Letter from Stephen of Lexington to the Archbishop of Cashel (Letter 67)
Extract from Stephen of Lexington, Letters from Ireland 1228 - 1229 (translated and with an introduction by Barry W. O'Dwyer), Cistercian Publications Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1982
To the Archbishop of Cashel, greetings,
Coming to the house of Suir in response to the obligations of the office enjoined on us according to the rules of the Order and humbly exercising the terms of the mandate we received, we found that the startling conspiracies and plots of rebellion quite unheard of for ages were wickedly prepared like some sort of battle line drawn up against God and the Order.
Words would scarcely suffice to express nor a pen to write down this series of events. Consequently, we refrain for the moment from describing by letter such malicious temerity and perverse wickedness, but Your Venerable Paternity can be informed of these matters in part by the bearer of this letter. We have told him many things to be reported humbly to Your Holiness; be so good as to trust him completely and give him a favourable hearing.
Beloved father, give your attention to this because the aforesaid house of Suir is completely within your diocese and jurisdiction, close to your city and cathedral seat. Be enkindled, therefore, with the zeal of the Lord and gird yourself with Peter’s sword, with Phineas’ dagger, be a shepherd by office, a father by affection, a monk by lifestyle, and do not allow Dagon to set himself up against the religion of God so close to the ark, namely your cathedral church. Rather, if it please you, let him be thrown down and shattered with such fervour, eagerness and deliberation that the enemy may forever fear to dwell so close and to come near the shadow of your wings. Prostate at the feet of Your Holy Paternity, we ask this and exhort you with all humility and devotion in Christ Jesus our Lord to endeavour through your seneschals and bailiffs and through officials and deans to punish so severely an offense so great against God, the Church and the Order, for the sake of God and your own honour, that the zeal you have for the Order will earn before God and men distinguished and having fulfilled the office of a pastor as well as a monk of the Cistercian Order in the aforesaid mater with such great fervour and promptness and without any dissimulation or delay, that God and the Order and we ourselves and all our friends who are told of this will be placed under an obligation to Your Holy Benevolence in abundant thanksgiving; know for certain that we shall undertake with all diligence to report in full everything about the terms and proceedings of the aforesaid wickedness not only to the lord abbots of Citeaux and Clairvaux but also to all our friends and to our representatives in the Curia and elsewhere, and we will be awaiting better times with the help of God, not forgetting that the Most High is a patient repayer. Farewell.
Stephen of Lexington, Letters from Ireland 1228 - 1229, translated and with an introduction by Barry W. O'Dwyer (Cistercian Publications Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan) pp. 132 - 133
These extracts are reproduced with the kind permission of Liturgical Press: www.cistercianpublications.org
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