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Fiacre, Saint

FIACRE, SAINT (Celt. Fiachra), an anchorite of the 7th century, of noble Irish descent. We have no information concerning his life in his native country. His Acta, which have scarcely any historical value, relate that he left Ireland, and came to France with his companions. He approached St Faro, the bishop of Meaux, to whom he made known his desire to live a life of solitude in the forest. St Faro assigned him a spot called Prodilus (Brodolium), the modern Breuil, in the province of Brie. There St Fiacre built a monastery in honour of the Holy Virgin, and to it added a small house for guests, to which he himself withdrew. Here he received St Chillen (? Killian), who was returning from a pilgrimage to Rome, and here he remained until his death, having acquired a great reputation for miracles. His remains rested for a long time in the place which he had sanctified. In 1568, at the time of the religious troubles, they were transferred to the cathedral of Meaux, where his shrine may still be seen in the sacristy. Various relics of St Fiacre were given to princes and great personages. His festival is celebrated on the 30th of August. He is the patron of Brie, and gardeners invoke him as their protector. French hackney-coaches received the name of fiacre from the Hôtel St Fiacre, in the rue St Martin, Paris, where one Sauvage, who was the first to provide cabs for hire, kept his vehicles.

See Acta Sanctorum, Augusti vi. 598-620; J. O'Hanlon, Lives of the Irish Saints, viii. 421-447 (Dublin, 1875-1904); J.C. O'Meagher, "Saint Fiacre de la Brie," in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 3rd series, ii. 173-176.

(H. De.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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