Fillan, Saint

FILLAN, SAINT, or Faelan, the name of the two Scottish saints, of Irish origin, whose lives are of a purely legendary character. The St Fillan whose feast is kept on the 20th of June had churches dedicated to his honour at Ballyheyland, Queen's county, Ireland, and at Loch Earn, Perthshire. The other, who is commemorated on the 9th of January, was specially venerated at Cluain Mavscua, Co. Westmeath, Ireland, and so early as the 8th or 9th century at Strathfillan, Perthshire, Scotland, where there was an ancient monastery dedicated to him, which, like most of the religious houses of early times, was afterwards secularized. The lay-abbot, who was its superior in the reign of William the Lion, held high rank in the Scottish kingdom. This monastery was restored in the reign of Robert Bruce, and became a cell of the abbey of canons regular at Inchaffray. The new foundation received a grant from King Robert, in gratitude for the aid which he was supposed to have obtained from a relic of the saint on the eve of the great victory of Bannockburn. Another relic was the saint's staff or crozier, which became known as the coygerach or quigrich, and was long in the possession of a family of the name of Jore or Dewar, who were its hereditary guardians. They certainly had it in their custody in the year 1428, and their right was formally recognized by King James III. in 1487. The head of the crozier, which is of silver-gilt with a smaller crozier of bronze inclosed within it, is now deposited in the National Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

The legend of the second of these saints is given in the Bollandist Acta SS. (1643), 9th of January, i. 594-595; A.P. Forbes, Kalendars of Scottish Saints (Edinburgh, 1872), pp. 341-346; D. O'Hanlon's Lives of Irish Saints (Dublin), n.d. pp. 134-144. See also Historical Notices of St Fillan's Crozier, by Dr John Stuart (Aberdeen, 1877).

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

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