THE CELTIC CHURCH

Crozier of St. Moluag:

A Crozier or Staff is the property and burden of a Bishop or an Abbot: it represents the person's role as a shepherd, a leader of his Christian flock. The Latin term for this is 'Baculum", and in Gaelic, "bachull". It has great liturgical power, as the Bishop (or Abbot) holds it when he is conferring sacraments.

St Moluag's staff is a piece of blackthorn, 34 inches long. For a very long time it was encased in copper as a sacred relic.

The headquarters of the Diocese of the Argyll and the Isles was originally the Isle of Lismore facing the sea, on the west coast of the Highlands. A Livingstone chief of the Clan McInlea was appointed the heritable custodian (or Coarb) of the Bachuil Mohr of Saint Moluag. In return for taking on this responsibility, the man received a small estate near the cathedral and the title of 'Baron'. The position of hereditary keeper was usually called "dewar" in Scotland. Only a very few survived the iconoclastic Protestant Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries.

For a time, the Staff was held by the Duke of Argyll. In more recent times, however, it was returned to the care of Lismore's present Baron of Bachuil, where it resides today.

The above photo appears on page 104, "The Highland Clans" by Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, Albany Herald, first published in 1967. The photographs are by David Hicks. The Isle of Lismore Museum informs me that Alistair Livingstone died in the spring of 2008. His son Niall (on his right in the above photo) has inherited his position. The coat of arms is that of Clan Livingstone or Clan McInlea. Note St Moluag with his Staff!

A place in Knapdale which commemorates a vanished Chapel to St Moluag is described here.