Leighlin, Synod of

Leighlin, Synod of was held in Campo-Lene, Ireland, near Old Leighlin, A.D. 633, with the purpose of settling the time as to the observance of Easter. A few years before (630), Honorius I had addressed an expostulatory letter to the Irish clergy on the paschal question; and it is worthy of remark that this was the first notice taken by the bishops of Rome in regard to the Church founded by St. Patrick, and was about 200 years after its commencement. At this period the Irish were divided on the time of keeping Easter, some advocating the Roman practice, others the Irish way of observing the 14th day of the first vernal month (if a Sunday), instead of adopting its celebration on the Sunday following the 14th, and the matter even resulted in a controversy. Laurentius of Canterbury relates that Dengan, an Irish bishop, when in North Britain, declared that he would neither eat, drink, or sleep under the same roof with those who held to the Roman practice. Cummian, who for twelve years had been an abbot of Iona, was greatly troubled about it. and in its investigation he said, "I turned over the holy Scriptures, studied history and all the cycles I could find. I inquired diligently what were the sentiments of the Hebrews, Grecians, Latins, and the Egyptians concerning this solemnity." A deputation was sent from this synod, of which most probably Cummian was one, to ascertain from personal inspection whether, as they had heard in Ireland, other nations kept Easter at the same time that the Romans did. The object of this deputation has been greatly perverted in the interest of Romanism. It was not to get a decision from the pope, for this they had had for years, and had not obeyed it; but it was, as before stated, simply to determine for themselves. They remained at Rome or in the East about two years. On their return they reported that all they had heard in Ireland they had seen in Rome — even more (valde certiora) than they had heard. But even this report was not decisive, for the Venerable Bede says, "Though the south of Ireland partially conformed, the northern prove inces and all Iona adhered to their former practice." This and other questions of nonconformity were for a long time pressed and resisted. In A.D. 664, when Theodore, the Italian archbishop of Canterbury, by order of the pope, came to establish the entire regime of Roman Catholicism in North Britain, the paschal and many other questions were again so fiercely urged that Colman and most of the former clergy left and returned to Ireland. Again, in 1070, when Malcolm Canmore brought Margaret, his Saxon wife, to Scotland, she was shocked to find the faith and public worship of her new subjects so different from the Catholic Church of England. After laboring long to induce her husband to adopt the rites and order of the Saxon Catholics, she had a three days' discussion with the existing clergy and the Culdees of Iona, she speaking in Saxon and her husband interpreting in Irish. See Todd, Irish Church, chap. 6; Usher, Brit. Eccles. Antiq. cap. 17 (Works, 6:492-510).

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