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St. Maelruan

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(Maolruain, Melruan, Molruan). Founder and first Abbot of Tamalcht (Tallacht), in the County of Dublin, Ireland. Nothing seems to be known of St. Maelruan before the foundation of Tamlacht, which took place in the year 769. The church, which was dedicated to St. Michael, was built on land given by Donnchadh, King of Leinster. It was to this monastery that St. Aengus, the Culdee, came, during the abbacy of Maelruan and, concealing his name, served for some time at mere manual work. His identity, however was revealed through assistance that he gave to a backward scholar. St. Maelruan sought him at once and, gently reproaching him, gave him an honoured place in the community. The two saints are joint authors of the "Rule of Célidhé Dé" (see CULDEES), of which a copy is preserved in the library of the Royal Irish Academy. "It contains", says O'Curry, "a minute series of rules for the regulation of the lives of the Célidhé Dé, their prayers, their preachings, their conversations, their confessions, their communions, their ablutions, their fastings, their abstinences, their relaxations, their sleep, their celebrations of the Mass, and so forth". St. Maelruan is called a "Bishop and soldier of Christ" in the "annals of Ulster", where his death is recorded under the year 791. In the "Annals of the Four Masters", however, wherein also he is styled "Bishop", his death is assigned, probably incorrectly, to the year 787. His feast is on 7 July.

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