Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

St Malachy looking forward

In the Irish calendar of Saints today is the feast of St Malachy, a noted twelfth century reformer as Archbishop of Armagh, who died at Clairvaux on November 2nd 1148.

However to most people St Malachy is best remembered as the supposed compiler or sharer in a series prophetic revelations of the coded identity of future Popes up to the advent of Pope Peter II and the end times. Though dismissed by serious scholars they surface every Papal vacancy without fail. Mind you, according to the list ( which has, I believe, already been extended once ) the present pontificate is the last one before the advent of the Antichrist….watch this space.

These aspects and quite a bit more are covered in a lively article by Gregory Di Pippo on the New Liturgical Movement website today - though he makes a mistake in saying St Theodore of Canterbury was half a century before St Malachy when he was more like half a millennium earlier.

The article, which weaves together a number of interesting themes, can be read at The “Prophecies” of St Malachy

Although Di Pippo attributes the creation of the ‘St Malachy prophecies’ to as recently as 1590 they do represent a tradition of prophetic claims expressed in coded descriptions of future rulers that flourished in the later middle ages across much of Europe. The quest to predict the end of the world, the advent of the Celestial Emperor and the Pope of the End Times was a popular one, wonderfully recorded and studied in Marjorie Reeves’ magisterial The Influence of Prophecy in the Later Middle Ages

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