Above: A Map of Gaul in 628 Common Era
SAINT MURIN OF FAHAN (CIRCA 550-645)
Abbot of Fahan
His feast transferred from March 12
SAINT LASERIAN OF LEIGHLIN, A.K.A. SAINT MOLAISSE (DIED 639)
Abbot and Bishop of Leighlin
His feast transferred from April 18
SAINT GOBAN OF PICARDIE (DIED CIRCA 670)
Abbot and Hermit
His feast transferred from June 20
SAINT FURSEY OF PERONNE (DIED CIRCA 648)
His feast transferred from January 16
SAINT BLITHARIUS OF SEGANNE (DIED 600S)
His feast transferred from June 11
SAINT FOILLAN OF FOSSES (DIED CIRCA 655)
Brother of Saint Fursey of Peronne
His feast transferred from October 31
Other feast days = January 16 and November 5
SAINT ULTAN OF PERONNE (DIED 686)
His feast transferred from May 2
This post began when I found one name–St. Laserian. Reading about him led to other names, which led to still more names. Thus, from one lead I have arrived at seven names, including two sets of brothers. Thus is fitting, for faith is at its best when it is both individual and shared. We human beings ought to encourage one another in righteousness.
We begin our stroll down Holiness Lane with St. Murin of Fahan (circa 550-645). Also known as Mura McFeredach and Murin McFeredach, he became Abbot of Fahan, in Ireland, when St. Columba appointed him to that post. St. Murin wrote voluminously, including a biography of St. Columba. St. Murin also served as a spiritual mentor to our next saint, Laserian of Leighlin.
St. Laserian of Leighlin, a.k.a. Molaisse (died 639) was a monk who became an abbot and a bishop. He lived at Iona Monastery before going to Rome, where Pope St. Gregory I “the Great” (reigned 590-604) ordained him. Then St. Laserian transferred to the monastery at Leighlin, in southern Ireland. Then he favored the Roman manner of observing Easter over the Celtic one. He defended this position at the synod at White Fields in 635. With the synod at an impasse, the saint and some fellow monks traveled to Rome, to meet with Pope Honorius I (reigned 625-638). At Rome the Pope consecrated the saint a bishop and appointed him papal legate to Ireland. Back in Ireland, St. Laserian ruled in favor of Roman practices. He succeeded his brother, St. Goban of Picardie, as Abbot of Leighlin in 637.
St. Goban of Picardie (died circa 670) became a hermit. He traveled with his spiritual mentor, St. Fursey of Peronne, to East Anglia.
St. Fursey (died circa 648) and his brothers, St. Foillan of Fosses (died circa 655) and St. Ultan of Peronne (died 686), were Irish noblemen. They were sons of Fintan, prince of South Muster, and Gelgesia, daughter of Aedhfinn, prince of Hy-Briuin, in Connaught. The three brothers and St. Goban evangelized in East Anglia and founded a monastery at Great Yarmouth, on the coast of the North Sea. They did this circa 630. England was politically divided in the 600s, for kingdoms waged wars against each other. Thus it happened that, in 642, forces of the Kingdom of Mercia invaded East Anglia and destroyed the monastery at Great Yarmouth.
The four saints fled to Francia, where King Clovis II of Neustria and Burgundy (reigned 639-657) welcomed them. In Francia they finished their days and completed their work. St. Fursey evangelized with St. Blitharius of Seganne (died 600s), a Scottish-born monk also known as St. Blier. St. Blitharius settled in Seganne, Champagne, where he died of natural causes. St. Fursey founded a monastery at Ligny, in Neustria. St. Foillan formed an association Sts. Itta of Metz and Gertrude of Nivelles, becoming the founding Abbot of Fosses, in modern-day Belgium. He died on October 31, 655, after saying Mass. Outlaws murdered him. His brother, St. Ultan, succeeded him as abbot.
What about St. Goban? He became a hermit in the forest near the Oise River and built a church and a hermitage near Premontre. He died when bandits beheaded him.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
FEBRUARY 21, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF STEVE DE GRUCHY, SOUTH AFRICAN CONGREGATIONALIST THEOLOGIAN
THE FEAST OF SAINT ARNULF OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP, AND SAINT GERMANUS OF GRANFEL, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR
THE FEAST OF SAINT ETHELBERT OF KENT, KING
THE FEAST OF SAINT ROBERT SOUTHWELL, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR
you have sent your messengers
to carry the good news of Christ
into the world;
grant that we who commemorate
Saint Murin of Fahan,
Saint Laserian of Leighlin,
Saint Goban of Pirardie,
Saint Blitharius of Seganne,
Saint Fursey of Peronne,
Saint Foillan of Fosses,
and Saint Ultan of Peronne
may know the hope of the gospel
in our hearts
and show forth its light in all our ways;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Psalm 67 or 96
–Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), pages 682-683)