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E06253: Tírechán, in his Collection, states that the nun Mathona, founder of the 'free church' of Tamnach (Ireland), swore a pact of friendship with the successors of *Rodanus (priest of Patrick at Dumech, 5th c., S02267) over that same saint's relics. Written in Latin in Ireland, probably shortly after c. 668.

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posted on 2018-08-27, 00:00 authored by bsavill
Tírechán, Collection (BHL 6496)

For an overview of this text, see E06131.

(1) Et uenit apud se filia felix in perigrinationem nomine Mathona soror Benigni successoris Patricii, quae tenuit pallium apud Patricium et Rodanum: (2) monacha fuit illis et exiit per montem filiorum Ailello et plantauit aeclessiam liberam hi Tamnuch et honorata fuerat a Deo et hominibus et ipsa fecit amicitiam ad reliquias sancti Rodani et successores illius epulabantur ad inuicem.

'(1) And a blest maiden came to him in pilgrimage, named Mathona, a sister of Benignus the successor of Patrick, and took the veil from Patrick and Rodanus; (2) she was a nun to them, and she went out across the mountain of the sons of Ailill and established a free church at Tamnach, and she was honoured by God and men, and entered into a solemn compact with the successors (?) of holy Rodanus, swearing by his relics, and his successors dined together (with her).'

Text and translation: Bieler 1979, 140-43.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Rodanus, priest of Patrick at Senchell Dumiche (Ireland), 5th c. : S02267 Patrick, missionary and bishop of Ireland, 5th c. : S01962

Saint Name in Source

Rodanus Patricius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts Literary - Hagiographical - Monastic collections (apophthegmata, etc.) Literary - Hagiographical - Monastic collections (apophthegmata, etc.)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Britain and Ireland

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

St Albans St Albans Verulamium

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Feasting (eating, drinking, dancing, singing, bathing)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Women

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic


Tírechán’s now-untitled account of Patrick’s life (Collectanea is a modern editor’s invention) survives in only one 9th century Irish manuscript, the Book of Armagh (Trinity College Dublin Ms 52), where it almost immediately follows Muirchú’s Life of the same saint (E06132). The text as we have it is probably incomplete or unfinished, and its division into two books may not be Tírechán’s own. We are told that Tírechán was a bishop, although not where he held his see. His naming of Ultán of Connor (bishop of Ardbraccan, ob. c. 655) as both his source and mentor would seem to date the work to the second half of the seventh century, while his reference to a recent plague (ch. 25) suggests a terminus post quem of 664-8, although there were further outbreaks in 680 and 700. Bieler suggested in his edition of 1979 that there was no clear indication as to whether Tírechán wrote before or after Muirchú, but ‘there is now a general agreement’ (Sharpe 1991) that the Collectanea is the earlier work, probably composed not long after the devastations of the 664-8 epidemic. For an overview of Tírechán's Collection, see E06131.


This appears to be the only reference in the corpus of (securely datable) pre-700 Irish Latin hagiography to the swearing of oaths over relics.


Edition and translation: Bieler, L., The Patrician Texts of the Book of Armagh (Scriptores Latini Hiberniae 10; Dublin, 1979), 122-67. Further reading: Bury, J.B., "Tírechán’s Memoir of St Patrick," English Historical Review 17 (1902), 235-67. MacNeill, E., "The Earliest Lives of St Patrick," Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 58 (1928), 1-21. Sharpe, R., "St Patrick and the See of Armagh," Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 4 (1982), 33-59. Sharpe, R., Medieval Irish Saints’ Lives: An Introduction to Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae (Oxford, 1991). Swift, C., "Tírechán’s Motives in Compiling the “Collectanea”: An Alternative Interpretation," Ériu 45 (1994), 53-82.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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