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43

CHAPTER IV.

Being made Archbishop of Armagh, he suffers many troubles. Peace being made, from being Archbishop of Armagh he becomes Bishop of Down.

1129

19. (12). Meanwhile365365That is, while Malachy was in Iveragh. it happened that Archbishop Cellach366366Cellach is here mentioned by name for the first time. See p. 14, n. 2. fell sick: he it was who ordained Malachy deacon, presbyter and bishop: and knowing that he was dying he made a sort of testament367367Harris (Ware's Works, ii., "Writers," p. 69) identifies this testament with the Testamentum ad ecclesias, a tract attributed to Cellach, which is apparently no longer extant. But it may be doubted whether the testament mentioned in the text was committed to writing. to the effect that Malachy ought to succeed him,368368The designation by a coarb of his successor seems to have been unusual. But in 1124 Malachy had in this way been appointed abbot of Bangor (§ 12); and in 1134 Murtough designated Niall as his successor in the abbacy of Armagh (§ 22). because none seemed worthier to be bishop of the first see. This he gave in charge to those who were present, this he commanded to the absent, this to the two kings of Munster369369   Conor O'Brien, king of Thomond, and Cormac Mac Carthy, king of Desmond. See § 9, and p. 21, notes 1-3. Murtough O'Brien, king of Munster, fell into ill-health in 1114, and his brother Dermot attempted, evidently with some success, to seize the throne. Dermot died in 1118 and Murtough early in the following year. Turlough O'Conor, the powerful king of Connaught, promptly invaded Munster, and divided it into two vassal kingdoms, Thomond and Desmond. The former he gave to the sons of Dermot, of whom Conor was one, the latter to Teague Mac Carthy. Apparently Conor O'Brien soon established himself as sole king of Thomond, and Cormac Mac Carthy became king of Desmond on the death of his father, Teague, in 1124. We have seen that both of them were deposed in 1127, and quickly restored (§ 9 f.: see p. 21, n. 3; p. 23, n. 2). From that time Conor and Cormac were allies. Cormac married Conor's niece (A.T. 1138). Together in 1133 they invaded Connaught (A.F.M.), and the next year they made another successful expedition through Connaught into Ulster (then ruled by Conor O'Loughlin; see p. 40, n. 2), in the course of which they burned the church of Rathluraigh, now Maghera, co. Derry, near the border of the diocese of Armagh (D.A.I.). This expedition must be referred to hereafter (p. 51, n. 2). But Conor evidently aspired to be ardrí of Ireland, and he found it desirable to remove a possible rival. Accordingly Cormac was murdered by his father-in-law, Conor's brother, in 1138, and Conor became king of all Munster. He was now the most powerful prince in Ireland; but he died, after a lingering illness (Tundale, p. 42), in 1142, without attaining his ambition.
    It is clear from the present passage that Conor O'Brien followed in the footsteps of his predecessors in the same family as a supporter of the new movement in the Irish Church. Cormac, as we know, was the friend and disciple of Malachy: his devotion to the Church is witnessed to by the beautiful edifice built by him at Cashel, still known as "Cormac's Chapel," which was consecrated in 1134; and by his title of "Bishop-King," which has been the subject of so much discussion. See Petrie, pp. 283-307; and for the crozier found in Cormac's supposed tomb, G. Coffey, Guide to the Celtic Antiquities of the Christian Period in the National Museum, Dublin, p. 64. But it must be added that the contemporary Vision of Tundale, which apparently emanated from Cormac's kingdom of Desmond, while bearing emphatic testimony to his generosity to "Christ's poor and pilgrims," charges him with heinous crimes strangely inconsistent with St. Bernard's sketch of his character (Tundale, p. 44 f.).
44and to the magnates of the land he specially enjoined by the authority of St. Patrick.370370It seems that the successor (coarb) of the founder of a church was supposed to speak with his authority. Cp. the Epistle of Cummian in Ussher, p. 442. For from reverence and honour for him, as the apostle of that nation, who had converted the whole country to the faith, that see where he presided in life and rests in death371371Cp. § 65. It is generally believed that St. Patrick was buried at Downpatrick (see Reeves, p. 223 ff.); but Olden contended (not convincingly) that the statement made here by St. Bernard is correct (R.I.A. xviii, 655 ff.), while Bury (Life of St. Patrick, p. 211) has "little hesitation in deciding that the obscure grave was at Saul." has been held in so great veneration by all from the beginning, that not merely bishops and priests, and those who are of the clergy, but also all kings and princes are subject 45to the metropolitan372372This word cannot have been in St. Bernard's document, for it is unknown in early Irish ecclesiastical terminology, and in Irish hierarchical arrangements it would have no meaning. The context proves that the persons to whom it is here applied are the abbots of Armagh, of whom Cellach was one. It probably represents a Latin rendering of "coarb (successor) of Patrick," a title commonly given to the abbots of this period. The document portrayed the coarbs as rulers of the church of Armagh. St. Bernard would naturally infer that they were bishops. When he found that their authority extended beyond Armagh he would no less naturally style them archbishops or metropolitans. Cp. Serm. i, § 6, where the story of §§ 19-31 is briefly summarized. in all obedience, and he himself alone presides over all. But a very evil custom had developed, by the devilish ambition of certain powerful persons, that the holy see373373Armagh. should be held by hereditary succession. For they suffered none to be bishops but those who were of their own tribe and family. And for no short time had the execrable succession lasted, for fifteen generations (as I may call them)374374Quasi generationibus quindecim. The "quasi-generations" are apparently the periods of office of successive coarbs. St. Bernard seems to have written "fifteen" in mistake for "twelve." See Additional Note B, p. 165. had already passed in this wickedness. And to such a point had an evil and adulterous375375Adulterous, because it took possession of the church, which should have been married to true bishops. Cp. § 20, "the adultery of the church," Malachy "being joined to another spouse;" § 21, Malachy's "former spouse," and the vision of Cellach's wife. generation376376Matt. xii. 39; xvi. 4. established for itself this distorted right, rather this unrighteousness worthy of punishment by any sort of death, that although at times clerics failed of that blood, yet bishops never. In a word there had been already eight before Cellach, married men, and without orders, albeit men of letters.377377On the statements in these sentences, see Additional Note B. Hence, throughout the whole of Ireland, all that subversion of ecclesiastical discipline, that weakening of censure, that abandonment of religion of which we have 46spoken already; hence everywhere that substitution of raging barbarism for Christian meekness—yea, a sort of paganism brought in under the name of Christianity. For—a thing unheard of from the very beginning of the Christian faith—bishops were transferred and multiplied, without order or reason, at the will of the metropolitan, so that one bishopric was not content with one bishop, but nearly every single church had its bishop.378378That bishops were numerous in Ireland at this period is indubitable. Fifty attended the Synod of Fiadh meic Oengusa (A.U. 1111), and probably all of them came from the provinces of Ulster and Munster (above, p. xxxviii). But this cannot have been due to the irregularities at Armagh of which St. Bernard complains. There were many bishops in Ireland in its earliest Christian period. See Reeves, 123-136; Todd, 27 ff. No wonder; for how could the members of so diseased a head be sound?

1132

20. Cellach, greatly grieving for these and other like evils of his people—for he was a good and devout man—took all care to have Malachy as his successor, because he believed that by him this evilly rooted succession might be torn up,379379Malachy was not of the Clann Sinaich, to which at this period the coarbs of Patrick belonged. See p. 6, n. 5, and Additional Note B, p. 165. since he was dear to all, and one whom all were zealous to imitate, and the Lord was with him.3803801 Sam. iii. 19, etc. Nor was he deceived of his hope; for when he died Malachy was put into occupation in his room. But not soon nor easily. For behold there is one of the evil seed to seize the place—Murtough by name.381381Cellach died on April 1, 1129, and was buried at Lismore on April 4. On April 5, the day after his funeral, Murtough was appointed coarb (A.U.). For five years, relying on the secular power,382382He was probably supported by Conor O'Loughlin, who was king of Oriel, the district in which Armagh was situated (A.F.M. 1136). On him see p. 40, n. 2. The "five years" are the period from Murtough's election to his death, September 17, 1134 (A.F.M.)—nearly five years and a half. this man 47fastened himself upon the church, not a bishop but a tyrant. For the wishes of the devout had rather supported the claim of Malachy. At last they urged him to undertake the burden according to the ordinance of Cellach. But he, who shunned every high office as nothing else than his downfall,383383Geoffrey, St. Bernard's secretary, recalls a saying of his about "one of the saints," which actually appears in the first antiphon at Mattins in the office of St. Malachy, and which Geoffrey applies to St. Bernard himself: "Blessed is he who loved the law, but did not desire the chair [of dignity]." (V.P. iii. 8). thought that he had found good ground of excuse, because at that time it was impossible that he should have a peaceful entry. All were eager for so holy a work and pressed him; especially the two bishops, Malchus384384On Malchus see p. 18, n. 6. He was now about eighty-five years of age. and Gilbert,385385Gillebertus (as St. Bernard writes the name) is a latinized form of the Irish Gilla espuig (servant of the bishop), which is anglicized Gillespie. With that Irish name he subscribed the Acts of the Synod of Rathbreasail (Keating, iii. 306); and we may therefore affirm with confidence that he was an Irishman. Gilbert was a friend of the famous thinker and ecclesiastical statesman, Anselm, who was archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. The two men met each other for the first time at Rouen, probably in 1087, when Anselm was called thither to the deathbed of William the Conqueror. Twenty years later, Gilbert, then bishop of Limerick, wrote a letter of congratulation to Anselm on his victory over Henry I. in the controversy concerning investiture (August 1107). In his reply Anselm intimates that the long interval had not blurred his recollection of their former companionship, from which we may infer that Gilbert's personality had made a considerable impression upon him. Anselm also states that he had learned (probably from the superscription of his friend's letter) that he was now a bishop. It would seem, therefore, that Gilbert had been consecrated recently, and not, like the contemporary bishops of Danish sees in Ireland, by the English Primate (see the letters in Ussher, 511, 512). He probably became bishop of Limerick about 1105. Shortly after his correspondence with Anselm, and perhaps by his influence, he was appointed papal legate for Ireland, the first, as St. Bernard tells us, who had held that office. He was legate when in 1108 or 1109 he wrote his tract De Statu Ecclesiæ (see above, p. xxx. ff.); and in 1110, as legate, he presided over the Synod of Rathbreasail. In 1139 or 1140, being old and infirm, he resigned his legatine commission and his see (§ 38 and p. 73, note 1). He died in 1145. Gilbert was evidently a strong man, who had much influence on the affairs of the Irish Church. It is therefore surprising that the only reference to him in the native Annals is the notice of his death in the Chronicon Scotorum. of whom 48the former was the elder386386Senior. This is almost a technical word for the head of a religious community. Malchus is called ard senóir Gaoidheal (high senior of the Irish) in A.F.M. 1135. of Lismore mentioned above, the second he who is said to have been the first to exercise the office of legate of the Apostolic See throughout the whole of Ireland. These, when three years had now passed in this presumption of Murtough and dissimulation of Malachy,387387His dissimulation was his disregard of the divine call in the vision described in § 21. tolerating no longer the adultery of the church and the dishonour of Christ, called together the bishops and princes of the land,388388Cp. A.F.M. 1132: "Mael Maedoc Ua Morgair sat in the coarbate of Patrick by the request of the clerics of Ireland." and came, in one spirit, to Malachy, prepared to use force. But he refused at first; pleading the difficulty of the project, the numbers, strength and ambition of that noble stock, urging that it was a great venture for him, a poor man and of no account, to oppose himself to men so many, so great, of such sort, so deeply rooted, who now for well-nigh two hundred years had held as by hereditary right the sanctuary of God,389389Ps. lxxxiii. 12 (vg.).—See Additional Note B, p. 165. and now also had taken possession of it before him; that they could not be rooted out, not even at the cost of human life; that it was not to his advantage that man's blood should be shed390390Gen. ix. 6. on his account; and lastly, that he was joined to another spouse391391The diocese of Connor. whom it was not lawful for him to put away.392392Matt. xix. 2; Mark x. 2.

21. (14). But when they persisted eagerly in the contrary opinion, and cried out that the word had come 49forth from the Lord,393393Ezek. xxxiii. 30. and moreover ordered him with all authority to undertake the burden, and threatened him with an anathema, he said, "You are leading me to death, but I obey in the hope of martyrdom; yet on this condition, that if, as you expect, the enterprise has good success, and God frees his heritage from those that are destroying it,394394Jer. l. 11. all being then at length completed, and the church395395The church of Armagh. at peace, it may be lawful for me to return to my former spouse and friend, poverty,396396The "spouse" is primarily the diocese of Connor. His voluntary poverty is especially associated with his episcopate there in Serm. i. § 6. from which I am carried off, and to put in my place there another, if then one is found fit for it." Note, reader, the courage of the man and the purity of his purpose who, for Christ's name, neither sought honour nor dreaded death. What could be purer or what braver than this purpose, that after exposing himself to peril and labour he should yield to another the fruit—peace and security itself in the place of authority? And this he does, retaining for himself according to agreement a free return to poverty when peace and freedom are restored to the church. When they gave the pledge, at length he assented to their will; or rather to the will of God, who, he remembered, had long foreshown to him this occurrence, at the fulfilment of which he was now grieved. For indeed when Cellach was already ailing there appeared to Malachy—far away and ignorant [of Cellach's condition]—a woman of great stature and reverend mien. When he inquired who she was, the answer was given that she was the wife of Cellach.397397It can hardly be doubted that this means the diocese of Armagh (cp. p. 45, n. 4). Both § 19 and the title "son of purity" (A.U. 1129) imply that Cellach was not married. And she gave him a pastoral staff which she held in her hand, and then 50disappeared. A few days later, Cellach, when he was dying, sent his staff to Malachy, indicating that he should succeed him: and when he saw it he recognized that it was the same which he had seen [in vision]. It was the remembrance of this vision which specially put Malachy in fear, lest if he still refused he might seem to resist the Divine will, which he had ignored long enough.398398Rom. ix. 19. But he did not enter the city as long as that intruder lived, lest by such act it should happen that any one of those should die to whom he came rather to minister life. Thus for two years (for so long the other survived), living outside the town, he strenuously performed the episcopal office throughout the whole province.399399That Malachy was in 1132 recognized by many as coarb of Patrick is confirmed by the Annals (see p. 48, n. 3). But that he exercised his episcopal office "throughout the entire province" is inconsistent with the fact that in 1133 Murtough "made a visitation of Tír Eoghain [counties of Derry and Tyrone] and received his tribute of cows and imparted his blessing" (A.F.M.).

1134, Sept. 17

22. (15). When that person, then, had been removed by sudden death,400400September 17, 1134 (A.F.M.). Sudden death is not suggested by the Annals. again one Niall [Nigellus] (in truth nigerrimus, very black)401401St. Bernard puns on the Latin name by which he represents Niall. It is a diminutive of niger, black. quickly took possession of the see. And in appointing him as his successor, Murtough, while he was still alive, made provision for his life:402402Josh. ix. 24 (vg.). he was going forth to be damned, but in the person of Niall he would go on adding to the works of damnation.403403The meaning of this somewhat difficult sentence is made clear by the reference to the Gibeonites (Josh. ix). By their stratagem they "made provision for their lives," that is, that they should continue to live instead of being exterminated with the rest of the Canaanites. In like manner Murtough provided that he should, as it were, live on and pursue his evil course, in the person of Niall. For he also was 51of the damned race, a relative of Murtough.404404He was Murtough's cousin, and Cellach's brother. See the table, Additional Note B, p. 164. But the king405405That the king was either Conor O'Brien or Cormac Mac Carthy is highly probable. To them Cellach had confided the duty of seeing that Malachy should be his successor (§ 19), and in this very year they reached the border of the diocese of Armagh (p. 43, n. 5). See p. 53, n. 5. and the bishops and faithful of the land nevertheless came together that they might bring in Malachy. And lo, there was an assembly of the wicked406406Ps. xxii. 16. to oppose them.407407The narrative of this and the next section is illustrated by the Annals under the year 1134. A.F.M., after recording the obit of Murtough, proceed: "Niall, son of Aedh, was installed in the coarbate of Patrick. A change of abbots in Armagh, i.e. Mael Maedoc Ua Morgair in place of Niall." In A.T. we have the statement, "Mael Maedog o Mongair ascended Patrick's chair. The Cinel Eoghain of Tulach Óg conspired against Mael Maedoc, and a flash of lightning consumed twelve men of them on the spot where they conspired against him." Thus it seems that the conspirators came from the place now known as Tullaghoge, in the county of Tyrone, then, as now, in the diocese of Armagh. It was the district inhabited by the sept of the O'Hagans, and in it was the lía na rígh, the inauguration chair of the O'Neills, kings of Ulster. The confirmation which St. Bernard's story receives from A.T. is the more important, because the two narratives are so far different that they must have come from independent sources. A certain man of the sons of Belial, ready for mischief, mighty in iniquity,408408Ps. lii. 1 (vg.). who knew the place where they had decided to come together,409409Cp. John xviii. 2 (vg.). gathered many with him and secretly seized a neighbouring high hill opposite to it, intending, when they were engaged with other things, suddenly to rush upon them unawares and murder the innocent.410410Ps. x. 8. For they had agreed to butcher the king also with the bishop, that there might be none to avenge the righteous blood.411411Matt. xxiii. 35, combined with Rev. vi. 10; xix. 2. The plan became known to Malachy, and he entered the church, which was close by, and lifted up his hands in 52prayer to the Lord. Lo, there came clouds and darkness,412412Ps. xcvii. 2. yea also dark waters and thick clouds of the skies413413Ps. xviii. 11. changed the day into night,414414Amos v. 8 (vg.). lightnings and thunderings415415Rev. iv. 5. and an horrible spirit of tempests416416Ps. xi. 6, horribilis spiritus procellarum: apparently a conflation of the vg. with another rendering. A.V. has an horrible tempest. presaged the last day, and all the elements threatened speedy death.417417Virg., Aen. i. 91.

23. But that you may know, reader, that it was the prayer of Malachy that roused the elements, the tempest fell upon those who sought his life,418418Exod. iv. 19; Matt. ii. 20, etc. the dark whirlwind419419Job iii. 6 (vg.). enveloped only those who had made ready the works of darkness.420420Rom. xiii. 12. Finally, he who was the leader of so great wickedness was struck by a thunderbolt and perished with three others, companions in death as they had been partners in crime; and the next day their bodies were found half-burnt and putrid, clinging to the branches of trees, each where the wind421421Spiritus. Cp. the "spirit of tempests" in § 22 (end). had lifted him up and cast him down.422422Ps. cii. 10. Three others also were found half dead; the rest were all scattered in every direction. But, as for those who were with Malachy, though they were close to the place, the storm touched them not at all, neither troubled them.423423Song of Three Children, 27. In that fact we find fresh proof of the truth of that saying, The prayer of the righteous pierceth the heavens.424424Ecclus. xxxv. 16 (inexact quotation). It is also a new example of the ancient miracle, by which in former times, when all Egypt was in darkness, Israel alone remained in light, as the Scripture says, Wheresoever Israel was there was light.425425Exod. x. 23 (inexact quotation). In this connexion occurs to me also what holy Elijah 53did, at one time bringing clouds and rain from the ends of the earth,4264262 Kings xviii. 41 ff.; Jas. v. 18. at another, calling down fire from heaven on the revilers.4274272 Kings i. 9-12. And now in like manner God is glorified in428428John xiii. 31. His servant Malachy.

24. (16). In the thirty-eighth year of his age,429429This date is incorrect. The entry into the city of Armagh cannot have taken place before October 1134, when Malachy was in his fortieth (possibly thirty-ninth) year. His entry into the province (§ 21) was probably made in his thirty-eighth year. This was no doubt the cause of St. Bernard's error; for one of his documents may, like A.F.M. (p. 48, n. 3), have used words which seemed to imply that he entered Armagh on that earlier occasion. the usurper having been driven out, the poor man, Malachy, entered Armagh, pontiff and metropolitan of all Ireland. But when the king and the others who had brought him in returned home,430430If "the king" was Cormac Mac Carthy (p. 51, n. 2), the statement that he returned home shortly after Malachy obtained possession of the see, is confirmed by A.F.M. For they record, under 1134, the consecration of Cormac's Chapel on the rock of Cashel. he remained in the hand of God;431431Wisd. iii. 1. and there remained for him without fightings, within fears.4324322 Cor. vii. 5. For, lo, the viperous brood, raging and crying out that it was disinherited, aroused itself in full strength, within and without, against the Lord and against His Anointed.433433Ps. ii. 2; Acts iv. 26. Moreover, Niall, seeing that flight was inevitable,434434The flight of Niall seems clearly to imply that he was in the city of Armagh. The natural inference is that "having been driven out" he was afterwards reinstated. This may have happened while Malachy was absent on a visitation of Munster, mentioned in A.F.M., but apparently unknown to St. Bernard. The statement of the latter, that Malachy "remained" in Armagh, ignores it. See further, Additional Note C, p. 168 f. took with him certain insignia of that see, to wit, the copy of the Gospels, which had belonged to blessed Patrick,435435The Book of Armagh, now in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. The manuscript was written at Armagh early in the ninth century by a scribe named Ferdomnach; but at an early date it came to be supposed that it was the work of St. Patrick himself. From this belief, perhaps, arose the name by which it was known for many centuries, and which can be traced back to the year 936—the Canon of Patrick. It is strange that it should be called here a "copy of the Gospels"; for in addition to the complete text of the New Testament it contains two lives of St. Patrick, his Confession and other historical documents. But the word Gospel was very loosely used in Ireland (see R.I.A. xxxiii. 327 f.). Misled by this description, de Backer (n. ad loc.) identifies the book mentioned by St. Bernard with the so-called "Gospels of St. Patrick," found in the shrine known as the Domnach Airgid, about 1830, which have no connexion with Armagh or St. Patrick (R.I.A. Trans. xviii., "Antiquities," pp. 14 ff.; xxx. 303 ff.; R.I.A. xxxiv. 108 ff.). For further information about the Book of Armagh the reader may consult Gwynn, especially pp. ci.-cxvi. and the staff covered with gold and 54adorned with most costly gems, which they call "the staff of Jesus," because the Lord himself (as report affirms) held it in His hands and fashioned it;436436The staff of Jesus was a wooden crozier (Giraldus, Top. iii. 34), richly adorned. The story of its presentation by Christ to St. Patrick is found in the tenth-century Trip. (p. 30), no doubt taken from an earlier source. The staff was much older than the Book of Armagh; for we find that it was "profaned" in 789, and it was then apparently regarded as the principal relic of St. Patrick (A.U. 788). It seems that there was a still more ancient tradition, that St. Patrick gave it to St. Mac Cairthinn (R.I.A. xxxiv. 114), from which it may be inferred that it once belonged to the church of Clogher. It was removed from Armagh to Dublin in 1180, and deposited in Christ Church. It was burnt in 1538 (A.L.C.). Apparently St. Bernard is the only authority for the statement that it was "fashioned" by Christ. It appears that the staff of Jesus, in the twelfth century, was regarded as a much more important relic than the Book of Armagh, and was more closely associated with the person and office of the coarb of Patrick. It is frequently mentioned in such a way as to suggest that it was one of the insignia of his authority (A.U. 1015, 1073, 1101, 1113, 1157, 1166, 1167; A.F.M. 1135, 1139, 1143, 1148, 1152). Similar references to the Book of Armagh do not occur till near the close of the twelfth century, immediately after the removal of the staff from Armagh (A.U. 1179, 1196; Gwynn, p. civ.). A very full account of the later history of the staff may be read in O.C.C. pp. viii-xx. which are deemed of the highest honour and sanctity in that nation. They are, in fact, very well known and celebrated among the tribes, and so revered by all, that he who is once seen to have them is held by the foolish and unwise 55people437437Deut. xxxii. 6. to be their bishop. That man—a vagabond438438Gyrovagus. The word is commonly used of a monk who leaves his proper monastery, and wanders about from one cell to another (see, e.g., St. Bernard, Ep. 68, § 4), or to a priest who deserts his parish (Du Cange, s.v.). and another Satanwent to and fro in the land and walked up and down in it,439439Job i. 6, 7; ii. 2. bearing round the holy insignia; and, displaying them everywhere, he was for their sake everywhere received, by them winning the minds of all to himself, and withdrawing as many as he could from Malachy. These things did he.

25. But there was a certain prince, of the more powerful of the unrighteous race,440440King (Primacy of Armagh, p. 97) thought that this was Conor O'Loughlin. But he could hardly be described as "of the unrighteous race," or as a "prince," which would indicate a petty chieftain. Probably the conspirator was a local magnate. whom the king before he left the city, had compelled to swear that he would maintain peace with the bishop, taking from him, moreover, many hostages. Notwithstanding this, when the king left he entered the city, and took counsel with his kinsmen and friends how they might take the holy man by subtlety and kill him; but they feared the people;441441Matt. xxvi. 4, combined with Luke xxii. 2. and having conspired to slay Malachy442442Cp. Acts xxiii. 12 f. they fixed a place and day, and a traitor gave them a sign.443443Matt. xxvi. 48. On that very day, when the prelate was now celebrating the solemnity of Vespers in the church with the whole of the clergy and a multitude of the people, that worthless man sent him a message in words of peace with subtlety,4444441 Macc. i. 30. asking him that he would deign to come down to him, so that he might make peace. The bystanders answered that he should rather come to the bishop, and that the church was a more suitable place for establishing peace; for they foresaw guile. The messengers replied that this was not safe 56for the prince; that he feared for his head, and that he did not trust himself to the crowds who, some days before, had nearly killed him for the bishop's sake. As they were contending in this way, these saying that he should go, those that he should not go, the bishop, desiring peace and not afraid to die, said, "Brethren, let me imitate my Master.445445Cp. 1 Cor. xi. 1. I am a Christian to no purpose if I do not follow Christ.446446Matt. x. 38, etc. Perhaps by humility I shall bend the tyrant; if not, yet I shall conquer by rendering, a shepherd to a sheep, a priest to a layman, that duty which he owed to me. You also, as far as in me lies, I shall edify not a little by such an example. For what if I should chance to be killed? I refuse not to die,447447Acts xxv. 11. in order that from me you may have an example of life. It behoves a bishop, as the prince of bishops says, not to be lord over the clergy, but to become an example to the flock4484481 Pet. v. 3 (vg., inexact quotation).—no other example449449Formam. The word occurs in the verse just quoted, and in the context of that which follows (Phil. ii. 7). truly than that which we have received from Him who humbled himself and became obedient unto death.450450Phil. ii. 8. Who will give me [the opportunity] to leave this [example] to [my] sons, sealed with my blood? Try, at any rate, whether your priest has worthily learnt from Christ not to fear death for Christ." And he arose and went his way, all weeping, and praying that he would not so greatly desire to die for Christ that he should leave desolate so great a flock of Christ.

26. (17). But as for him, setting his whole hope in the Lord,451451Ps. lxxviii. 7. he went with all speed accompanied only by three disciples who were ready to die with him.452452Acts xxi. 13; John xi. 16. When he crossed the threshold453453Cp. Apuleius, Metamorph. xi. 23. of the house and suddenly came 57into the midst of the armed men—himself protected by the shield of faith454454Eph. vi. 16.—the countenances of them all fell,455455Gen. iv. 6. for dread fell upon them,456456Exod. xv. 16. so that the bishop could say, Mine enemies which trouble me became weak and fell.457457Ps. xxvii. 2 (vg.). This word is true.458458John iv. 37. You might see the victim standing, the slaughterers surrounding him on all sides, with weapons in their hands; and there was none to sacrifice him. You might suppose their arms were benumbed; for there was none to stretch out a hand. For even that one also, who seemed to be the head of the evil, rose up, not to assail him but to show him reverence. Where is the sign, O man, which you had given for the death of the pontiff? This is a sign rather of honour than death; this postpones, it does not hasten death. Wonderful result! They offer peace who had prepared slaughter. He cannot refuse it who had sought it at the risk of life. Therefore peace was made—a peace so firm that from that day the priest found his foe not merely appeased, but obedient, devoted.459459While accepting the facts here narrated, so far as they were capable of being observed, one cannot ignore the probability that they were misinterpreted. It is quite possible that the offer of peace was made in good faith, and that Malachy and his friends were unduly suspicious when they "foresaw guile." The prince may have surrounded himself with armed men as a mere matter of prudence. When they heard this, all the faithful rejoiced, not only because the innocent blood was saved in that day,460460Susanna, 62. but because by the merits of Malachy the souls of many wrongdoers escaped to salvation. And fear took hold on all that were round about when they heard how God had laid low, with sudden power, those two of His enemies who seemed most ferocious and powerful in their generation:461461Luke xvi. 8. I refer to him with whom we are now concerned, and the other of whom I spoke above.462462§ 23. For in a 58wonderful manner He took them both—one terribly punished in the body,463463Mulctatum in corpore. the other mercifully changed in heart464464Mutatum in corde.in the devices that they had imagined.465465Ps. x. 2.

1135, July(?)

27. These matters so accomplished, the bishop now began to dispose and order in the city all things pertaining to his ministry with entire freedom, but not without constant risk of his life. For though there was no one now who would harm him openly, yet the bishop had no place that was safe from plotters, and no time when he could be at ease; and armed men were appointed to guard him day and night, though he rather trusted in the Lord.466466Jer. xvii. 7, etc. But his purpose was to take action against the schismatic already mentioned, forasmuch as he was seducing many by means of the insignia which he carried about, persuading all that he ought to be bishop, and so stirring up the congregations467467Plebes. against Malachy and the unity of the church.468468That is, the church of Armagh. And thus he did; and without difficulty in a short time he so hedged up all his ways469469Hos. ii. 6. through the grace given unto him by the Lord,470470Rom. xii. 3; xv. 15, etc. and which he had toward all, that that evil one was compelled to surrender, to return the insignia,471471This statement can hardly be regarded as accurate. Flann Ua Sinaich, keeper of the staff of Jesus, having died, Malachy purchased it on July 7, 1135; or, in other words, as we may suppose, bribed the new keeper to hand it over to him (A.F.M.). Niall himself may have subsequently surrendered the Book of Armagh. and henceforth to be quiet in all subjection.4724721 Tim. ii. 11. Thus Malachy, albeit through many perils and labours, prospered day by day and was strengthened, abounding more and more in hope and the power of the Holy Ghost.473473Rom. xv. 13 (vg.).—The success of Malachy in establishing peace in the latter years of his rule at Armagh may be attributed in part to the influence of a prince who is not mentioned in the text. Donough O'Carroll first appears in the Annals as chieftain of the men of Fearnmaigh (now represented by the barony of Farney, co. Monaghan), whom he led in an expedition against Fingal (the district north of Dublin) in 1133. He seems to have succeeded to the kingdom or lordship of Oriel (which included the present counties of Armagh, Monaghan and Louth) on the death of Conor O'Loughlin (May 1136); for in 1138, "with the Oirgialla," he took part in an invasion of Meath. His career was prosperous till 1152, when he assaulted the coarb of Patrick (Gelasius). In consequence he was attacked by the Cenél Eoghain, and expelled from Oriel. In 1155 he was imprisoned by Tighernan O'Rorke in Lough Sheelan, for six weeks; but he escaped and recovered his kingdom, and was present at the consecration of the Church of Mellifont Abbey in 1157. He was murdered in 1168. For his support of Malachy see Additional Note C, p. 170.

5928. (18). And God swept away, not only those who did evil to Malachy, but also those who disparaged him. A certain man, for example, who was in favour with the princes and magnates, and even with the king himself,474474This is obviously not the king mentioned in §§ 22, 24, 25. The reference may be to Conor O'Loughlin, who was king of Oriel till he was murdered in May 1136 (p. 40, note 2), or his successor, Donough O'Carroll. because he was a flatterer and garrulous and mighty in tongue,475475Ecclus. xxi. 7. befriended Malachy's opponents in all things, and impudently maintained their contention. On the other hand, when the saint was present, he withstood him to the face,476476Gal. ii. 11. and when he was absent he disparaged him. Moreover he accosted him rudely everywhere, and especially when he knew that he was engaged in the more frequented assemblies. But he was soon visited with a suitable reward of his impudent tongue. The evil-speaking tongue swelled, and became putrid and worms swarmed from it477477Exod. xvi. 20 (vg., inexact quotation). and filled the whole blasphemous mouth. He vomited them forth incessantly for well-nigh seven days, and at length with them spued out his wretched soul.

29. Once when Malachy was speaking before the 60people and exhorting them, a certain unhappy woman dared to interrupt his discourse with evil cries, showing no respect to the priest and the Spirit which spake.478478Acts vi. 10 (vg.). Now she was of the impious race; and having breath in her nostrils479479Isa. ii. 22; cf. Job xxvii. 3; Wisd. ii. 2.—The words might be rendered "a spirit (spiritus) in her nostrils." The meaning is not clear. In the biblical passages in which the phrase occurs it indicates mortality. On the other hand, by the previous sentence St. Bernard suggests that, in contrast to Malachy, the woman spoke under the influence of an evil spirit. she vomited out blasphemies and insults against the saint, saying that he was a hypocrite, and an invader of the inheritance of another, and even reproaching him for his baldness. But he, modest and gentle as he was, answered her nothing;480480Mark xiv. 61. but the Lord answered for him. The woman became insane by the judgement of the Lord, and crying out many times that she was being suffocated by Malachy, at length by a horrible death she expiated the sin of blasphemy. So this wretched woman, taking up against Malachy the reproach that had been made against Elisha,4814812 Kings ii. 23. found to her cost that he was indeed another Elisha.

30. Further, because on account of a certain pestilence which arose in the city, he had solemnly led out a multitude of the clergy and people with the memorial of the saints,482482Memoria sanctorum. Probably a reliquary. A reliquary preserved at Clogher in 1300 was known as the membra, which, according to one explanation, was the equivalent of memoriale scrinium, memorial shrine. See L.A.J. iv. 245. Cp. Oengus, p. 345 (s.v. Memrae); Lightfoot, Clement of Rome, vol. i. p. 91. neither is this to be passed over, that when Malachy prayed the pestilence immediately ceased. Thenceforward there was none to murmur against him, for those who were of the seed of Canaan483483Susanna, 56. said, Let us flee from the face of Malachy, for the Lord fighteth 61for him.484484Exod. xiv. 25. But it was too late, for the wrath of the Lord, coming everywhere upon them, pursued them even unto destruction.485485Deut. vii. 2 (vg.). How, in a few days, is their memorial perished with resounding noise;486486Ps. ix. 6 (vg.). how are they brought into desolation, they are consumed in a moment, they are punished for their iniquity.487487Ps. lxxiii. 19. A great miracle to-day is the extinction of that generation, so quickly wrought, especially for those who knew their pride and power.488488See Additional Note B, p. 166. And many other signs truly489489John xx. 30. were there by which God glorified His name and strengthened His servant amidst labours and dangers. Who can worthily recount them? Yet we do not omit them all, though we have not ability to describe all. But that the sequence of the narrative may not be interrupted we reserve to the end some that we propose to mention.

1137

31. (19). So then Malachy, when within three years490490This date is vague. But the period of three years must be reckoned from the death of Murtough (September 17, 1134), or from the subsequent ejection of Niall. Since stress is laid on the shortness, rather than the length of the period, we may therefore conclude that peace was established not long before October 1137, or, at any rate, after the beginning of that year. And as St. Bernard believed that the inauguration of Gelasius "immediately" followed the resignation of Malachy, we may gather that both these events took place in 1137. A.F.M. date Malachy's resignation in 1136; but the chronology of St. Bernard is to be preferred. See Additional Note C, pp. 168, 169. a reward was rendered to the proud491491Ps. xciv. 2. and liberty restored to the church, barbarism driven out and the customs of the Christian religion everywhere instituted anew, seeing that all things were at peace, began to think also of his own peace. And mindful of his design 62he appointed in his own place Gelasius,492492Gelasius—in Irish Gilla meic Liag, the servant of the son of the poet—was born about 1087. His father was apparently the poet of a Tyrone sept, named Dermot (O'Hanlon, Saints, iii. 965). About 1121 he was appointed abbot of Derry, and held that office till he became archbishop of Armagh in 1137. He had a long episcopate and seems to have been a vigorous prelate. His age and infirmity (says Giraldus) prevented him from attending the Synod of Cashel in 1172. But he subsequently visited Henry II. in Dublin. Thither he brought the white cow, whose milk was his only food (Giraldus, Expug. i. 35). He died March 27, 1174, in his eighty-seventh year. For a Life of Gelasius, see Colgan, A.S.H. p. 772. a good man, and worthy of so great an honour, the clergy and people tacitly assenting, or rather supporting him because of the agreement.493493See § 21. For apart from that it seemed altogether cruel. And when he had been consecrated and earnestly commended to the kings and princes, Malachy himself, renowned for miracles and triumphs, returned to his parish;494494I.e. diocese. but not to Connor. Hear the cause, which is worth relating. It is said that that diocese in ancient times had two episcopal sees, and that there were two bishoprics; an arrangement which seemed to Malachy preferable to the existing one. Hence those bishoprics which ambition had welded into one,495495The two episcopal sees are evidently Connor and Down. But in early time there were many more sees than two in that district (see Reeves, p. 138), and there is no evidence that any one of them was the seat of a diocesan bishop. But, even if it were so, St. Bernard's statement that the two supposed dioceses were "welded into one" by some ambitious prelate prior to Malachy is unhistorical. A bishop of Connor and a bishop of Down both died in 1117, just seven years before Malachy became bishop of the diocese which included these two places; and there is no trace of a bishop in either of them in the interval. The fact seems to be that the diocese of Connor or Down was constituted for the first time at the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1110. It remained on paper until Malachy was appointed its first bishop. For the probable reason of Malachy's division of the diocese, see p. lvii. f. Malachy divided again into two, yielding one part to another bishop and retaining the other for himself. 63And for this reason he did not come to Connor, because he had already ordained a bishop in it;496496This cannot be the true reason for Malachy's choice of Down rather than Connor. If he had wished to go to Connor on his retirement from Armagh he could have consecrated a bishop for Down. It is more probable that his preference was due to his love for Bangor, where he resided during his first episcopate, and where he probably resided also when he was bishop of Down. But, however that may be, Bangor was necessarily under his jurisdiction as bishop of Down; his connexion with it would have been severed if he had assumed the oversight of the new diocese of Connor. but he betook himself to Down, separating the parishes as in the days of old.497497Isa. li. 9; Amos ix. 11. O pure heart! O dove-like eye!498498Cp. Cant. i. 15; iv. i.; v. 12.—St. Bernard himself is said to have had "dove-like eyes" (V.P. v. 12); and the meaning of the phrase is explained thus: "In his eyes there shone a certain angelic purity and a dove-like simplicity (single-mindedness)" (ibid. iii. 1). He handed over to the new bishop the place which seemed better organized, which was held to be more important, the place in which he himself had sat. Where are they that fight about boundaries, carrying on perpetual hostilities against one another for a single village? I know not if there is any class of men whom that ancient prophecy touches more than those: They have ripped up the women with child of Gilead that they might enlarge their border.499499Amos i. 13. But this at another place.500500Cp. § 44, p. 83.

32. When Malachy was made bishop of Down, immediately according to his custom he was at pains to take to himself from his sons, for his comfort, a convent of regular clerics.501501It has been commonly assumed that the house of this convent—which obviously consisted of Augustinian canons (the only order of regular clerics recognized at this period by the Roman Church: see Conc. Lat. 1139, can. 9, Mansi xxi. 528)—was in Downpatrick. It has accordingly been identified with a monastery which in the Terrier of 1615 is described as "the monastery of the Irish, hard by the Cathedral," and called "the church of the channons" (Reeves, 43, 231). But it is not stated in the text to have been in Down. It seems more likely to have been the monastery of Bangor, which was destroyed in 1127 (§ 18), and must have been reconstituted about this time. There is no indication in the Life that Malachy resided in Down, while there are several hints that Bangor was his headquarters and that he was abbot of the community there as long as he lived. (See p. 33, n. 1.) In other words Bangor was, in fact if not in name, the see of the diocese of Ulaid, or Down. For this curious anomaly we have a parallel in the diocese of Tír Eoghain, the see of which for a long period was at Maghera, the bishop, the while, being often styled bishop of Derry (Irish Church Quarterly, x. 225 ff.); and for the bishop of a diocese serving as abbot of his cathedral chapter of regular canons we may point to Carlisle (Trans. of Scottish Ecclesiological Society, iii. 267 ff.), Louth (L.A.J. iv. 143 ff.) and Christ Church, Dublin (ibid. 145). That the canons of Bangor were at an early period the bishop's chapter we have independent evidence. For in 1244 the Pope gave judgement in a cause which had been pending for some time between the prior and monks of Down and the abbot and canons of Bangor, each of whom claimed that their church was cathedral (Theiner, p. 42). This claim on behalf of Bangor is easily explained if it was reckoned as the bishop's see in the time of Malachy. And lo, again he girds himself, 64as though a new recruit of Christ, for the spiritual conflict; again he puts on the weapons that are mighty through God,5025022 Cor. x. 4. the humility of holy poverty, the rigour of monastic discipline, the quietness of contemplation, continuance in prayer. But all these things for a long time he was able to maintain rather in will than in deed. For all men came to him; not only obscure persons, but also nobles and magnates, hastened to commit themselves to his wisdom and holiness for instruction and correction. And he himself meanwhile went about; he went out to sow his seed,503503Luke viii. 5. disposing and decreeing with all authority concerning ecclesiastical affairs, like one of the Apostles. And none said unto him, By what authority doest thou these things?504504Matt. xxi. 23; Mark xi. 28. inasmuch as all saw the miracles and wonders which he did,505505Acts viii. 6; John ii. 23. and because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.5065062 Cor. iii. 17.


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