Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The See Elphin in the Early Middle Ages (512-1246)

From Walsh, Thomas; History of the Irish Hierarchy, cap. xxix, p. 299 ff.

The See of Elphin now embraces those of Ardcarn, Drumcliffe and Roscoman. By the annexation of those sees, Elphin became one of the richest in the kingdom. Caisseal Iorra or West Cashel is also mentioned and a bishop Bron as having resided there. He died in 512.

St. Asicus is mentioned as the first bishop of Elphin and to have been placed in the see by St. Patrick but it is doubtful whether he has been one in the lifetime of the apostle. The festival of St. Asicus is celebrated on the 27th of April but the year of his death, like unto the deaths of other saints, is not known. Ware fixes his incumbency in or about 450. It is said that Asicus was an excellent goldsmith and that he adorned the cathedral with monuments of elegant workmanship, that he also wrought for St. Patrick quadrangular chalices and altars. It is also related of him that through a penitential spirit he retired from his diocese to the mountain Slievliag in Donegal where, after sojourning a considerable time, he was discovered by his disciples. He could not be induced to return to his see but went with them to a solitude and when he died was buried at Rathcunga barony of Tyrhugh in that county.

Next to Asicus is mentioned his nephew Bitheus, bishop of Elphin, and who was buried with Asicus in Rathcunga. Bron, bishop of Caisseal Iorra, was the contemporary of both and died in the time of St. Bridget, A.D. 512. The names of the successors are lost to our enquiries but may we not hope that they are recorded in the book of life

Domnald Ó Dubhai, who was also bishop of Clonmacnois and who died at Clonfert in 1137. Flanachan Ó Dubhai, who died in 1168.
Maelisa Ó Conactain, bishop of east Connaught assisted at the council of Kells in 1152. Died in 1174.
Florence MacRiagan O'Mulrony, a Cistercian monk and abbot of Boyle, died in 1195, was descended of the kings of Connaught.
Ardgal O'Conor of the royal family of the O Connors died A.D. 1214.
Denis O'Mulkeran, bishop of Ardcarn, died in 1224.
Denis Ó Morda, who succeeded, resigned in 1229 and died in 1231.
Alan of whom nothing is known.
Donat O'Connor sat twelve years and died in 1244.
John Ó Hughroin, archdeacon of Elphin, was elected on the 12th of June, 1244. The archbishop of Tuam refused to consecrate him until he obtained the royal assent but the Pope, giving a laudable testimony of John to the king, assent was given for his consecration and a writ issued to the lord justice to restore him to the temporals. John died A.D. 1246 at Rahugh mic Brec, county Westmeath.
Cornelius Rufus, son to the successor of St. Molua, was bishop of Elphin in 1246 but he survived a short time.

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