|from Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum.|
Monday, June 22, 2015
News Flash! Two Easters Celebrated at Kildare, Says Bethu Brigte!
I noticed in rerereading Bethu Brigte the other day (The Irish Life of Saint Brigit--so called because it was written in Irish, not Latin) that Bishop Mel, and therefore his flock, was celebrating both Easters.
"24 - On the following day, Monday, Mel came to Brigit to preach and say Mass for her between the two Easters."
Bethu Brigte was written down in the Book of Leinster c.800–850 CE--nearly two hundred years after the Synod of Whitby. It was at Whitby that King Oswiu ruled Northumbria would go with the Romans on the date of Easter and on monastic tonsures, rather than the Irish monastic practices followed at Iona, etc. (Synod of Whitby, 664 CE).
According to Wikipedia The Infallible (and allegedly to Haddan and Stubbs), South Ireland adopted the Roman dates circa 626-8 and North Ireland in 692. This means that Kildare itself had likely been celebrating Easter on the Roman date since a hundred years or so after St Brigit's death, and long before the BB was written. Which gives a wonderful sense of verisimilitude to the detail, that at one time, in order to hedge (if you'll pardon the pun) their bets, monasteries such as Kildare were celebrating not one nor the other, but both.
You can find the Bethu Brigte here: