St. Laserian and his Carlow Connection

The 18th of April marks the feast day of St. Laserian, also known as St. Molaise. He is regarded as one of the 12 apostles of Ireland – these were 12 saints who trained under St. Finian (who was born in Myshall, Carlow) at Clonard Abbey in Meath. He lived during the 6th and 7th centuries and is venerated in both Ireland and Scotland. His name means ‘flame of fire’ – Laserian comes from the Irish ‘lasair’, or light. Molaise is ‘mo lasair‘ or my light.

Laserian was ordained an abbott in Rome, though was sent back to Ireland to preach. it is said that an angel directed him to Leighlin in Carlow, where he became abbott of the monastery.

One legend explains how Laserian voluntarily accepted illness from 30 different diseases at once, as atonement for his sins.

Laserian strictly followed the Roman method and spoke to the Irish bishops about adopting the Roman method of calculating the date for Easter. In 630 the Synod of Leighlin took place to discuss the date for celebrating Easter Sunday. Until then, there was no set way of acknowledging what date the event fell on; Easter Sunday was celebrated across multiple dates, depending on the traditions and customs of each particular following.

St. Laserian was a firm follower of the Roman method, and he spoke at the Synod. The former pulpit from Carlow Cathedral, now on display in Carlow County Museum, includes a panel depicting this event. You can see St. Laserian addressing the Irish bishops and persuading them to adopt the Roman system for deciding the date upon which Easter fell.

close up of a wooden panel with several figures carved into it, talking to one another

St. Laserian speaking at the Synod to the Irish Bishops

 

Today he is remembered in Carlow’s “Trails of the Saints” on the St. Laserian trail which winds through the heart of County Carlow. St. Laserian’s Cathedral in Old Leighlin is the starting point for the trail which meanders through the heart of the county towards Myshall at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains.

 

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