Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo


An abbot and martyr, founder of Abercrossan, b. 642; d. 21 April, 722. He was descended from Niall, King of Ireland, on the side of his father Elganach. His rnother, Subtan, was a niece of St. Comgall the Great, of Bangor. St. Maelrubha was born in the county of Derry and was educated at Bangor. When he was in his thirtieth year he sailed from Ireland for Scotland, with a following of monks. For two years he travelled about, chiefly in Argyll, and founded about half-a dozen churches then settled at Abercrossan (Applecross), in the west of Ross. Here he built his chief church and monastery in the midst of the Pictish folk, and thence he set out on missionary journeys, westward to the islands Skye and Lewis, eastward to Forres and Keith, and northward to Loch Shinn, Durness, and Farr. It was on this last journey that he was martyred by Danish vikings, probably at Teampull, about nine miles up Strath-Naver from Farr, where he had built a cell. He was buried close to the River Naver, not far from his cell, and his grave is still marked by "a rough cross-marked stone". The tradition, in the " Aberdeen Breviary ", that he was killed at Urquhart and buried at Abercrossan is probably a mistake arising from a confusion of Gaelic place-names.

This error had been copied by several later hagiologists, as has also the same writers' confusion of St. Maelrubha with Sts. Rufus of Capua. Maelrubha was, after St. Columba, perhaps the most popular saint of the north-west of Scotland. At least twenty-one churches are dedicated to him, and Dean Reeves enumerates about forty forms of his name. His death occurred on 21 April, and his feast has always been kept in Ireland on this day; but in Scotland (probably owing to the confusion with Sts. Rufus) it was kept on 27 August. On 5 July, 1898, Pope Leo XIII restored his feast for the Church in Scotland, to be kept on 27 August.

More Encyclopedia

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 between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

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


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Opium, heroin or cocaine: What drug is YOUR country known for?
  • Prayer For Faith HD Video
  • 'Body lifted from the ground': Young Central American woman dies ...
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, December 01, 2015
  • Pope Francis does the unthinkable following emotional tragedy in ...
  • St. Eligius: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, December 01, 2015
  • Parents' Prayer For Their Children HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 10:9-18
9 that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 4:18-22
18 As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 30th, 2015 Image

St. Andrew
November 30: Andrew, like his brother Simon Peter, was a ... Read More