January 9th ~ St. Fillan of Strathfillan

Saint Fillan, Filan, Phillan, Fáelán (Old Irish) or Faolan (modern Gaelic) is the name of (probably) two Scottish saints, of Irish origin. The career of a historic individual lies behind at least one of these ‘saints’ (fl. 8th century), but much of the tradition surrounding ‘Fillan’ seems to be of a purely legendary character.
St Fillan of Munster, the son of Feriach, grandson of Cellach Cualann, King of Leinster, received the monastic habit in the abbey of Saint Fintan Munnu and came to Scotland from Ireland in 717 as a hermit along with his mother St Kentigerna and his uncle St Comgan. He is said to have been a monk at Taghmon in Wexford before eventually settling in Pittenweem (‘the Place of the Cave’), Fife, Scotland later in the 8th century.

St Fillan was the abbot of a Fife monastery and retired to Glen Dochart and Strathfillan near Tyndrum in Perthshire. At an Augustinian priory at Kirkton Farm adjacent to the West Highland Way, the priory’s lay-abbot, who was its superior in the reign of William the Lion, held high rank in the Scottish kingdom. This monastery was restored in the reign of Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce), and became a cell of the abbey of canons regular at Inchaffray. The new foundation received a grant from King Robert, in gratitude for the aid which he was supposed to have obtained from a relic of the saint (an arm-bone) on the eve of the great victory over King Edward II’s English soldiers at the Battle of Bannockburn. The saint’s original chapel was up river, slightly northwest from the priory and adjacent to a deep body of water which became known as St Fillan’s Pool.

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