Palladius, Scotorum Episcopus

Palladius, Scotorum Episcopus a noted Irish prelate of the early Church, flourished probably near the middle of the 5th century. In the Chronicon of Prosper Aquitanus, under the consulship of Bassus and Antiochus (A.D. 431), this passage occurs: "Ad Scotos in Christum credentes ordinatur a papa Ccelestino Palladiuns, et primus episcopus mittitur." In another work of the same writer (Contra Collatorem, c. 21 sec. 2), speaking of Coelestine's exertions to repress the doctrines of Pelagius, he says, "Ordinato Scotis episcopo, dum Romanam insulam studet servare Catholicam, facit etiam barbaram Christianam" (Opera, col. 363, ed. Paris, 1711). To: these meagre notices, the only ones found in contemporary writers (unless, with some, we refer to the conversion of the Scoti the lines of Prosper, De Ingratis, vs. 330-332), the chroniclers and historians of the Middle Ages have added a variety of contradictory particulars, so that it is difficult, indeed impossible, to extract the real facts of Palladius's history. It has been a matter of fierce dispute between the Irish and the Scots as to which of them were the objects of Palladius's mission; but the usage of the word Sccoti" in Prosper's time, and the distinction drawn by him between "insulam Romanam" and "insulam barbaram," seem to determine the question in favor of the Irish. This solution leads, however, to another difficulty. According to Prosper, Palladius converted the Irish — "fecit barbaram (sc. insulam) Christianam," while the united testimony of ecclesiastical antiquity ascribes the conversion of Ireland to Patricius (St. Patrick), who was a little later than Palladius. But possibly the success of Palladius, though far from bearing out the statement of Prosper, may have been greater than subsequent writers, zealous for the honor of St. Patrick, and seeking to exaggerate his success by extenuating that of his predecessors, were willing to allow. There is another difficulty, arising from an apparent contradiction, between the two passages in Prosper, one of which ascribes to Palladius the conversion of the island, while the other describes him as being sent "ad Scotos in Christo credentes;" but this seeming contradiction may be reconciled by the supposition that Palladius had visited the island and made some converts, before being consecrated and again sent. out as their bishop. This supposition accounts for a circumstance recorded by Prosper, that ( Dionysio Coss., i.e. in A.D. 429) Palladius, while yet only a deacon, prevailed on pope Coelestine to send out Germanus of Auxerre to stop the progress of Pelagianism in Britain, which indicates on the part of Palladius a knowledge of the state of the British islands, and an interest in them, such as a previous visit would be likely to impart. The various statements of the mediaeval writers have been collected by Usher in his Britanznicar. Ecclesiar. Antiq. c. 16 p. 799 sq. See also Sallerius, De St. Palladio, in the Acta Sanctor. Jul. 2, 286 sq. Palladius is commemorated as a saint by the Irish Romanists on Jan. 27, by those of Scotland on July 6. His shrine, or reputed shrine, at Fordun, in the Mearns, in Scotland, was regarded before the Reformation with the greatest reverence, and various localities in the neighborhood are still pointed out as connected with his history. Jocelin of Furness, a monkish writer of the 12th century, states in his life of St. Patrick (Acta Sanctor. Martii, 2, 545; Julii, 2, 289), that Palladius, disheartened by his little success in Ireland, crossed over into Great Britain, and died in the territory of the Picts — a statement which supported as it is by the local traditions of Fordun, may be received as containing a portion of truth. The mediaeval writers have in some instances strangely confounded Palladius, the apostle of the Scoti, with Palladias of Helenopolis; and Trithemius (De Scriptor. Eccles. c. 133), and even Baronius (Annal. Eccles. ad ann. 429, sec. 8), who is followed by Posseina, make the former to be the author of the Dialogus de Vita Chrysostomi. Baronius also ascribes to him (ibid.) Liber contra Pelagianos, Homiliarum Liber unus, and Ad Ccelestinum Epistolarun Liber unus, with other works written in Greek. For these statements he cites the authority of Trithemius, who, however, mentions only the Dialogue. It is probable that the statement rests on the very untrustworthy authority of Bale. See Bale, Script. Illustr. Maj. Britanun. cent, 14 sec. 6 Usher, l.c.; Sallerius, l.c.; Soames, Hist, of the Anglo-Saxon Church; Hetherington, Hist. of the Church of Scotland; Tillemont, Memoires,14. 154 sq., 737; Fabricius, Bibl. Med. et lnf. Lat. v 191 sq.

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