St. Comgall of BangorFounder and abbot of the great Irish monastery at Bangor, flourished in the sixth century. The year of his birth is uncertain, but according to the testimony of the Irish annals it must be placed between 510 and 520; his death is said to have occurred in 602 (“Annals of Tighernach” and “Chronicon Scotorum”), or 597 (Annals of Innisfallen). He was born in Dalaradia in Ulster near the place now known as Magheramorne in the present County Antrim. He seems to have served first as a soldier, and on his release from military service he is said to have studied at Clonard with St. Finnian, and at Clonmacnoise with St. Ciaran, who died in 549. -more- Catholic Encyclopedia
The Irish Abbey of Bangor
Situated in County Down, on the southern shore of Belfast Lough. Sometimes the name was written “Beannchor”, from the Irish word beann, a horn. According to Keating, a king of Leinster once had cattle killed there, the horns being scattered round, hence the name. The place was also called the Vale of Angels, because, says Jocelin, St. Patrick once rested there and saw the valley filled with angels. The founder of the abbey was St. Comgall, born in Antrim in 517, and educated at Clooneenagh and Clonmacnoise. The spirit of monasticism was then strong in Ireland. Many sought solitude the better to serve God, and with this object Comgall retired to a lonely island. The persuasions of his friends drew him from his retreat; later on he founded the monastery of Bangor, in 559. go to Celtic and Old English Saints
The Antiphonary of Bangor
The codex, found by Muratori in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, and named by him the “Antiphonary of Bangor” (“Antiphonarium Benchorense”), was brought to Milan from Bobbio with many other books by Cardinal Federigo Borromeo when he founded the Ambrosian Library in 1609. Bobbio, which is situated in a gorge of the Apennines thirty-seven miles north-east of Genoa, was founded by St. Columbanus, a disciple of St. Comgal, founder of the great monastery at Bangor on the south side of Belfast Lough in the county of Down. St. Columbanus died at Bobbio and was buried there in 615. This establishes at once………. New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia
The Bangor Communion Hymn
Draw Nigh and Take the Body of the Lord
Sancti, venite, Christi Corpus sumite
This is a 7th century Latin communion hymn found in the Bangor Antiphoner, a rare Irish liturgical manuscript. From the Monastery of Bangor where it was written between 680 and 691 it was carried to Bobbio, the famous monastery founded on Italian soil by the Irish missionary Columbanus after he and been driven out of Burgundy by the reigning powers. It was first published by Muratori in his Anecdota (1697-98), when he discovered it in the Ambrosian Library in Milan.
An old Irish legend tells of St. Patrick and his nephew Sechnall hearing angels sing it first during the offertory before the communion, and adds;
So from that time to the present that hymn is chanted in Erinn when the body of Christ is received.
As the legend goes, St. Patrick and Sechnall had a terrible argument, with Sechnall accusing Patrick of preaching charity too little and Patrick threatening to run over Sechnall with his chariot. After being reconciled to each other in the graveyard of their church, they suddenly heard angels within the church singing this hymn.
John Mason Neale translated the Latin text in 1851 and published it in his Medieval Hymns. Here is his text:
The Celtic Rites
This subject will be treated under the following seven heads:
I. History and Origin;
II. Manuscript Sources;
III. The Divine Office;
IV. The Mass;
V. The Baptismal Service;
VI. The Visitation, Unction, and Communion of the Sick;
VII. The Consecration of Churches;
Information at New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia