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Maedoc (Aedh, Aidan) of Ferns

(d. 626)


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St David (d. c. 601) patron saint of Wales and founder of St David's.

 

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(d. 626)

bishop. Born in Connacht, educated in Leinster and in St David's school in Pembrokeshire, Maedoc returned to Ireland and founded a monastery on land given by Brandrub, prince of Leinster, at Ferns (Co. Wexford). He also founded monasteries at Drumlane and Rossinver, which disputed Ferns' claim to be his burial-place. The late Lives, written to further the claims of particular monasteries some centuries after his death, contain few historical details. One says that he bequeathed his staff, bell, and reliquary to his three monasteries. All survive; the first in the National Museum (Dublin), the others in the Library of Armagh cathedral. The Lives also attribute him incredible feats of austerity such as fasting on barley bread and water for seven years, as well as reciting daily 500 psalms. Less conventional is the story of how some spurious beggars, who hid their clothes and dressed in rags, asked for his help; knowing what they had done, he gave away their clothes to some more deserving poor, and sent off the impostors with neither clothes nor alms. Feast: 31 January.

V.S.H., ii. 142–63, 295–311;Irish Lives in Bethada Naem nErenn, i (1922), 183–290;The Irish Saints, pp. 214–19.

Subjects: Christianity.


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