Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Advent Hymn and a little about St Marianus Scotus, the Chronicler

The hymn is a translation of Veni Redemptor Gentium, which Pope Paul's Liturgia Horarum, prescribes as the proper hymn for the Officium Lectionum of the last nine days of Advent.

Not only is it Thursday in the 4th week of Advent, but it's the feast day of the 11th century Irish saint, Marianus Scotus, the Chronicler. Marianus took that name in Germany. His name in Irish was Maelbrigte, meaning the One devoted to St Brigid. The good old Catholic Encyclopædia gives his intellectual history here. His title "The Chronicler" comes from his principal remaining work, which is a history of the world, year-by-year, from creation down to the present. The present, in this instance, being anno domini 1082. Mrs D'Arcy's The Saints of Ireland spends more time on his religious history, which like so many of the Irish saints of the time involved wandering far from home and extraordinary penances. St Marianus's journey included entering the monastery at Fulda in Germany and being ordained at Würzburg near the tomb of that other great Irish missionary to Germany, St Killian.

"Marianus's habitation at Fulda", says Mrs D'Arcy, "was a little cell, twelve by twelve, his schedule a life of prayer, penance, study and writing, walled off from the world but with access to his books. Every day for ten years he offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass over the tomb of his countryman, Anmchadh from Iniscaltra."

When his abbot, Sigfried, was made Archbishop of Mainz, he took Marianus with him and it was in Mainz that his Chronicle was written. St Marianus died in 1082.