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Palladius the Archdeacon of Celestine Pope, Bishop of the city of Rome, who then held the Apostolic See, the forty-fifth in succession from S. Peter the Apostle. This Palladius was ordained and sent to convert this island, lying under wintry cold. But God hindered him, for no one can receive anything from earth unless it were given him from heaven ; for neither did those fierce and savage men receive his doctrine readily, nor did he himself wish to spend time in a land not his own; but he returned to him who sent him. On his return hence, however, after his first passage of the sea, having begun his land journey, he died in the territories of the Britons."
The Second Life of S. Patrick in Colgan's Trias Thaumaturga gives some additional details.
"The most blessed Pope Celestine ordained bishop an archdeacon of the Roman Church named Palladius, and sent him to the island of Hibernia, after having committed to him the relics of the blessed Peter and Paul and other Saints, and having also given him the volumes of the Old and New Testaments. Palladius, entering the land of the Scots, arrived at the territory of the men of Leinster, where Nathi mac Garchon was the chief, who opposed him. Others, however, whom the Divine mercy had disposed towards the worship of God, having been baptized in the name of the Sacred Trinity, the blessed Palladius built three churches in the same district, one of which he called Collfine, in which, even to the present day, he left his books which he had received from Celestine, and the box of relics of the blessed Peter and Paul and other saints, and the tablets on which he used to write, which in Scottish are called from his name Pall-ere or Pallao-ere, that is the Burden of Palladius, and are held in veneration.
"Another, to wit, Tech-na-Roman (the House of the Romans) ; and the third Domnach Ardech, or Aracha, in which are (buried) the holy men of the family of Palladius, Silvester and Salonius, who are honoured there. After a short time Palladius died in the plains of Girgin, in a place called Fordun, but others say that he was crowned with martyrdom there."
The Fourth Life, after giving much the same account up to the burial of Silvester and Salonius, adds : "But Palladius seeing that he could not do much good there, wishing to return to Rome, migrated to the Lord in the region of the Picts. Others, however, say that he was crowned with martyrdom in Hibernia."
Fuller particulars as to his departure are given in the Scholia to the hymn attributed to S. Fiacc of Stetty, but which is considerably later.
"He (Palladius) founded some churches, viz., Teach-na-Roman, Killfine, and others. Nevertheless he was not well received bv the people, but was forced to go round the coast of Ireland towards the north, until, driven by a great tempest, he reached the extreme part of Mohaidh towards the south, where he founded the church of Fordun. Pledi is his name there."
In the Irish original version it is said that he reached Cen Airthir, and Dr. Todd suggests that this is Kinnaird Head, on the north-east coast of Aberdeenshire. The Scottish versions are entirely untrustworthy, they do not date back earlier than the fourteenth century.
Dr. Todd has shown pretty conclusively that, in the later lives of S. Patrick, a fusion has taken place between the acts of the great apostle and a lost Life of Palladius.
In the genuine early records of S. Patrick, as in his own Confession, there is no mention of his having been a disciple of S. Germanus, nor of his commission by Pope Celestine, all this belongs to the earlier apostle Palladius, who, as we learn from Tirechan,1 was also named Patricius, at the time a common name.2
Professor Zimmer 3 has suggested that Palladius is but the Latin form of the name Sucat attributed to S. Patrick. Muirchu mac Machtheni, who wrote shortly before 698, says :—" Patricius, who was also called Sochet, of British nationality, was born in the British Isles."4 The Irish hymn of S. Fiacc, states that Patrick when a child was named Succat, and in a gloss on the passage there is the note that the name was British, and meant deus belli vel fords belli, because su in British was fortis, and cat =^bellum.b
"Thus," says Zimmer, "Palladius is a Roman rendering of the British Sucatus. . . . Sucat either changed his name himself on his journey to Italy, or, what is more in accord with his scanty education, he made friends select for him a Roman equivalent for the British Sucat." Professor Zimmer identifies Palladius with the Patrick of the "Confessions " and " Letter to Coroticus," which we consider a position wholly untenable.8 We would rather suggest that in Britain Patri1 "Palladius episcopus primo mittitur, qui Patricius alio nomine appellabatur."
2 Gibbon says, "The meanest subjects of the Roman Empire " (at the close of the fifth century) "assumed the illustrious name of Patricius, which by the conversion of Ireland has been communicated to a whole nation." Decline and Fall, viii, p. 300, ed. Milman and Smith.
3 The Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland, tr. A. Meyer, London, 1902, pp. 37-8
4 Tripartite Life, ed. Stokes, ii, p. 494. 5 Ibid., ii, p. 412.
8 Dr. dimmer's Thesis has met with a crushing rejoinder from the pen of Professoi Hugh Williams, Zeitschrift fur Celtische Philologie, iv (1903).
cius bore both names, his Latin and his vernacular name, and that later in life, and when he left Britain, he ceased to be known by the name of Sucat.
Let us endeavour, following Dr. Todd, to reconstruct the history of S. Palladius.
Prosper of Aquitaine in his Chronicle, under 429, says that " Agricola son of Severianus, a Pelagian bishop, corrupted the churches of Britannia by insinuation of his doctrine ; but by the instrumentality of the deacon Palladius (ad actionem Palladii diaconi), Pope Celestinus sends Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, in his own stead (vice sua) to displace the heretics and direct the Britons to the Catholic Faith." And in the year next but one following, i.e., 431, "Palladius was consecrated by Pope Celestinus, and sent to the Scots believing in Christ, as their first bishop."
Commenting on the first passage, it deserves remark that Palladius is not called a deacon of the Roman Church, and we should infer that he was the deacon of Germanus. What is probable is, that Germanus, having been chosen by the bishops of Gaul to go to Britain, sent his deacon to announce this to Celestine, and to ask his blessing on the undertaking.
The expedition of Germanus and Lupus to Britain lasted only one year, and they returned to Gaul.
In the third year, 431, Celestine ordained Palladius bishop to those of the Scots, i.e. Irish, who already believed in Christ. Palladius then went, as we may presume, to Wales and crossed over from Porth Mawr to the Hy Garchon territory in Wicklow, where he founded three churches, but being much opposed by Nathi mac Garchon, the chief, he was obliged to leave. Nathi was of the Dalmessincorb family.
"It is possible," says Professor Bury, " that we may seek the site of a little house for praying, built by him or his disciples, on a high wooded hill that rises sheer enough on the left bank of the River Avoca, close to a long slanting hollow, down which, over grass and bushes, the eye catches the glimmer of the stream winding in the vale below, and rises beyond to the higher hills which bound the horizon. Here may have been the ' House of the Romans,' Tech na Roman ; and Tigrency, the shape in which this name is concealed, may be a memorial of the first missioners of Rome. But further west, beyond the hills, we can determine with less uncertainty another place which tradition associates with the activity of Palladius, in the neighbourhood of one of the royal seats of the lords of Leinster. From the high rath of Dunlavin those kings had a wide survey of their realm. . . . More than a league eastward from this fortress Palladius is said to have founded a church which is known as the ' domnach' of the High field, Domnach Airie, in a hilly region which is strewn with the remnants of ancient generations. The original church of this place has long since vanished, and its precise site cannot be guessed with certainty, but it gave a permanent name to the place. At Donard we feel with some assurance that we are at one of the earliest homes of the Christian faith in Ireland, not the earliest that existed, but the earliest to which we can give a name.
"There was a third church, seemingly the most important which Palladius is said to have founded, Cell Fine, ' the Church of the Tribes,' in which his tablets and certain books and relics which he had brought from Rome were preserved. Here, and perhaps only here, in the place, unknown to us, where his relics lay, was preserved the memory of Palladius, a mere name. Whatever his qualities may have been he was too short a time in Ireland to have produced a permanent impression." 1
Departing from the south of Ireland by boat, Palladius proceeded north with the intent to visit Ulster, but, according to one account, was driven by a storm to the coasts of Alba and died there. But, as Professor Bury has pointed out, it is more probable that Palladius did seek the Picts in Dalaradia, and that it was there that he died; not, indeed, that he was there martyred, but that he fell sick and died a natural death.
When the later compilers of the Life of S. Patrick fused—but very clumsily—the two Patricks into one, they reproduced the story of the crossing into Wicklow and the ill reception met with there, and the subsequent boating north to Ulster; but Patrick was made to land there, whereas they fabled that Palladius had been driven east to Alba.
On the death of Palladius, his companions, Augustine and Benedict returned to their homes, and brought the news of the event to Ebronia or Eboria, where S. Patrick heard of the failure of the mission. There is a difficulty in locating this place, all that we can say with confidence about it is that it was in Gaul. Palladius is commemorated on July 6 in the Arbuthnot and Aberdeen Calendars. He is unnoticed in the Irish Martyrologies. It must be clearly understood that the identification of Palladius and Belerus is most uncertain, and is not a little fantastic.
1 Bury, Life of S. Patrick, Loncl., 1905, pp. 56-7.
S. BELYAU, Virgin
As Mr. Egerton Phillimore has shown,1 the Breconshire Church Llanvillo, in Welsh Llanfilo, clearly took its name from and is really dedicated to Belyau, who was, according to the Cognatio of Cott. Vesp. A. xiv, one of the daughters of Brychan Brycheiniog. The church is usually given as dedicated to S. Milburgh, but this is a mere guess. It is called in ancient charters Lanbilio and Lanbiliou. Belyau was one of Brychan's unmarried daughters.
S. BEON or BENIGNUS, Confessor
At Glastonbury in 1091 was elevated and translated the body of a hermit named Beon, who had been buried in the cell he had inhabited in the Isle of Feringmere in the Marshes.
As the Glastonbury monks desired to make the most of their place and of the relics they possessed, besides pretending to have there the tomb of King Arthur, they claimed to have also the bodies of S. Patrick, S. David, and Gildas, and they converted the Irish settler Beon into Benignus, archbishop of Armagh and successor to S. Patrick.
On the occasion of the Translation they had an epitaph inscribed on his tomb, which they pretended had covered him in Feringmere.
William of Malmesbury, who informs us of this in his book on the Antiquities of Glastonbury, says :—" In the year 460 Saint Benignus came to Glastonbury. He was disciple of S. Patrick, and his third successor in the episcopate, as is recorded in their Acts. Benignus, by the counsel of an Angel, leaving his country and pontificate and abandoning his dignity, having undertaken a voluntary pilgrimage arrived at Glastonbury, God being his guide; and there he encountered S. Patrick. Of how great favour he was in with God is manifested by many tokens. This is testified at Feringmere, where a spring rose at his prayers, and a great flourishing tree grew out of his dry staff. Here, finally, after great anguish he came to a blessed end, in the said island, and there rested till the days of William Rufus, when he was translated to Glastonbury."
The Life of S. Beon or Benignus was written by William of Malmesbury, and this formed the substance of a Life by John of Tynemouth,
1 Sec his note in Owen, Pembrokeshire, iii, p. 325.