Finte Eaglasta Oidhreachtúla na hÉireann (Ireland's Hereditary Ecclesiastical Families) - Part 1

Are you descended from any of Ireland's hundreds of hereditary ecclesiastical families?  Many of us can point to our warrior and royal ancestors.  But how many of us know about our ecclesiastical ancestors?  

That's right.  Our ecclesiastical ancestors married, had children, maintained the church's properties, and staffed the church with priests, nuns, monks, librarians, scribes, teachers, masters of canon and secular law, administrators, and more.  Celibacy was a highly regarded option.  Usually, however, marriage was the norm.  Those in holy orders were expected to have only one spouse.  But is it possible that the rest, the lay ecclesiastics called airchinnigh ('erenaghs' / heads of church foundations), comharba ('coarbs' / heirs to saints), and manaig ('monks', but actually ecclesiastical tenants in lay orders) practiced polygamy and serial polyandry as permitted under Féineachas / 'Brehon Law'?

Either way, Ireland wasn't the "Isle of Saints and Scholars" by accident.  Side by side with the hereditary learned families, the hereditary ecclesiastical families helped form and maintain the foundation of Irish society from about the 7th century to the beginning of the 17th century.

I'm writing a book about this and doing my dissertation on it.  Are you descended from any of Ireland's hundreds of hereditary ecclesiastical families?  If so, I'd love to hear the whole scoop - who, what, when, and where.

Le gach dea-ghuí / Best,

Gearóid / Jerry

Read Part 2 Here

Views: 503

Tags: Church, Faith, Genealogy, History of Ireland, Living History, Religion

Comment by Patrick Francis Deady on November 13, 2014 at 6:38pm

Just my own strong opinion but pity the day that ever a roman nose was poked into our Irish affairs.

I would love to go back to those days. At least it wouldn't be like it is now, nearly impossible to find a priest. A plague on their house if things are not to change......Thanks for the reminder, Jerry,



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