DIOCESE OF DERRY (DERRIENSIS).
Includes nearly all the County Derry, part of Donegal, and a large portion of Tyrone, Ireland ; it is a suffragan of Armagh. The diocese owes its origin to the monastic establishment founded there by St. Columba between 546 and 562. But there does not seem to have been a bishop resident at Derry before Gervase O'Cervallen (c. 1230). The entry in the "Annals" by which O'Brolchain is represented as Bishop of Derry is due to a mistranslation. He was merely the superior of the Columban monastic houses, and was accorded the honour of a seat in the assembly of the bishops. The present Diocese of Derry was formed by a union of the old Sees of Rathlure and Ardstraw founded by St. Eugene, at what time cannot be accurately determined, and it was fully defined about the middle of the thirteenth century. The ancient monastery of Derry was one of the most important in Ireland, and eventually the chief house of the Columban monks. Gilla MacLeag (Gelasius) who succeeded St. Malachy as Archbishop of Armagh (1136) had been abbot of the monastery.
After the formation of the diocese in the thirteenth century the succession of bishops was uninterrupted till the Reformation period. Redmond O'Gallagher, appointed bishop in 1569, was one of the leading ecclesiastics in the province of Armagh at that period. He was appointed Administrator of Armagh during the absence of the primate in 1575, and according to a State paper (1592) he seems to have been the most active upholder of the Catholic Church in Ulster. He was killed by a body of soldiers in 1601. From 1601 till 1683 the Diocese of Derry was administered by vicars. From the appointment of Bernard O'Cahan in 1683, the line of bishops in Derry has been continued without interruption.
The population of Derry according to the census of 1901 was 222,505, 127,387 of whom were Catholics. It is divided into thirty-nine parishes, two of these being mensal parishes ; the remainder are held by parish priests. The number of priests in the diocese is about 108. There is no chapter (1908), nor is there any house of the regular clergy in the diocese. The seat of the bishop is in the city of Derry where are also situated the new cathedral and St. Columb's College which serves at the same time the purpose of a seminary and a general intermediate school, and is one of the most successful educational establishments in Ireland. There is also a flourishing intermediate school at Omagh conducted by the Irish Christian Brothers. The Sisters of Mercy have convents in Derry, Moville, Strabane, and Carndonagh; the Loretto Community have a house at Omagh, while the Sisters of Nazareth conduct a home for the aged of both sexes and one for children in Derry. The primary schools are conducted according to the rules of the Board of National Education, while the Model Schools in Derry have been completely boycotted by the Catholic population.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online