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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/345

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O'Toole
O'Toole
339

it was no uncommon thing for a coarb to be also a bishop in a monastery; and had he accepted the office on this occasion, he could still have retained his revenues. His real reason, apart from that of age, which was only a temporary disqualification, may have been the decree of the synod of Kells, which had assigned 'the better part of the bishoprick of Glendalough for a diocese to the church of Dublin, reserving the remainder to the Bishop of Glendalough during his life, but so that the church of Glendalough, with its appurtenances, should, after the bishop's death, fall to the Church of Dublin.' To this arrangement Gilla na Naemh must be taken as assenting, as he was present at the synod. Laurence, who favoured the ecclesiastical changes then going forward, could not consistently accept the same appointment as Gilla held.

In 1162 Gregory or Gren6, bishop of the foreigners (Danes) of Dublin, having died, Gelasius the primate appointed Laurence the first archbishop of Dublin, or Leinster as the ' Four Masters ' have it, an office which he accepted with reluctance. Gregory, who was consecrated at Lambeth, had professed canonical obedience to the English primate, but the action of Gelasius now restored Dublin to the church of Ireland, and secured, as far as possible, the adhesion of the community of Glendalough by the appointment of their coarb.

In his new position Laurence's austerities were remarkable; thrice a day he was beaten with rods (2 Cor. xi. 25); he mingled his bread with ashes (Ps. cii. 9); he wore a hair shirt under his dress, and abstained altogether from meat. In imitation of St. Kevin, the founder of Glendalough, he frequently retired to a cave there 'formed by St. Kevin s hands.' It was reached by a ladder, the lower end of whioh rested in the water. Here messages from the people who desired to consult him were conveyed by his nephew, who also brought back his replies, and it was popularly believed that, like Moses, he held communication with God. One of his earliest acts as archbishop was the conversion of the secular canons of Christ Church into canons regular of the congregation of Aroasia, which he also joined himself.

In 1167 he attended 'a great meeting convened by Roderic O'Connor [q. v.] and the chiefs of the north, both lay and ecclesiastical,' at Athboy in co. Meath, when thirteen thousand horsemen assembled. The object of it was the promotion of religion and good government, and 'many good resolutions were passed respecting veneration for Churches and Clerics and control of tribes and territories.' But great changes were at hand; for three years after Dermod MacMurrough, aided by Strongbow and his followers, appeared before Dublin and summoned the city. Laurence's position and character marked him out as a suitable ambassador on behalf of the citizens, and he endeavoured to make terms with Dermod, but while negotiations were intentionally protracted, Miles de Cogan and his party scaled the walls and obtained possession of the city in 1170. In the following year a great effort was made to exterminate the invaders, the leading spirit in the project being the archbishop, who 'flew from province to province, to every inferior district and every chieftain, entreating, exhorting, and commanding them to seize the present opportunity; 'he even appeared in arms himself, and commanded his particular troop. Through his exertions an army, estimated at thirty thousand, assembled before Dublin. Strongbow applied to Laurence to act as mediator with Roderic, who commanded the besieging force, and he commissioned him to make an offer of terms. But they were refused, and Laurence returned with an imperative order to 'the foreigners to depart the kingdom.' They, however sallied forth, surprised the besiegers, and totally defeated them. Laurence now saw that the Irish were unable to cope with the invaders, and when in 1171 Henry n arrived with a large force, and armed with the papal authority, he submitted to him. He also took part in the council of Cashel, which was summoned by the king in 1172, and which rather prematurely declared that Ireland was indebted to him for 'the benefits of peace and the increase of religion.' It was not long before Laurence found his hopes from Henry's beneficent mission disappointed, and he crossed to England to appeal to him on behalf of his people against the injuries and oppressions of the Anglo-Norman adventurers. Roderic, king of Ireland, had submitted to Henry; but finding it necessary to enter into a formal agreement with him, he employed Laurence as an ambassador, and in that capacity he attended the council of Windsor in 1175, together with two other Irish ecclesiastics. Four years after, he received a summons from Alexander III to attend the Lateran council, and, having obtained the king's permission, he proceeded to Rome; but when passing through England he was obliged to take an oath that he would do nothing prejudicial to the king or his kingdom. Nevertheless, he 'made the most affecting representations of the injustice of the English governors and of the