Máedóc of Ferns (d. 632)

Bishop and missionary, born in Inisbrefny, in County Cavan, circa 550. As a small boy Máedóc was held as a hostage by AedhAinmire, High King of Ireland, probably to insure the loyalty of his family. Released, Máedóc studied at Kilmuine, in Wales, a famed institute of Christian learning conducted by St. David. In 580, he returned to Ireland, going to the coast of Wexford. He served the area and was honored by Bran Dubh at the synod held to celebrate victory over King Aedh. Ferns, the area in which Máedóc conducted his priestly ministry, was elevated at this time to the status of a diocese. Máedóc was appointed the first bishop of Ferns and became Ard-Escops or Chief bishop of the region. In time he was called Mogue, "the beloved." The episcopal seat is no longer in Ferns but in Enniscarthy, where a cathedral was dedicated to Máedóc. His Feast Day is celebrated on January 31st. He is also known as St. Aidan of Ferns, but should not be confused with the more famous St. Aidan of Lindisfarne.