St. Colman of Cloyne, Bishop

24 November

Born in Munster, Ireland, 522-530; died c. 600. Son of Lenini, he became the royal bard to the kings at Cashel. His job as the "sun-bright bard" entailed the roles not only of poet and musician, but also of chronicler and genealogist. It is said that he became a Christian after rescuing from a lake the stolen shrine with the relics of Saint Ailbhe (f.d. September 12).

And what does this have to do with his conversion? Saint Brendan of Clonfert (f.d. May 16) came to Cashel to resolve a dispute. While he was there the grave and relics of Saint Ailbhe were discovered. Colman lifted the shrine from the water. Saint Brendan said that hands that had been sanctified by touching such holy remains should not remain the hands of a pagan. So it happened that at age 50 MacLenini was baptized Colman by Saint Brendan.

Thereafter, Brendan placed him under the care of Saint Jarlath (f.d. June 6) at Clonfuis and took him to his own mother, Saint Ita (f.d. January 15), for counselling. Colman embraced the monastic life, was ordained, and preached in Limerick and Cork. In the "Life of Saint Columba of Terryglass," Colman is said to have been Saint Columba's (f.d. June 9) teacher and guardian. Late in life he founded the church of Cloyne in County Cork and became its first bishop. Colman is the patron saint of Cloyne in eastern Cork.

Five of Colman's sisters, the "daughters of Lenin," comprised a small religious community at Killiney Hill, County Dublin, which is named after their church: "Cill Inghean Leinin" or Kilmaclenine, which is now a national monument (Attwater, Benedictines, Carty, D'Arcy, Delaney, Farmer, Montague, Walsh).

Troparion of St Colman of Cloyne
Tone 8
Leaving thy post as bard of Cashel and embracing the monastic life, O Father Colman,
thou didst employ thy God-given poetic talents teaching our holy and saving faith.
Wherefore O Saint, pray to God that He would bestow again the gift of words that the Faith may be taught in these islands for the salvation of many souls.

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