Posted by: anna | April 27, 2010

St Tassach, Bishop of Raholp

Today (14 April) we commemorate St. Tassach (Tassagus, Tassa), 1st bishop of Raholp and disciple of St. Patrick (ca. 497). From O’Hanlon:

‘From his peculiar connexion with the great Irish apostle, St. Patrick, the present holy personage deservedly fills a niche among our earliest Christian celebrities… It may be reasonably conjectured, that St. Tassach was born some time in the earlier part of the fifth century ; but where or when, we are not able to ascertain. His parents were pagans, we may presume, and it seems not unlikely they were connected with the northern parts of Ulster, which are associated, likewise, with the ministry of this holy bishop. Being classed as a disciple of St. Patrick, St. Tassach was baptized, most probably, among the earliest converts made when that part ofUltonia where the Irish Apostle first landed had been visited. Either he was brought up to some skilled workmanship in metals, or he had a natural taste for mechanics and art in such a direction. But we are at a loss to discover when the Irish Apostle formed the acquaintance of Tassach and learned to appreciate his sincere piety and artistic ingenuity.

… long description of wonderworking wells at Struell…

It seems probable, that St. Tassach had been prepared for the priesthood by St. Patrick himself; but, by whom he was ordained, we do not discover. Again, Tassach had the gift of prophecy, for the Apostle of Ireland, he had predicted, should receive the Holy Viaticum at his hands. We are informed that St. Tassach was appointed as bishop over the Church at Raholp ; but our early annals do not record any successors in this See… Tradition ascribes the foundation of the Church of St. Patrick, to whom the present saint was artificer, and bishop, as stated in an old gloss, to the Martyrology of St. OEngus. Here, St. Tassach most probably lived, and in close relationship, with his venerated Master, especially during the declining period of St. Patrick’s life… We are furnished with very few details which might enable us to form a proper estimate of St. Tassach’s missionary career. He was one of Patrick’s most favourite companions, and an artificer, who manufactured for him croziers, crosses, shrines, and bells, according to received accounts. Even by St. Fiach we are told that Tassach was a worker in metals for St. Patrick ; and, it is stated, that he first covered the staff of Jesus, with elegant workmanship, in his art. One of the most remarkable events of his life is the recorded fact, that he was the Tassach, who gave the body of Christ to St Patrick, and at the request of the Apostle, in the monastery of Sabhall, or Saul, as the Life of Patrick states. Besides, various Acts of our Apostle allude to him as having administered the Holy Communion to St. Patrick when he had been admonished by the Angel of his approaching end, and during the holy man’s last illness. At Kill-Chlopta, near Down, his Natalis was celebrated. But we have no account of when he died, only that we may safely infer St. Tassach survived his illustrious master in the government of his particular See.

Troparion Tone 5
O holy Hierarch Tassach,/ thou wast one of the first to follow Saint Patrick/ and didst administer the Holy Mysteries to him at the last./ Like Moses’ disciples adorning the tabernacle/ thou wast a skilled
artist and craftsman,/ and art now thyself an adornment of Christ’s Church.

Holy St Tassach, pray to God for us.
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