Posted by: anna | August 26, 2009

St. Molaise of Devenish

image from Aidan Hart Icons

St. Molaise of Devenish (563) – 12 August

Wikipedia explains his several names – a bit like the Kentigern/Mungo situation: Saint Laisrén mac Nad Froích (d. 564), or Laisrén (‘flame’) of Devenish, also known by his petname Mo Laisse (diminutive of Laisrén)/ Lasranus/ Laserian. Not to be confused (I think – I am confused) with Molaise of Holy Island, who lived as a hermit there for some years before coming back to the world as an abbot in Ireland (another theme that keeps repeating). This article is also full of good printed sources for further reading, including translations of the Latin and Irish Lives.

Here is what the handy O’Hanlon has to say. In fact not so much a life as a collection of facts, or possibly factoids, archaeological and palaeographical, which being disparate and fragmentary, don’t make much of a narrative life at all. There are lots of miracle stories, but the main thing he is remembered for is the foundation of an abbey on Devenish (Ox Island).

Lots of images today! It’s been a while since I found an online image of an icon for the saint of the day. I am very thankful for the British (and American, and perhaps other?) iconographers who write these icons and then publish the images to help the rest of us. (Well ok, and to help them sell icons, fair enough.)

‘ The Soiscel Molaise [pronounced Sush-scale Mo-lee-sheh](Gospels of Molaise) is preserved in the National Museum in Dublin and was most probably made in the early eleventh century.’ from here Whoever came up with Irish spelling?? 19th century antiquarians… at least it’s phonetic, once you ignore the silent bs, apparent dipthongs that aren’t, etc. Anyway, this is a book shrine – the decoration reminds me of famous Celtic manuscripts, also monastic products, such as the Book of Kells, St Cuthbert’s (Stonyhurst) Gospels or the Lindisfarne Gospels. Sadly, the Gospel book for which this would have formed a case is long lost.

Another couple of very good sources: I’ve just discovered that Lives of the Irish Saints (O’Hanlon) and Lives of the British Saints (Baring-Gould and Fisher) are both in the public domain and available via! Again, hurra for the Internet Archive.

Holy Father Laisrén, Mo Laisse, pray to God for us.


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