- fl. 7th century
- feast-day: 16 January
- saints of Ireland
- Péronne, Cnobheresburg, Lagny, Lugmad
Irish monk and missionary
See also references for related subjects.
Hamann, Stefanie, “St Fursa, the genealogy of an Irish saint—the historical person and his cult”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 112 C (2012): 147–187.
The Irish saint Fursa (d. 649) is renowned for his visions of the otherworld, transmitted in a near-contemporary Vita. He also appears in the Irish martyrologies and genealogies, the latter attributing to him a variety of pedigrees on his father's as well as his mother's side. This paper aims to show that by combining evidence from different types of sources; biographies, genealogies (Corpus genealogiarum sanctorum Hiberniae and Corpus genealogiarum Hiberniae), martyrologies (Félire Óengusso, Martyrology of Donegal and Martyrology of Cashel), and several Irish saints' Lives, it is possible to single out the most probable strand of tradition for the saint's origins. As it turns out, Fursa's differing genealogical affiliations mirror the subsequent shifts in political and ecclesiastical developments in Irish medieval history. Viewed from this perspective, the genealogies can supply valuable source material necessary for a biographical approach to a personality of the early Middle Ages.
Dunn, Marilyn, “Gregory the Great, the Vision of Fursey, and the origins of purgatory”, Peritia 14 (2000): 238–254.
The most significant contribution of pope Gregory the Great (†604) to the doctrine of purgatory occurs in the Dialogues, a work of contested authenticity. The doubts raised in the 1980s over its genuineness have still not been dispelled and the thesis that it is a hybrid and inauthentic work is confirmed by a study of its teaching on post-mortem purgation. This appears to have to have been influenced by the extension of the system of tarriffed penance into the afterlife, a development first shown in the narrative of the vision of the Irish monk, Fursey, composed on the Continent in the 650s. The Dialogues as they have come down to us may be a work composed in England in the 670s, while its sections on purgatory form part of an ongoing debate about the nature of penance, intercession, and the afterlife.