Tuesday, November 8, 2016

St Cowey of Portaferry, Abbot of Moville

St. Cowey is a little-known monastic saint who lived near the tip of the Ards Peninsula in the late 7th and early 8th centuries AD. For many years he laboured there as a hermit, sending up his prayers to God during his long nightly vigils in the depths of the forest. Three holy wells are still to be found where he laboured, as well as an ancient church built amidst them, which looks eastward over the Irish Sea. Beside the church, an ancient cemetery completes the view that greets the pilgrim’s eye.


 St. Cowey’s holiness attracted many to his quiet, little hermitage. Tradition holds that he was made abbot of the great Moville Monastery further north on the peninsula in 731 AD, possibly shortly before he reposed around the middle of the 8th century. His memory has been kept and treasured by the local inhabitants of the nearby town of Portaferry for over twelve hundred years. He is commemorated on the 8th November.[1]

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