Saint Laurence O'Toole

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XIV

In 1162 St. Laurence O'Toole was chosen to succeed Greine, or Gregory, the Danish Archbishop of Dublin. He belonged to one of the most noble ancient families of Leinster. His father was chieftain of the district of Hy-Muirahy, a portion of the present county Kildare. St. Laurence had chosen the ecclesiastical state early in life; at the age of twenty-five he was chosen Abbot of St. Kevin's Monastery, at Glendalough. The Danish Bishop of Dublin had been consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the saint received the episcopal office from the successor of St. Patrick. A synod was held at Clane the year of his consecration; it was attended by twenty-six prelates and many other ecclesiastics. The college of Armagh was then virtually raised to the rank of a university, as it was decreed that no one, who had not been an alumnus of Armagh, should be appointed lector or professor of theology in any of the diocesan schools in Ireland. Indeed, the clergy at this period were most active in promoting the interests of religion, and most successful in their efforts, little anticipating the storm which was then impending over their country.