Cainnech of Aghaboe


Cainnech of Aghaboe

Saint Cainnech of Aghaboe, (515/516 - 600) was also known as Saint Canice in Ireland, Saint Kenneth in Scotland, Saint Kenny and Saint Canicus.

Cainnech was a gaelic abbot, monastic founder, priest and missionary during the early medieval period. He wrote a commentary on the Gospels, known as "Chain of Cainnech" for centuries. Harvnb|Herbermann|1913.]

Cainnech is one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland [cite web|url=http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01632a.htm|title=The Twelve Apostles of Erin] and preached Christianity across Ireland and to the Picts in Scotland. [cite web|url=http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5907|title=St. Canice (Kenneth) - Catholic Online ] Cainnech was considered a man of virtue, great eloquence and learning.

Introduction

Cainnech was born in 515 or 516, at Glengiven, near Dungiven in Ireland. He died and was reposed at Aghaboe in 599/600. [Harvnb|Ulster.Harvnb|O'Donovan|1842.] His feast day is commemorated on 11 October in the Roman Catholic Church [cite web|url=http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=171|title=Catholic Online] and on the 1 August or 14 August in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

A lot of what we know of Cainnech comes from legend. However, he is documented by Saint Adomnán(also known as Eunan), the ninth the abbot of Iona who died in 704. Adomnán was a hagiographer and his greatest work "Vita Columbae" or "Life of St. Columba" contains references to Cainnech.Harvnb|Adamnan.] [Harvnb|O'Donovan|1842.]

Cainnech's background

His real name was Cainnech moccu Dalánn. [Sharpe, Richard, "Adomnán of Iona: Life of Saint Columba", pp. 262–263. "Moccu" is not a patronymic but rather the name of a kin group, in this case the "Corcu Dalánn", in later sources, when it was no longer current, "moccu" was sometimes mistakenly read as a patronymic such as "mac" or "mac h-ui"; see Charles-Edwards, T. M., "Early Christian Ireland", pp. 96–100.]

Cainnech's father Lughadh Leithdhearg was descended from the CorcoDalann or Ui Dalainn, a tribe whose ancestor, Dalann, is traced back to Fergus (King of Ulster), son of Ross, son of Rudhraighe.cite web|url=http://www.irishmidlandsancestry.com/content/laois/community/parishhistories/aghaboe_parish.htm|title=Parish of Aghaboe, Laois- Ancestral Research, Family History, Laois, Offaly, Genealogy ] The Corco-Dalann were from an island referred to as "Insula Nuligi", and is usually identified with Inis-Doimhle or Inis-Uladh, which is now the Little Island, in the River Suir, south-east of Waterford.

Lughadh was a distinguished bard,a professional highly trained, learned poet. As with many men of the bard class, Lughadh travelled and wandered throughout the country at the time. Lughadh settled at Glengiven, in what is now County Londonderry. Lughadh ended up under the favour and protection of the chief of Cianachta. Lughadh became the tutor of the chieftain's son, Geal Breagach.

Cainnech's mother was called Maul or Mella. She attained an eminent degree of sanctity. The church of Thompleamoul or Capella Sanctae Maulae seu Mellae, beside Kilkenny city, was dedicated to God under her invocation.

Early life

Cainnech spent his early years watching his chieftain's flocks.

In early Christian Ireland the druid tradition collapsed, with the spread of the new faith. Study of Latin learning and Christian theology in monasteries flourished. In 543 sensing a higher calling, cainnech became a pupil at the monastic school at Clonard. During the sixth century, some of the most significant names in the history of Irish Christianity studied at the Clonard monastery. It is said that the average number of scholars under instruction at Clonard was 3,000.Citation
last = Gratton-Flood
first = W.H.
title = The Twelve Apostles of Erin
work = The Catholic Encyclopedia
volume = I
location = New York
publisher = Robert Appleton Company
date = March 1, 1907
year = 1907
url = http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01632a.htm
accessdate = 2008-02-09
] Twelve students who studied under St. Finian became known as the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, cainnech was one of these. It was at Clonard that Cainnech became a friend and companion of St Colmcille.

In 544 he was studying in the school of Glasnevin, with St. Kieran of Clonmacnoise and St. Comgall of Bangor, under the tuition of St. Mobhi.

When plague scattered that community, he went as a monk the monastery of Llancarfan in Glamorganshire in Wales, under Saint Cadoc. He was ordained a priest there in 545.

He left for Rome to obtain the blessing of the reigning pontiff. In 550 he had returned to Glengiven, where he converted his foster-brother, Geal-Breagach, who afterwards assisted him in founding Drumachose, in nearby Limavady.

Scotland

Cainnech went to Scotland in 565. In Scotland Cainnech was known as St. Kenneth, and was closely associated with St. Columba's missionary work.

Adamnan tells of the arrival of Cainnech, on Iona. St. Columba had a prophecy of a "certain holy and excellent man, who will arrive here among us before evening." God had provided Cainnech with a safe and calm crossing, even though the sea was perilous and stormy that day. St. Columba received him that evening with all honour and hospitality.

Cainnech built a church in the place now known as Saint Andrews. [cite web|url=http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintc2w.htm|title=saintc2w.htm ] Cainnech name is recalled in the ruins of an ancient church, Kil-Chainnech on Tiree Island, and in a burial ground, Kil-Chainnech, in Iona.

Cainnech built monastic cells on the island of Ibdon and Eninis, an oratory called Lagan-Kenny on the shores of Loch Laggan (the remains of which are marked on the OS map), and a monastery in Fife on the banks of the Eden.

Ireland

Cainnech spent a good deal of his time in County Meath and Ossary in what is now County Laois. In Ossary he had a good repute with the king, Colmann son of Feradach. Colman gave him grants of land including Aghaboe("the field of the Ox") which became his principle monastery. [Harvnb|Baring-Gould|60.] He founded a monastery and Abbey of Aghaboe. Aghaboe grew in importance, and in the 7th century it sent St Feargal as a missionary to the church of Salzburg. Aghaboe become for a time the site of the bishop's see until under Norman influence in the twelfth century the see transferred from Aghaboe to Kilkenny.cite web|url=http://www.catholicireland.net/pages/index.php?nd=381&art=997|title=CatholicIreland.net ] In 1346 Diarmaid Mac Giollaphádraig burned the town of Aghaboe and the cemetery and church, and completely destroyed Cainnech's shrine along with Cainnech's bones and relics.

Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh "The Church of Cainnech") was originally the name of a church erected by or dedicated to Cainnech, but was afterwards extended to the townland and parish. [Harvnb|ODonovan|1839.] Kilkenny was one of the last parts of Ireland to be converted to Christianity. Tradition asserts that in 597, Cainnech led a Christian force to Kilkenny to eliminate the last bastion of Druidic rule in Ireland. The last Archdruid of Ireland had retired with his Council to a mound in Kilkenny for safety. Cainnech led an army there and overcame them. He founded a monastery near what is now the Church of Ireland's St. Canice's Cathedral. St Cainnech of Aghaboe is the secondary patron of Kilkenny.

Chain of Cainnech

In his old age Cainnech retired to an island in Loch Cree, since drained, and wrote a commentary on all four Gospels. This became known as Glass Kinnich (Glas-Chainnigh) or Chain of Cainnech, [Harvnb|Baring-Gould|2005|p=60. [http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintc2w.htm] .] This was long preserved in his church and became a continuous commentary in the Middle Ages). [Harvnb|Walsh|1854|p=496]

Places bearing his name

* An ancient church, Kil-Chainnech on Tiree Island, Scotland.
* A burial ground, Kil-Chainnech, in Iona, Scotland
* An oratory called Lagan-Kenny on the shores of Lough Lagan, Scotland.
* Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh "The Church of Cainnech"), Ireland.
* Kilchenzie in Cantyre.
* The remains of St Kenneth's Church (shown on OS maps) near Loch Laggan, in Scotland

Troparion of St Cainnech (tone 8)

This is a Troparion of St Cainnech.
In honour thou dost rank with Ireland's Enlightener,
O Lover of the Desert, Composer of sacred verse,
Father of Monks and Founder of Monasteries, O Father Cainnech.
Labouring for Christ, both in thy native land and in Scotland,
thou art a tireless intercessor for the faithful.
Pray for us who hymn thee, that despite our frailty we may be granted great mercy.

Notes

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External links

*A hymn to Columcille attributed to Cainnech, [http://www.ucd.ie/tlh/text/km.acl.3.005.text.html original Irish text] from Rawlinson B 505 at [http://www.ucd.ie/tlh Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae]
*A poem in praise of Cainnech attributed to Columcille, [http://www.ucd.ie/tlh/text/km.acl.3.006.text.html original Irish text] from Royal Irish Academy MS 23 N 10 at [http://www.ucd.ie/tlh Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae]
* [http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintc2w.htm Catholic Forum]

Persondata
NAME=Cainnech of Aghaboe
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=St. Canice, St. Caimnech, St. Cainnech, St. Cainnic, St. Canicus, St. Chainnigh, St. Kenneth, St. Kenny
SHORT DESCRIPTION=A Saint, priest and abbot who preached across Ireland and Scotland.
DATE OF BIRTH=515 or 516
PLACE OF BIRTH=Glengiven,County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
DATE OF DEATH=600
PLACE OF DEATH=Aghaboe, Ireland


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