Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Bachall Ísu at the Founding of Armagh

Although in recent days we have been looking at the Bachall Ísu in relation to Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, it was once the prized possession of the Chuch of Armagh. The following vignette, taken from the Leabhar Breac Homily on Saint Patrick, depicts the Bachall Ísu as being present when Saint Patrick founded Armagh itself:
On the night thereafter Patrick beheld in a vision Victor, an angel, coming to him with Ireland’s elders along with him, and they marked out the city in his presence, and the place of the temple and of the kitchen and of the guest-house. And he went right -hand- wise round the rampart, and Patrick behind him with his Bachall Ísu— Jesu’s Staff — in his hand, and Ireland’s elders a-chanting around him.

Patrick afterwards built the city in the same wise as it had been shown to him. And the angel said to him: “Abundant will God’s grace be in this place and upon every one who shall do good therein.” The angel said to Patrick, “ God will heal for thee here twelve persons every Saturday and seven every Thursday, so long as the perfect faith of the menfolk abideth.” Overmany to recount and declare are all the wonders and miracles which Patrick wrought round about Armagh.
Whitley Stokes, ed. and trans., The Tripartite Life of Patrick with Other Documents Relating to that Saint, Vol. II (London, 1887), 474-475.

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