Fintán of Taghmon

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Not to be confused with Saint Fintan of Clonenagh
Saint Fintán
Born Ireland
Died 635

Eastern Orthodox: October 21st (Julian Calendar) (Corresponds to Nov 3rd Gregorian Calendar)

Roman Catholic/Church of Ireland: February 5[1] and/or October 21.[2]
Attributes several tales of miracles and is recorded to have been visited by an angel.[3]
Influences Abbot Sinell at Cluain-inis

Saint Fintán, or Munnu (died 635) is one of the Orthodox Saints of Ireland and Britain venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church who served in Ireland and Scotland being the founder and abbot of the abbey at Teach-Mhunn - The House of Saint Munn - where his bed may be visited as a pilgrimage; today Taghmon is in the County Wexford, in the province of Leinster Ireland.[4] In Scotland, he is venerated as the patron saint of Clan Campbell.[5]

Alternate names[edit]

He was known in Ireland as St Fintán or St Munnu. In Scotland, he was recorded as St Mun, St Munn, St Munda, St Mundas and St Mund.[2]


Early life[edit]

Fintán was born of the dynasty of Niall son of Tulchan (or Tulcan)[3] and Feidelmia.[4] He may have first studied at the school of Bangor Abbey under St. Comgall, and later in the school of Kilmore Deathrib. It is more certain that he studied 18 years under the abbot Sinell, son of Maynacur, at Cluain-inis in Lough Erne.[4] St. Columba also studied at Cluain-inis under Sinell, but left prior to Munnu's arrival.[6]

Ministry in Scotland[edit]

Iona monastery[edit]

Fintán arrived in Scotland in 579 A.D.[7] He was said to be assisted by two wolves in guarding his sheep.[8]

In 597, Fintán resolved to go to I (now called Iona) to join the monastery there under St. Columba. Just before his departure, news reached him that St. Columba had died and that St. Baithen had succeeded him. Undeterred, Fintán made the journey and applied to St. Baithen for reception into the community. Munnu responded "humbly" as St. Baithen made the customary inquiries into his background.[3][4][9] However, when Munnu requested to be admitted as a monk, Baithen replied:

" I thank my God, that you are come to this place; but this you must know: that you cannot be a monk of ours." Fintan much afflicted at these words said; "Is it that I am unworthy of being one?" "No" answered Baithen, "but, although I should be very glad to keep you with me, I must obey the orders of my predecessor Columba, who some time ago said to me in the spirit of prophecy; Baithen remember these words of mine; immediately after my departure from this life, a brother, who is now regulating his youthful age by good conduct, and well versed in sacred studies, named Fintan, of the race of MocuMoie, (74) and son of Failchan, will come to you from Ireland (Scotia) and will supplicate to be reckoned among the monks. But it is predetermined by God, that he is to be an abbot presiding over monks, and a guide of souls. Do not therefore let him remain in these islands of ours, but direct him to return in peace to Ireland (Scotia), - that he may there establish a monastery in a part of Leinster not far from the sea, and labour for the good of souls."[4]

Kilmun monastery[edit]

Mun lived on the Island on Loch Leven, before making his way to Kilmun, where he founded a monastic community[2][10] at the site of the modern Kilmun Church.

Ministry in Ireland[edit]

Wexford monastery[edit]

Fintán returned to Ireland shortly thereafter to found his monastery. A local lord in what is modern day Wexford in Leinster, named Dímma mac Áeda Croin, granted Fintán land circa 597. Munnu, in turn, granted, Dímma his personal guarantee that Dímma would gain the kingdom of heaven. Fintán at some point took Dímma's son into fosterage, and Dímma later became a cleric and was buried among the monks at the monastery.[11] The monastery was named Teach-munnu or "House of Munnu" and became a center of learning. Fintán was versed in scientific knowledge and gave frequent public lectures where Christian revelation was illuminated by the sciences and mathematics.[12] Munnu presided over 152 monks at Teach-munnu.[3] Munnu probably founded a religious establishment at "Kilmund" (Kilmun).[13] and may have done so at Eilean Munde as well.[3] However, it is improbable that he is founder of Clonenagh, Fintan of Clonenagh, though they are often confused.[4] He did have an abbey in Heli (or Hele, perhaps in County Westmeath), which he and his monks forsook, giving it to Saint Cera and her companions. Saint Cera named the place, according to Fintán's instructions, after St. Telle who had given three jubilations in the plain of Miodhluachra that day.[3][14][15] There are several references to Munnu being a leper.[3]

Later life[edit]

Toward the end of his life he opposed the adoption of the Roman method for determining the date of Easter. He strongly promoted the Irish method in opposition to Laserian. A synod convened at Magh Lene in 631 to resolve the matter, but the parties were unable to resolve the matter so a delegation was sent to Rome.[16] Munnu withdrew his opposition, and adopted the Roman system with the rest of southern Ireland.[9]

In his later years, he was a hermit, living on Lough Ree, Ireland.[citation needed]

Death and burial[edit]

He died October 21[citation needed] 635 and was buried in the cemetery at St Munn's Parish Church, Kilmun, Scotland.[1][2]

Veneration as a Saint[edit]

His feast day February 5[1] and/or October 21.[2] Fintán is associated with several tales of miracles and is recorded to have been visited by an angel.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Saint Mun". Catholic Online. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "History of Saint Mun". Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and St Mun. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Baring-Gould, Sabine: The lives of the saints, Vol. 12 page 558. John Hodges, London, 1877.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Lanigan, John: An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, from the First Introduction of Christianity Among the Irish, to the Beginning of the Thirteenth Century, Vol. II., 2nd Edition, pages 404-409. Simpkin and Marshall, London, 1829.
  5. ^ Campbell, Alister (2000). A History of Clan Campbell: From Flodden to the Revolution. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 255–256. ISBN 1-902930-17-7. OCLC 81142779. 
  6. ^ Addison, James Thayer: Medieval Missionary: A Study of the Conversion of Northern Europe AD 500 to 1300 page 5. Kessinger Publishing, LLC, August 14, 2003.
  7. ^ "Munn Family". Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  8. ^ Armstrong, Edward Allworthy (1973). Saint Francis: Nature Mystic: The Derivation and Significance of the Nature ... Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-01966-0. OCLC 679220. 
  9. ^ a b Walsh, Thomas: History Of The Irish Hierarchy, With The Monasteries Of Each County, Biographical Notices Of The Irish Saints, Prelates, And Religious. pages 710-711. D. & J. Sadlier & Co., New York, 1854.
  10. ^ Young men's Catholic assoc (1879). Catholic progress. p. 114. 
  11. ^ Charles-Edwards, T.M.: Early Christian Ireland pages 4,116-118. Cambridge University Press, January 8, 2001.
  12. ^ Brenan, Michael John: Ecclesiastical History of Ireland from the Introduction Of Christianity Into That Country to the Year MDCCCXXIX. Vol. I.’’ Pages 126, 161. John Coyne, Dublin, 1840.
  13. ^ MacGibbon, David and Thomas Ross: The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland pages 390-391. George Waterson & Sons, Edinburgh, 1896.
  14. ^ Lanigan, John: An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, from the First Introduction of Christianity Among the Irish, to the Beginning of the Thirteenth Century, Vol. III., 2nd Edition, pages 129-131. Simpkin and Marshall, London, 1829.
  15. ^ O'Hanlon, John: Lives of the Irish Saints, Volume VI, page 801. James Duffy and Sons, Dublin, 1873.
  16. ^ Mayr-Harting, Henry: The coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England, 3rd Edition pages 109-110. Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991.