Oengus the Culdee

(d. c. 824)

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(d. c.824),

author of the earliest Irish martyrology, called the Felire. Born of a kingly Ulster family and educated at the monastery of Clonenagh (Co. Laois), he lived as a hermit at Disertbeagh and later at Dysert Enos, where he practised the usual Irish austerities of frequent genuflections, daily recitation of the psalter (a third of it while immersed in cold water), and fasting. Later he joined the monastery of Tallacht (near Dublin), where he concealed both his identity and his scholarship and was allocated menial work. His identity was discovered through his coaching an unsuccessful student and the abbot, Maelruain, recognized and venerated him. Here Oengus completed his martyrology and helped Maelruain compile the Tallacht Martyrology also. He is reputed to have been chosen as abbot and bishop before he died. Feast: 11 March, but he is not venerated in Ireland at the present time.

W. Stokes, Felire Oengusso Celi De: the Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee (H.B.S., 1905); AA.SS. Mar. II (1668), 85–8; J. O'Hanlon, ‘The Life and Works of St Aengusius Hagiographus, or St Angus the Culdee’, I.E.R., v (1869), 1–29, 73–81, 97–108: P. Grosjean, ‘Le Martyrologe de Tallacht’, Anal. Boll., li (1993), 117–30.

Subjects: Christianity.

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