Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/751

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677

ARAD


(177


ARAN


Melitene; its episcopal list is known from 381 to 692 (Ciarns, p. 441). I.Kyi iKN, Orieru Chriet. (1740), I, 449-450.

Arad, a titular see of Palestine, said to be identical with the eminence of Tell' Arad on the way from I'etra to Hebron (cf. Niinibers, xxi, 1; Judges, i, 16). Its episcopal list is given in Lequien.

l.KQuiEN. Oriens CItritl. (1740), III, 777-780; SwrrH, IHct. of Greek and Human Geoffr., 1, h. v.

Aran, The Mon.\stic School of. — The three islands of .Xran stretch across the mouth of Galway Hay, forming a kind of natural breakwater again.st the .\tlantic Ocean. The largest of the three, called Aran Mor, is about nine miles in length, and little more than one in average breadth. The bluish-grey limestone of which it is entirely composed is a.s hard as marble and takes a fine polish. In many places it is (^uite bare; in others the .sandy soil affords a precarious sustenance for more than three thousand people who dwell upon the island, and largely sup- plement the produce of their ariil fields by the har- vest of the stormy seas around their island home, to which tliey cling in good or bad times with a passion- ate love. During three hundred years, from about olH) to SOO, .Vran Mor and its sister islands were a famous centre of sanctity and learning, which at- tracted holy men from all parts of Ireland to stmly the science of the saints in this remote school of the West. Before the arrival of St. Enda, Aran Mor and the neighbouring islands had long been occupied by a remnant of the ancient Firbolg race, who, driven from the mainland, built themselves ruile fortresses in the strongest points of the islands, the barbaric ruins of which still excite wonder. Tlieir descendants were still pagans at the close of the fifth centurj', when St. Enda first dared to land upon their shores, seeking, like so many of the .saints of his time, "a ilescrt in the ocean". The inhabitants of the islands at this time were the remnants of a great pre-historic people, whose works, even in their ruins, will outlive the monuments of later and more civilized peoples. Side by side with these magnificent remains of pagan architecture are now to be seen the remains of the churclies anil cells of Enila and his followers, making the Isles of .Vran the most holy, a.s they are the most interest- ing spots, within the wide bounds of Britain's insular enipire.

"Tradition tells us that Enda came first across the North Sound from daromna Island on the coast of Conncmara, and landed in the little bay at .Aran Mor under the village of Killeany, to which he has given iiis name, and near which he founded his first monas- tery. The fame of his austere sanctity soon spread througliout Erin, and attracted religious men from all parts of the countrj'. Amongst the first who came to visit Enda's island sanctuary was the cele- brated St. Brendan — the Navigator, as he is called — who was then revolving in his mind his great pro- ject of discovering the promi.sed land beyond the western main. He came to consult Enda, anil seek his blessing for the pro.sperous execution of his daring purpose. Thither, too, came Einnian of Clonard, liim.self the "Tutor of the Saints of Erin", to drink in heavenly wLsdom from the lips of blessed Enda, for Enda seems to have been the senior of all the.se saints of the second order, and he was loved and re\crenced by tliein all as a father. Clonard was a great college, but Aran of Enda was the greatest .sanctuarj- and nurserj' of holiness throughout all the " land of Erin ". Here, also, we find Columcille, who had not yet quite schooled his fierj- spirit to the patient endurance of injustice or insult. He came in his currarh. with the scholar's belt and book- satchel, to Icani divine wisdom in this remote school of the sea. He took his turn at grinding the corn.


and herding the sheep, and fishing in the bay; lie studied the Latin version of the Scriptures, antl learned from Enda's lips the virtues of a true monk as uracti.scil by the .saints and Fathers of the de.sert, anu he saw it exemplified in the daily life and godly conversation of the blessed Enda himself, and of the holy companions who shared his studies and his labours. Reluctantly did Columcille leave the sacred isle; and we know, from a poem which he has left, how dearly he loved Aran Mor, anil how bitterly he sorrowed when the "Son of (iod" called him away from that beloved island to preach bcvond the seas. He calls it " .\ran, the Sun of all the West ", another pilgrims' Home, under whose pure earth he would as soon be buried a-s nigh to the graves of Saints Peter and Paul. With Oalumcille at .\ran was also the gentle Ciaraii, the "carpenter's son", and the best beloved of all the disciples of lOnda. Antl when Ciaran, too, was called away by Clod to found his own great monastery by the banks of the Shannon, we are told that Enda and his monks came willi him down to the beach, whil.st their eyes were dim with tears and .sorrow filled their hearts. .Vnd the young and gentle Ciaran, having got liis abbot's blessing, entered his currach and sailed away for the mainlaml. There is indeed hardly a single one of the saints of the second order — calleil the Twelve Apostles of ICrin — who did not spend some time in Aran. It was for them the novitiate of their religious life. St. Jarlath of Tuam, nearly as old as Enda himself; St. Carthach the i;i(lerof Lismore; the two Sts. Jervis of Glendalough, two brothers; St. MacCreiche of Corcomorc; St. Lonan Kerr, St. Nechan, St. Guigneus, St. Papeus, St. Libeus, brother of St. Enda — all these were there. Enda ilivided Aran Mor into two parts; one half to be a-ssigneil to his own monastery of Killeany; the other, or western half, to such of his disciples as cho.se " to erect permanent religious houses on the island". This, however, seems to have been a later arrangement. .\t first it is said that he had !.')() disciples under his own care, but when the establislimcnt greatly increased in numbers, he divided the whole island into ten parts, each having its own religious house and its own superior, while he him.self retained a general superintendence over them all. The existing remains prove conclusively that there must have been several distinct nion;is- teries on the islam!, for we find separate groups of ruins at Killeany, at Kilronan, at Kilniurvey, and further west at the " Seven Churches ". The island- ers still retain many vivid and interesting tradi- tions of the saints and their churches. Fortunately, too, we have in the surviving stones and inscriptions other aids to confirm the.se traditions, and identify the founders and patrons of the existing ruins. The life of Enila anil liis monks was very frugal and austere. The day was divided into fixed periods for prayer, labour, and sacreil study. Each com- munity had its own cliurch, and its village of stone cells, in which they slept either on the bare grounil or on a bundle of straw covered with a rug, but always in the clothes woni by day. They assembled for their daily devotions in the church or oratory of the saint under whose immetliate care they were placed; silently they took in a common refectory their frugal meals, which were cookeil in a ciinimon kitchen, for they had no fires in their cloghauus or stone cells, however cold the weather or wild the seas. They invariably carried out the monastic rule of procunng their own food and clothing by the labours of their hands. Some fished around the islands; others cultivated patches of oats or barley in sheltered spots between the rocks. Others CTound it or kneaded the meal into bread, and baked it for the use of the brethren. So, in like manner, they spun and wove their own garmeats