of conferring consecration on those ecclesiastics appears to have been generally adopted. In the early annals of the kingdom they are represented as persons belonging to the episcopal order such an ecclesiastic as we treat of is honored with the appellation of bishop and among the Irish as there was but one name for bishops and chorepiscopi it is often difficult to determine whether this class of ecclesiastics were the ordinaries of sees or the subordinates. If we find mention of bishops who discharged episcopal functions in different dioceses or provinces we are to suppose that they acted in the capacity of assistants as the discipline of the Church obliged the ordinary of each see to exercise the duties of his order within the limits of his own diocese.
Cormac was living in 890 When Dublin was besieged by Gregory king of Scotland and the inhabitants were reduced to extremity Cormac a man of singular virtues and of upright life was deputed to lay before the king of Scotland the distressed state of the city. The King absolutely refused to extend any hope until the city was surrendered to his discretion and on being given up he forthwith advanced on foot till he came to the bishop and falling down on his knees he reverently kissed the crucifix which the prelate bore and ratified the wishes of the bishop.
Donatus was the first amongst the Ostmen or Danes who was bishop of Dublin. By some he is called Dunan. He built by the aid of Sitricus the cathedral of the Holy Trinity in the heart of the city of Dublin about the year 1038 to which Sitric gave considerable landed possessions. Donatus lived to an advanced age died on the 6th of May 1074 and was buried in his own cathedral in the upper part of the chancel on the right.
Patrick called in the Annals of the Four Masters Giolla Patricianus was elected bishop of Dublin at the instance of Gotred king of the Isle of Man who conquered Dublin and the adjacent country. He was sent to England to receive consecration from Lanfranc archbishop of Canterbury with an epistle to the following effect. "To Lanfranc the venerable metropolitan of the Holy Church of Canterbury the clergy and people of Dublin tender their bounden obedience. It is known unto your fatherhood that the Church of Dublin the metropolis of Ireland is bereft of her pastor and destitute of her ruler. Wherefore we have elected a priest called Patrick a person whom we thoroughly know one noble both by birth and morals well imbued in apostolical and ecclesiastical discipline in faith a Catholic and in the interpretation of Scripture wary in the tenets of the Church well versed and whom we desire without delay to be ordained our bishop that under God he may rule over us orderly and profit us and that we under his government may exercise a spiritual warfare with security. Because the integrity of the ruler is the safety of the subject and where safety of obedience is there is the sound form of doctrine."
Patrick was consecrated and made unto Lanfranc promise of submission and obedience in all things pertaining to the Christian religion. Patrick was an Ostman and the Danes of the sea ports being more inclined to attribute their conversion to the Anglo Saxons than to the Irish and who moreover considered William the Conqueror and the Normans their countrymen did not deem it politic to have their bishops derive their sanction from the see of Armagh hence they applied to the English primate for the consecration of their bishops. Patrick governed the see about ten years and being sent to England by King Turlough on business to Lanfranc perished by shipwreck on the 10th of October 1084.
Donat O'Hanly succeeded by similar authority as his predecessor was consecrated by Lanfranc AD 1085. Having spent some time in the pursuit of useful learning in Ireland he passed over to England and became a Benedictine monk at Canterbury. With Lanfranc to whom he also made profession of obedience Donatus was a particular favorite he gave him several presents books and church ornaments for his cathedral. This prelate died of a plague in 1095 leaving a reputation among his countrymen for industry learning and sagacity.
Samuel O'Hanley, nephew of Donatus succeeded AD 1095 by similar authority; was also a Benedictine; obtained from Lanfranc vouchers of his consecration. Soon after his return to Ireland he expelled some monks from the cathedral of the Holy Trinity stripped the church of the books and ornaments which the archbishop of Canterbury had bestowed on it and commanded the cross to be carried before him Lanfranc laving heard of those doings remonstrated with the bishop of Dublin and desired Malchus, bishop of Waterford to expostulate with him. Samuel died on the 4th of July AD 1121.
Gregory the First, archbishop of Dublin, was elected in 1121 and went to England to receive consecration from the archbishop of Canterbury. He brought letters from the king in his favor and also from the clergy and people of Dublin in which it was notified that the bishops of Ireland, particularly the primate of Armagh, had taken great hatred towards them because they would not obey the orders of the said bishops but showed themselves always willing to live under the jurisdiction of the see of Canterbury. He was consecrated at Lambeth by Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, and made the usual profession of obedience to him.
Having presided over the see of Dublin thirty one years the archiepiscopal dignity was conferred upon him at the council of Kells held under John Paparo legate from the Holy See in 1152. The distribution of sees has been already noticed in the life of St. Malachy of Armagh and the names of the bishops who attended are also enumerated. Besides the bishops there were three thousand ecclesiastics present at this synod though at this synod were men of acknowledged sanctity and ecclesiastics of unblemished character though the purity of the native priesthood of Ireland was above reproach a fact to which Gerald Barry reluctantly assents and one which is particularly avowed in the thirteenth canon of the council held by Archbishop Comyn in 1186 bearing testimony to the chastity for which the Irish clergy were always remarkable. Moore in his History of Ireland draws an inference from a canon of this synod enacted against marriages in the prohibited degrees of kindred unfavorable to the Irish clergy and that they assimilated themselves to many of the clergy on the Continent who disregarded the salutary discipline of celibacy. The conduct of the lay usurpers of the see of Armagh has left the imputation on this see alone and it is worthy of notice that the Irish annals do not record instances of profligacy among the priesthood of Ireland until the adventurers of England introduced their system of morals. The Archbishop Gregory died on the 8th of October AD 1161 having sat forty years. He was a wise man and well skilled in languages.