Small Irish community seeks help to save a saint's iconic cross

Catholic News Agency | 12/6/2018 | Staff
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Dublin, Ireland, Dec 6, 2018 / 03:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- 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.”

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.

Wall - Preservation - Efforts - St - Mura

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 - Descendant - Irish - Niall

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.

Cross - Kind - Inscription - Greek - Glory

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 saint’s cross was...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Catholic News Agency
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