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Fillan


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(early 8th century),

abbot. Of Irish extraction, he was the nephew of Comgan. He became a monk perhaps in Taghmon (Wexford) and a solitary at Pittenweem (Fife), and was chosen as abbot of the neighbouring monastery. But he resigned after some years and retired to Glendochart (Perthshire), where place-names and dedications recall his memory. Further north, in Ross-shire, there are dedications to Fillan and his uncle Comgan close by (Kilkoan and Killellan). He was buried at Strathfillan. He was recorded in the earliest Irish and Scottish martyrologies. His cult was sufficiently important for Robert the Bruce to take his arm relic to the battle of Bannockburn and to attribute his victory to the saint's intercession. The bell and staff of St Fillan still survive. In the pool of Strathfillan the mentally ill used to be dipped and then left all night, tied up, in a corner of Fillan's ruined chapel. If they were found loose, they were considered cured. This practice continued until the early 19th century. Feast: 26 August.

K.S.S., pp. 341–6; B.L.S., viii. 258–60.

Subjects: Christianity.


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