Baring-Gould’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Fillan, Abbot


(8th century)

[Scottish and Irish Martyrologies. Life in the Aberdeen Breviary.]

Saint Fillan, whose name is famous in ancient Scottish and Irish Calendars, was the son of Feriach, a noble, and his saintly wife Kentigerna, daughter of Cualann, king of Leinster, His father ordered him to be thrown into the lake, near his castle, and drowned, when he was shown to him, for he was somewhat unshapely. But, by the ministry of the angels, at the prayer of his mother, he floated ashore. Saint Fillan was given by Bishop Ibar to the abbot Munna, to be educated. As he wrote at night in his cell, he held up his left hand, and it shone so brilliantly that he was able to write with the right hand by the light shed by the left hand.

When the abbot Munna died (A.D. 635), Saint Fillan was elected to succeed him as head of the monastery of Kilmund in Argyleshire. Afcer some years, he resigned his charge, and retired to his uncle Congan, brother to his mother, in a place called Siracht, a mountainous part of Glendarshy, in Fifeshire, where, with the assistance of seven others, he built a church He was buried at Straphilline, and his relics were long preserved there with honour. The Scottish historians attribute to his intercession a memorable victory obtained by King Robert Bruce, in 1314, over the English at Bannockburn. His pastoral staff and bell still exist.

MLA Citation

  • Sabine Baring-Gould. “Saint Fillan, Abbot”. Lives of the Saints, 1897. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 January 2014. Web. 24 January 2021. <>