Small Irish community seeks help to save a saint's iconic cross
FREE Catholic Classes
A unique Irish cross marking the 1,400-year-old grave of a Catholic saint is in danger of destruction due to erosion, and the local community is seeking help to restore the "icon of Ireland's early Christian heritage."
Dublin, Ireland, (CNA/EWTN News) - St Mura's Cross is carved into a slab nearly seven feet tall that marks the grave of St. Mura, the first abbot of a sixth-century monastery in the far north of Ireland in what is now County Donegal. The monastery, one of Ireland's earliest, was founded by St. Colmcille less than a century after the death of St. Patrick. It became a center of religion and scholarship and its surrounding settlements gave birth to the town of Fahan, where nearly 600 people live today.
A nearby gable wall must be repaired before preservation efforts on St. Mura's Cross must begin.
"Cracks have appeared on the wall and if we don't stabilize that it could fall. If it does, it will fall on the cross and it will be destroyed forever," Colm Toland of the Fahan Heritage Group told The Irish News in November.
St. Mura, said to be a descendant of the Irish king Niall of the Nine Hostages, died in 645 at the age of 94. He became the patron saint of the O' Neil Clan, whose leaders were among the High Kings of Ireland. His feast day is observed March 12.
Both a Catholic church and a Church of Ireland church in the Fahan area are named for the saint.
The cross is the only one of its kind to bear an inscription in Greek: "Glory and honor to the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit". It is considered a unique inspiration of the Irish High Cross artistic tradition of massive and ornately carved stone crosses.
The sain'ts oss was carved sometime from the sixth to the tenth century. The gable wall was built in 1608, using stones from the original monastery, the Irish state broadcaster RTE News reports. It is surrounded by a graveyard that includes St. Mura's tomb.
The monastery and village were sacked by the Vikings twice in the middle ages, though the siteďż˝'s current ruins date to the 17th century. Some monastery artifacts are now in museums in Dublin and London.
Fahanďż˝ s heritage group is seeking support to protect the cross and the nearby church gable ruins. The gable is one of the distinctive landmarks of the village and a favorite stop for tourists and wedding parties, Fahan Heritage Group said in its YouTube video "Save St. Mura's Cross."
The stone-carved cross was distinctive for centuries, but now it has faded due to severe erosion attributed to acid rain or other environmental factors. The carving and Greek inscription are almost illegible.
"One thing we might have to consider is moving the cross to an indoor location and replacing it with a replica outside," Toland said. "That way we could protect if from whatever environmental or pollution influences which are eroding it."
Backers of the restoration include individuals from local community heritage and church societies, including historians, archaeologists, and architects.
They have launched an online fundraiser seeking an additional 15,000 Euro, about $17,000, to add to a startup grant from the Heritage Council of Ireland and funds from other sources.
"If left unprotected we will have lost an icon of Ireland's earliest Christian period," said the backers of the "Save Saint Mura' Cross" project on the group fundraiser site fundit.ie. The fundraiser will close in mid-January.
They and the wider community are "determined to conserve the local history and heritage of Saint Mura's monastic settlement from which the village itself grew."
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2018
Priests and their Pastoral Ministry. That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was named the new leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) at a special party conference December 7. ... continue reading
Advent is a time of waiting and expectation, Pope Francis said Sunday, but this season also requires a "journey of conversion." ... continue reading
On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to imitate Mary's deep trust and openness to God ... continue reading
Pope Francis will travel to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates Feb. 3-5 to participate in an international interfaith meeting, the ... continue reading
A unique Irish cross marking the 1,400-year-old grave of a Catholic saint is in danger of destruction due to erosion, and the local ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Pope Saint Damasus I: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, December 11, 2018
- Daily Reading for Thursday, December 13th, 2018 HD Video
- Indian bishop resigns amid complaints of misuse of funds, attempted ...
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, December 11, 2018
- Catholic elected as leader of Germany's largest party
- Site of Baptism of the Lord nears reopening as landmines cleared
- Prayer Requests Live for Monday, December 10th, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, December 12th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, December 10th, 2018 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Friday, December 7th, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education