Historian of the Irish Saints; b. Christopher Fleming, Lagan, County Louth, Ireland, 1599; d. Beneschau, near Prague, Bohemia, Nov. 7, 1631. At 18 Fleming entered the Franciscan Order of Strict Observance, taking the religious name Patrick. He was sent to Rome, Louvain, and Douai for studies. During his years on the Continent he came under the influence of the Donegal-born scholar and rector of Louvain, Hugh ward, who persuaded Fleming to devote research to the collection of materials on the Irish saints. While studying at St. Isidore's College in Rome, Fleming became the close friend of Hugh Mac-Caughwell (later archbishop of Armagh), enjoying an intimate intellectual relationship with him.
In 1631 at the age of 32, Fleming was made first president of the Irish College of the Immaculate Conception at Prague. This was a year of great political and social strife on the Continent during the Thirty Years' War (1618–48). The city of Prague was being besieged by the Elector of Saxony, and while fleeing from the capital with several of his companions, Fleming was set upon by a mob of enraged Calvinist peasants who murdered him. In addition to a Life of St. Columba, a Biography of Bishop MacCaughwell, and a Chronicle of St. Peter's Monastery in Ratisbon, Fleming left, unpublished, a valuable Collectanea sacra that was edited and published 30 years after his death.
Bibliography: j. s. crone, Concise Dictionary of Irish Biography (Dublin 1928). j. ware, The Antiquities and History of Ireland (Dublin 1705). t. cooper, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (London 1885–1900) 7:281–282.
[e. j. murray]