Hibernensis Collectio

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The conventional name of the comprehensive canonical collection of the Irish Church. It is approximately dated 700 by reason of the latest authors it refers to (Theodore of Canterbury, Adamnan of Iona); the absence of references to the Venerable Bede; and the deaths of its (probable) compilers, Rubin of Dair-Inis (d. 725) and Cú-Chuime of Iona (d. 747).

It draws largely on the Bible, especially the Old Testament; on the Fathers of the Church, probably via a collection of sententiae [see S. Hellmann, Sedulius Scottus (Munich 1906) 136144], including some Greeks (Origen, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil, the Vitae Patrum ); on the statuta ecclesiae antiqua and other conciliar and synodal decrees, but rarely on papal decretals. Native sources include the acts (otherwise unknown) of Irish synods and Irish ecclesiastical writers beginning with St. Patrick. The synods referred to as Synodus Romana, or by some other similar term, are probably synods of the Roman faction of the Irish Church in the 7th century as opposed to the Celtic faction [J. B. Bury, Life of St. Patrick (London 1905) 235239].

Contrary to the predominantly chronological arrangement of earlier collections, the 65 chapters of the Hibernensis are arranged according to subject matter, but not in a systematic order. The collection treats of the duties and privileges of the ecclesiastical grades; the relations of monks, secular clergy, and laity; liturgy and devotion; morals; ecclesiastical and, to some extent, secular

law. The treatment breathes the spirit of reform of morals and discipline that was then strong in Ireland. The compilers attempted also to adjust their authorities to the peculiar pattern of Irish ecclesiastical, political, and social life. There are, e.g., no decrees concerning diocesan episcopal jurisdiction, for this had no place in the predominantly monastic Church of the 7th-and 8th-century Ireland; the Jewish jubilee year is considered as a limit for the validity of uncertain titles, and the parties to a contract are advised to have it made out in writing; the term "cities of refuge" refers to monasteries (called civitates in Ireland, then a country without towns), and the prerogatives of the monasteries are stated in patristic and canonical terms.

Because of its reformatory spirit, its comprehensiveness, and its practical arrangement, the Hibernensis had considerable influence on the Continent of Europe after the 8th century. It was frequently used by the compilers of canonical collections down to the 12th century.

See Also: canonical collections before gratian.

Bibliography: f. w. h. wasserschleben, Die irische Kanonensammlung (2d ed. Leipzig 1885). j. f. kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland (New York 1929) 247250, with bibliog. Fournier-LeBras 1:6264.

[l. bieler]