samedi 1 avril 2017

Saint CELLACH (CELSE) d'ARMAGH, évêque et fondateur

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Saint Celse

Évêque d’Armagh, Irlande ( 1129)

Celsus ou Cellach.

Il enseigna à Oxford jusqu'en 1106 quand il fut nommé évêque d’Armagh, dans le Munster en Irlande, à l'âge de vingt-six ans. Il fit grandement progresser la restauration de l’Église dans ce pays, il mourut en 1129 à Ardpatrick. Saint Malachie d'Armagh lui succéda.

À Ardpatrick, dans le Munster en Irlande, l’an 1129, le trépas de saint Celse, évêque d’Armagh, qui fit grandement progresser la restauration de l’Église dans ce pays.

Martyrologe romain

Cellach of Armagh B (AC)
(also known as Ceilach, Keilach)

9th century. It seems that Saint Cellach may have been the abbot of Iona. He also seems to have founded of the abbey of Kells before his consecration as archbishop of Armagh, Ireland (Benedictines).

Saint Cellach of Armagh

Also known as
  • Ceilach
  • Celestinus
  • Celsus
  • Keilach
  • Kelly

Son of Áed mac Máele Ísu meic Amalgada of the Clann Sínnaig. Monk. Abbot of Armagh, Ireland in August 1105. Priest. Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland. Founded the monastery of Kells.


Saint Cellach

·         Century: 11th & 12th Century

·         Patronage: Reformers, Ireland

·         Feast Day: April 1st

St. Cellach was the son of Aed, who had been Abbott of Armagh and the successor of St. Patrick.  At that time, the church had monopolized the office of Abbot of Armagh since 966.  This had been the case, and with this type of secularism to such an extent, that it made church reform necessary.  Even St. Bernard of Clairvaux commented that it was beyond repair.  The problem was that it had become a hereditarily enriched laicized ecclesiastical dynasty, handing it down from one family member to the other.
St. Cellach became the Archbishop of Armagh, and was an important contributor to the reform of the Irish Church in the twelfth century.  Although he was a laicized member of the ecclesiastical dynasty, he took holy vows and gained Priestly ordination.  This put an end to the anomalous state of affairs, in effect since 966 where the supreme head of the Irish Church had been a layman.  Due to this, in the Synod of Raith Bressail in 1111, a Diocesan structure for Ireland was established.  He became the first Metropolitan Primate of all of Ireland.     
St. Cellach attended that Synod, and played an important role.  This synod was presided by Gilla Espaic, as the Papal Legate and was attended by fifty Bishops, three hundred Priests, and over three thousand laymen.  It marked the beginning of the transition of the Irish Church from a Monastic Church, to a Diocesan and Parish based Church.  It established two metropolitan Provinces, with Archbishoprics at Armagh and Cashel.  Prominence was given to Armagh, making St. Cellach the Primate of the Church of Ireland.  Each Province consisted of twelve territorial Dioceses.  The See of Dublin was not included, as Dublin had been under the primacy from Canterbury.  In 1129 on a visit to Munster, St. Cellach died and was buried in Lismore.   
Practical Take Away 
St. Cellach was the Archbishop of Armagh.  He was noted for his major role in the reform in the Church in Ireland.  He attended a Synod in 1111, with a Papal Legate, Fifty-Bishops, over 300 Priests, and thousands of laymen.  The synod was convened to put an end to the way the Church of Ireland was being managed.  It was operated as a Monastic Church, and this synod established Ireland as being operated with Dioceses and a Parish based Church.  There were two Archbishoprics, one at Armagh and the other at Cashel.  St. Cellach is responsible and venerated as the Saint that brought the Church in Ireland into a Diocesan, Parish Based Church, from a Monastic run Church.  

Apr 1 – St Ceallach (Celsus) 1080-1129

01 April, 2012

Ceallach deserves to be better known and acknowledged.

Ceallach, also called Celsus (11-12th century), was responsible for the change from lay control of the Church in Armagh to a clerical-episcopal model. Himself a hereditary lay administrator (coarb), he decided to seek priestly ordination and be celibate so that the reform introduced by Pope St Gregory VIII on the continent could take effect also in Ireland. Patrick Duffy tells St Ceallach’s story.

A hereditary lay abbacy controlling the Church in Armagh

Ceallach (Celsus) was born in 1080. He belonged to a powerful local family, the Clann Sínaigh, which controlled what was then the hereditary lay abbacy of Armagh. In this system the lay coarb (that is, “successor” of some saint, in this case of St Patrick), was also erenagh (or, administrator), in this case of Armagh. That was the ecclesiastical structure in Ireland at that time. Bishops and priests seem to have had little influence and were probably under the control of these lay abbots. In 1091 Ceallach inherited the title of coarb and was then the effective erenagh of Armagh.

Lay control in Europe being overturned

Lay control of bishoprics had also been operative in Europe, but with the reform of Pope Gregory VII (1073-85) it was gradually replaced by a diocesan structure with bishops. This reform spread to England, especially when strong Norman archbishops like Lanfranc and St Anselm came to the see of Canterbury. In response to requests from the Norse community in Dublin, Lanfranc had consecrated Donngus and Anselm had consecrated Samuel Ó h-Ainglí as bishops for Dublin and Anselm had consecrated Malchus as the first bishop of Waterford in 1096.

Reform beginning in Munster

Both Lanfranc and Anselm had written to the O’Brien kings of Munster, Turlough and Muircheartach, urging a change to the lay dominance of the coarb and erenagh system. The First Synod of Cashel (1101) presided over by King Muircheartach Ó Briain introduced this reform to Ireland. From the clergy side the reform was led by Maol Muire Ó Dunáin, bishop of Meath, who probably visited Rome and was appointed papal legate to Ireland by Pope Paschal II (1099-1117). This synod enacted decrees against lay investiture and against simony: it also laid down that no layman could be an erenagh and that no erenagh could have a wife.

Ceallach’s decision

In line with this reform Ceallach of Armagh, a man of learning and piety, not yet married, made the courageous decision to become a priest. In 1106 Maol Muire Ó Dunáin ordained him bishop, probably somewhere in Munster. At the Synod of Rathbreasail (probably in the parish of Drom & Inch – north Tipperary) in 1111, at which Ceallach was present, the reforms of Cashel were made nationwide and the whole country was divided into formal dioceses with Cashel and Armagh as the two archbishoprics.

Archbishop of Armagh

In the face of stern opposition, probably most of all from within his own family, Ceallach administered Armagh, whose diocesan boundaries were laid down at this time. As a metropolitan province, Armagh was given twelve suffragan dioceses. Dublin at this stage had a strong Norse population and was more linked with Canterbury. But in 1121, after Bishop Samuel Ó h-Ainglí died, Ceallach went to Dublin as the new bishop Gréne, or Gregory, was being installed.

Ceallach appoints Malachy as vicar.

In his absence Ceallach appointed the young monk Malachy, who later succeeded him, to act as his vicar in Armagh. Possibly his lengthy absence in Dublin was connected to a dispute there between the Norse and Irish  factions or to his desire to assert Irish influence in that city. Ceallach, when he returned to Armagh in 1122, saw that Malachy had sterling qualities suitable in a bishop. He sent him first to Lismore where he could have contact with Benedictine influences from England and the continent. Ceallach continued to administer Armagh. When Malachy returned, Ceallach gave him the task of restoring Bangor as a monastic community and in 1124 he consecrated him as bishop of Connor.

His death and influence

Knowing that his own family would try to regain control of Armagh when he died, Ceallach named Malachy as his successor as bishop there, sending him his crozier (bacall) in token. In 1129 while visiting Munster, Ceallach died at Ardpatrick and was buried in Lismore at his own request. Malachy did indeed have difficulties establishing control as bishop. But he was able to have Giolla Mac Liag, abbot of Derry, installed and accepted as effective bishop and administrator of Armagh, while he himself returned to the monastery of Bangor. Malachy then consecrated a bishop for Connor diocese, keeping Down for himself.

Ceallach effected a crucial change

Ceallach’s personal decision to become a priest and a bishop effected a crucial change in the organisation and reform of the Church in Ireland in the 12th century. He deserves to be better known and acknowledged. © 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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San Celso (Cellach) di Armagh Vescovo

1080 c. - Ard Patrick, Munster, 1 aprile 1129

Etimologia: Celso = alto, elevato, eccelso, dal latino

Emblema: Bastone pastorale

Martirologio Romano: In località Ardpatrick nella regione del Munster in Irlanda, san Celso, vescovo di Armagh, che promosse fortemente il rinnovamento della Chiesa.

Cellach, detto alla latina Celso o Celestino, svolse un ruolo importante nella riforma della Chiesa irlandese nel sec. XII. Non ci resta di lui alcuna Vita, né latina, né gaelica, e le notizie sulla sua figura si ricavano dagli annali irlandesi e dalla Vita di s. Malachia Ua Mogair scritta da s. Bernardo di Chiaravalle. Figlio di Aedh, della famiglia degli Ui Sinaigh, Celso nacque verso il 1080, e nel 1105, come già era avvenuto per suo nonno, pur essendo semplice laico, fu eletto arcivescovo di Armagh. Da otto generazioni, infatti, la sede primaziale era divenuta possesso ereditario delle famiglie principesche della zona, i cui capi, pur sposati e senza ordini, la usurpavano, traendone i vantaggi temporali e incaricando loro delegati per le funzioni ecclesiastiche. S. Bernardo, che condanna aspramente il comportamento di quelle famiglie in cui "etsi interdum defecissent clerici de sanguine illo, sed episcopi nunquam", descrive lo stato di abbandono e di trascuratezza nel quale si trovava allora l'Irlanda, un tempo tanto fiorente, e dove, allora, doveva constatarsi un "aganismus quidem inductus sub nomine christiano".

Celso, però, che s. Bernardo definisce vir bonus et timoratus, ricevuti gli ordini, si fece consacrare vescovo e fin dai primi tempi del suo governo si dedicò, con uno zelo tutto particolare, al ristabilimento della disciplina ecclesiastica in tutta l'isola, e alla riaffermazione dei diritti primaziali della sua sede. A questo fine visitò le varie contee dell'isola: I'Ulster e il Munster nel 1106, il Connaught e il Meath rispettivamente nel 1108 e nel 1110. Nel 1111 convocò un grande concilio generale a Fiadh-Mic-Aengus, al quale assistettero una cinquantina di vescovi, trecento sacerdoti, tremila ecclesiastici, Murrough O'Brian, re dell'Irlanda meridionale, con i suoi nobili, e Gilberto di Limerick, legato papale. In questo concilio furono promulgate sagge disposizioni per la riforma del clero e del popolo e per favorire il rifiorire della disciplina ecclesiastica. S. Malachia Ua Mogair aiutò nella sua opera Celso, da cui era stato elevato agli ordini, consacrato vescovo di Connor e scelto come vicario generale.

Celso, che si impegnò anche negli affari temporali, svolse efficace opera di mediazione tra vari principi in lotta, e dovette subire anche angherie da parte delle famiglie degli O'Rourke e degli O'Brien. Secondo gli Annala rioghachta Eireann, egli restaurò a sue spese la cattedrale di Armagh, che da oltre un secolo era in rovina, e molte altre chiese. Fondò varie scuole e introdusse nel restaurato priorato dei SS. Pietro e Paolo i Canonici Regolari di S. Agostino, che ebbero colà la loro prima fondazione in Irlanda. Nel 1121, alla morte di Samuel O' Haingley, vescovo di Dublino, Celso fu per qualche tempo amministratore di quella diocesi. Morì ad Ard Patrick (Munster) il 1° aprile 1129 e per sua volontà fu sepolto a Lismore il 4 dello stesso mese. Prima di morire, per rompere la serie delle usurpazioni, aveva stabilito che in luogo del fratello, gli succedesse nella sede arcivescovile il vicario s. Malachia.

Celso è ricordato al 1° aprile nel Félire di Máel Muire la Gormain, scritto alcuni decenni dopo la sua morte, e alla stessa data è menzionato in una nota di un ms. del sec. XV del Félire di Oengus. Il Baronio introdusse nel Martirologio Romano al 6 aprile I'elogio di Celso, mutuandolo dal Molano. In Irlanda la festa si celebra il 7 aprile e dal 1905 sono state introdotte le lezioni storiche dell'Ufficio del santo.

Autore: Gian Michele Fusconi