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de la partie du corps qui s'était appliqué dessus; ceux," writes Dom Toussaint Duplessis, “qui sont affligés d'hémorroïdes vont y asseoir avec modestie, et je sais de manière à n'en pouvoir douter que plusieurs hommes et femmes y ont trouvé une certaine et parfaite guérison.”

Down to the Revolution of 1793 the original hollow stone was preserved in the chapel of the Priory which replaced St. Fiacre's Hermitage.

A curious tradition of St. Fiacre is preserved in Scotland. “Qhen King Hary had destroyet sundry boundis of Britaine with great heirschippis and slauchter he invadit the landes and kirk of Sacnt Fiacre and be vengence of God he was stricken with sic infirmite that na ingine of man micht cure him. ... The medicinaris ... said it was the melede of Sacnt Fiacre."

But to return to the French narrative :

On the death of St. Fiacre's father, Ferchard, his youngest son, succeeded to the Crown; but, being tainted with Pelagian heresy then rampant in Erin, and having by his crimes incurred the hatred of his people, a Convention was held which deposed him. It was then unanimously resolved to offer the Crown to Fiacre, and thereupon it was decreed that an embassy should be sent to Clotaire II., King of Neustrie,' to ask him to assert his authority and compel Fiacre to leave his kingdom and return to Erin to receive the Crown of his father. The saint having had a revelation of this project, prayed to God “with tears in his eyes” that he might not be tempted to quit his cell. This prayer was heard, and when the ambassadors arrived he told them plainly that he proposed to remain where he was, and, fearing the delegates might insist further, he assumed by Divino permission the appearance of a leper, which at once made him ineligible for the throne.

There is a rude oil painting in the “Salle de Cathéchisme" of the Cathedral of Meaux of the Irish deputation offering St. Fiacre golden vessels. The saint is represented as a good-looking young man, wearing a white robe over which is a black scapular, and holding a spade in his right hand, while with his left he motions away the precious gifts proffered him by three warriors whose horses are held by a turbaned negro. To the left of the picture are three kneeling women supplicating the saint not to leave La Brie. The figures are life-size. I was informed by the Vicaire that this curious picture is over two hundred years old.

Clotaire II. was the son of Chilperic and Frédégonde.

When St. Fiacre died in 670 he was interred in his cell, and shortly after his death he was honoured as the protector and patron of La Brie.

In the year 1478 Louis XI. had the shrine of St. Fiacre covered with silver plates, the monks of the Priory having ten years before spent a considerable sum on its decoration.

This reliquary was made in the form of a Gothic church, the ridge poll being covered with fleurs-de-lys and decorated with dolphins, the arms of the kings of France.

On the side of the shrine carved in low relief are portrayed some striking passages of Fiacre's life. One of the figures represents Bechaude insulting the saint, another the wicked woman vomiting a serpent, and a third depicts a sick woman lying on a bed invoking the just man whom she had slandered.

When Louis XIII. was dying he made a vow to embellish this shrine. Anne of Austria, his widow, in order to carry out his wish spent 1200 golden ecus in decorating it with argent doré. Louis, her husband, is represented here attired in a royal mantle kneeling before the altar of St. Fiacre, and invested with the collar of his order. Over his head an angel is holding the arms of France, and on the entabla. ture are six angels bearing crowns of flowers. In the space between these figures, and at the four corners, massive fleurs-de-lys are inserted, while under a dome supported by eight pillars is a figure of St. Fiacre dressed as a friar, holding a spade in his hand.

In 1565, during religious troubles, the friars having been turned out of their monastery hid the shrine in a small hut which had been erected on the side of their pond; afterwards they carried it to the Chateau Villemorénel, and for their own safety took to the woods. Dalibert, a native of St. Fiacre, and a Canon of Meaux, discovered their retreat and persuaded them that in order to ensure the safety of the relics of their patron saint they should deposit them in the Cathedral of Meaux. The shrine was removed to Meaux on the 13th September, 1568. Subsequently, the friars applied to have it returned to them, but their application was not acceded to. When Louis XIV. was returning, in 1683, from the conquest of Alsace, and came to visit St. Fiacre's tomb, the friars petitioned him for the restoration of their shrine. Unfortunately for them, Bossuet, the “Eagle of Meaux," was

La Brie in the time of Cæsar was inhabited by the Meldi, afterwards formed part of the kingdom of Neustrie, later on the provinces of Champagne and Ile de France, and is now divided into the departments of Seine et Oise, Seine et Marne and Aisne, Marne and Aube.

present and remonstrated against its removal. The shrine is still to be seen in the sacristy of the cathedral, as well as a silver-gilt statuette of St. Fiacre, 20 centimetres high, which has at its base a medallion containing a relic of the saint. In the apse of the cathedral there is a chapel dedicated to St. Fiacre, constructed in the style of the thirteenth century. The stone altar which stands upon four pillars was erected in 1866, and consecrated in 1870. The beautiful railing which encloses the chapel was put up in 1888.

The cathedral, a noble Gothic edifice, was begun in the twelfth century and continued until the sixteenth century. Its restoration was commenced in 1832, and carried on to 1874. The cathedral is 260 feet long, and its vaulted roof 105 feet high.

At St. Fiacre, a village of 300 inhabitants, built upon a table-land seven miles from Meaux, the feast of the saint (August 30) is attended by numerous pilgrims, who come provided with a special service-book containing " Messe de St. Fiacre, Vespres de St. Fiacre, Litanie de St. Fiacre," and some hymns in his honour-one of them being addressed to “ St. Fiacre, patron des jardiniers," commencing thus:

“Glorieux patron de La Brie

Sois favorable à nos voeux,
Pèlerins toute notre vie,

Suivons le chemin des cieux." This saint's feast is celebrated in the Church of St. Ferdinand, Vaugirard, Paris, with great pomp ; the chancel on that day is beautifully decorated with flowers sent by the master gardeners, who come to the service in evening dress, their wives wearing fashionable costumes, while the working gardeners with their families attend in holiday attire.

I have to thank the Vicaire of Meaux and Mr. Marshal of Paris for their courtesy in assisting me to acquire some of the foregoing details of this old Irish saint.




[Read FEBRUARY 8, 1892.]

Some short time since a question was incidentally raised, at a meeting of this Academy, as to the extent to which the Greek language prevailed in Gaul during the first six centuries of our era. This happens to be a subject to which I have given a great deal of attention, and which also bears directly upon the history of Ireland. I therefore think that it is a question which may well engage our attention. I propose to take the subject in two divisions :(1) How far did a knowledge of the Greek language exist in Gaul

between the period of the Christian era and the year 600 ?


(2) How did the knowledge of the Greek tongue get to Ireland ?

which will resolve itself into the further question, What communication existed between Gaul and Ireland in the

fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries ? Both of these lines of inquiry seem to me peculiarly suitable to the office and work of the Royal Irish Academy.

Now let us take the first point. How far did a knowledge of Greek exist in the country called Gaul, or rather the provinces of the Gauls, during the first six or seven centuries ? I am sure that speaking before such a learned body I might assume that everyone present knows that the southern parts of Gaul were in pre-Christian times thoroughly Greek. Massilia, or Marseilles, was a Greek colony from Phocæa, where Phænician or Carthaginian influences mingled their forces, rendering Marseilles a great centre, where the most diverse intellectual and religious tendencies found a point of contact and of interaction. There are two books in the College Library very little known, which I recommended for purchase some thirteen years ago. They are styled : the one, Lentheric's " La Grèce et L'Orient en Provence," and the other, Lentheric's "Les Villes Mortes du Golfe de Lyon,” “The Dead Cities of the Gulf of Lyons,” which give us striking evidence of

R.1.A. PROC., ser. III., VOL. II.

the religious Syncretism existing in Southern Gaul two thousand years ago. In these books we shall find Gallic and Massiliot religious inscriptions dating back to pre-Christian times, some of them dealing with Greek Pagan life, and others setting forth the inscriptions upon a Baal temple, raised by Phænician settlers long prior to the days when we have any literary or historical remains to instruct us. Prior to the Christian era, then, Marseilles was a centre of Greek and Phænician influences, and of these influences we have the still existing remains recorded in the works of this learned French engineer, whose books were published so lately as the year 1878. But now coming to historic times, and a period close to the Christian era, let me cite some authorities to show the prevalence of Greek in Southern Gaul, at that crisis in the world's history. Cæsar is a pretty well-known authority, and one that is most valuable for the habits and customs of that district. His treatise “ De Bello Gallico " is one to which all historians refer, and he does not leave us without information upon this very point concerning which we are inquiring. In the Sixth Book of the Gallic War, and in the 14th chapter, when treating of the Druids, Cæsar witnesses concerning the prevailing use of the Greek language in Gaul, saying: “Neither do the Druids think it lawful to commit their discipline to writing, since in almost all their business, whether public or private, they use Greek.” This quotation alone is sufficient to establish the common use of the Greek language in Southern Gaul during the century immediately preceding the birth of our Lord. The Druids simply refused to commit their peculiar discipline to writing, because all ordinary writing was in Greek.

Now let us see how this matter stood in Southern Gaul during the first century. I cannot produce Christian testimony for the first century, simply because that Christianity, having been first preached in Gaul during the second half of that century, had not yet time to produce a great writer, or at least one who has reached our times. Greek was certainly, however, one of the current languages of Southern Gaul during the first century; for if we take up Suetonius, and turn to his account of the Roman emperors, we shall find that Caligula exhibited Greek plays at Lyons for the amusement of the people, and went further still, for he established prizes for the encouragement of Greek oratory." Greek plays would not have been exhibited, and Greek oratory would not have been cultivated, unless the Greek language was understood and spoken. This piece of evidence shows that in the first century

1 See Suetonius, "Caligula," cap. IX.

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