The Weekly Round-Up
Your Scottish Saints from 13th - 19th March.
Brief Note: For those of you considering the Pluscarden Retreat in May - we currently have our full numbers and at the moment can only add you to a reserve list, which in itself is growing. I suggest you have a look at our Servant Leadership Course instead. More information below.
Sometimes the best thing about a Saint’s story isn’t so much what they actually did, and in the case of many in Scotland we know little about them anyway, but how people venerated them and sought their prayers. One of my favourites is celebrated this week - try and figure out which one!
St Curetan, 8th Century.
This Saint has had a rather confused hagiography thanks to the Aberdeen Breviary who named him St Boniface, an Israelite who was ordained by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and sent to evangelise the Picts. In fact this Saint was from the British Isles, some say a Pict himself, others of Irish origin who was a major part of the British Churches reform in regards Easter. Bede writes that King Nectan had sent an invitation to the Pope of the time to help them bring the Pictish Church to Rome’s understanding of the Easter dating - which had been a major issue in Britain up until and no doubt after the Synod of Whitby. St Curitan was said to have been sent from Rome to take up this invitation, first landing in Invergowrie up the Tay, beginning a Church there before continuing northward to the Church at Rosemarkie, originally founded by St Moluag. It is said he started many Churches, ordained many Priests and Bishops, which does seem a bit fanciful but no doubt carries a hint of truth. It is clear though he had a major impact on the North of Scotland and in the Pictish acceptance of Easters dating. He was in particular fond of St Peter and many of his churches seemed to have been dedicated to him. St Curetan is strongly associated in Ross-Shire and the rest of the Black Isle, along Loch Ness and in other parts of Inverness-Shire.
St Charmaig, A.D 640?
Little is known of this Saint, but it appears his main centre of devotion was in Argyll in North Knapdale and the parish of Keills in the same area, in which he had started a Church. Like many a Saint he was a holy and devoted man and resided on Eilean Mòr (maccu Cormaic) an Island in the Sound of Jura off the Kintyre coast. It was here he died and was buried in a chapel he himself built. This chapel still exists but is now known as St Cormacs Chapel.
St Charmaig seems to have had a lively afterlife which was recorded in Old Statistical Account in the 1790s (OSA XIX, 315-6). He seems to have been quite protective of this Island making sure nothing could be stolen from it. At one time a sea captain took a fancy to the Cross that was there and having loaded it on the boat set sail through the Mull of Kintyre. But the vessel was struck by a violent storm and so the Cross had to be thrown overboard. The cross then floated back to a harbour named ever after Portnacroish, located by a village on the mainland off Loch Linnhe further to the North. Eilean Mor also had a special cave that was said would make you infertile if you entered it. Unfortunately for a rather amorous couple who had thought to take the chance one evening the caves abilities in this area had ceased by then and the woman left pregnant. Eventually it appears our Saint tired of his island with the miracles ceasing but not before granting one more. A woman standing on the opposing shoreline, called out to Charmaig:
"'S mise bean bhochd a' Braidealban "A m' sheasamh air lic Mha' Charmaig "So naomh ann an Eilean na fairge "Thig's tog a bhuineach o m'earbal."
Translated, the woman had said: "I'm a poor woman of Breadlbane, standing on Mo Charmaig's slab. There's a saint in the isle of the sea; come and lift the s***e from my tail".
She had been suffering dysentery and having been healed by the prayers of our Saint promptly decided that was one request to far and he would take his good self away from the Island forever. However, if we are ever in similar need - we can always give it a go…
The Servant Leadership Course
With Dr Sue Price of the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology
This is an ideal course for those who wish to explore their baptismal vocation within a Parish setting. Those who are already active and those who would like to be - even if you don’t know what that looks like. The course is designed to fit in with busy lives, being a 1 hour online zoom a month, and not pushy or trying to sign you up for more. It is a time to explore with like minded people the purposes God might have for you.
If your interested please click the button below: