Lucerna fidelium, seu Fasciculus decerptus ab authoribus magis versatis, qui tractarunt de doctrina Christiana: 

Rome, typis Sacræ Congreg. de Propaganda Fide. 1676

£3,250

FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. [iv], 391, [i], VIII. Gaelic letter, some Roman. Small  woodcut roundel on verso of A2, typographical ornaments. Light age yellowing, some browning in places, occasional minor light spotting, tiny worm trail in blank margins of a two quires. A very good copy, entirely untrimmed with full margins, in modern quarter brown calf over boards, spine with raised bands, title gilt lettered.

Rare first edition of the first book in Irish from the Propaganda Press, by Francis Molloy (c. 1606-1677?); this Catechism is by far the most famous and most widely read of his works. A year later he also  published the first printed Irish grammar, from the same press. The project to publish this Irish catechism dated back to 1670, when it was instigated by the secretary of Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, Monsignor Baldeschi, who, along with Cardinal Altieri (later Pope Clement X), were among Molloy’s most influential friends and contacts in the city. “Francis Molloy theologian and grammarian, was a native of the county of Meath, Ireland. The family of which he was a member had extensive landed possessions in the district known as O’Molloys’ Country, and some of them engaged actively in the Irish movements from 1641 to 1652. Francis Molloy entered the order of St. Francis, became a priest, was appointed professor of theology at St. Isidore’s College, Rome, and acted as agent for the Irish catholics at the papal court in the reign of Charles II. .. A catechism of the doctrines of the catholic church in the Irish language was published by Molloy in 1676 with the title : ‘Lucerna fidelium, seu fasciculus decerptus ab authoribus magis versatis qui tractarunt de doctrina Christiana.’ It was printed at Rome at the press of the Congregation ‘de propaganda fide,’ from which, in 1677, issued another book by Molloy, entitled ‘Grammatica Latino-Hibernica,’ 12mo, the first printed grammar of the Irish language.” DNB.

“Another popular text that circulated in Ireland in both printed and manuscript form was Francis O’Malloy’s Lucerna Fidelium,.. Like most other Irish catechisms, the Lucerna Fidelium was not an original work, but rather a composite of old and new, including sections from the Parrthas an Anma and a translation of Bossuet’s ‘Exposition de la doctrine de l’Eglise catholique’ printed in Paris in 1671. The book was composed in a question and answer format: its sections on the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the sacraments must have been of great use to Irish catechists.”  Samantha A. Meigs ‘The Reformations in Ireland: Tradition and Confessionalism, 1400–1690’.  “Though not a great a centre for writing and printing Irish language texts as Louvain was, still Rome could boast some Irish firsts: the first travel narrative in the Irish language .. and the first ever printed grammar  of Irish by Francis O’Molloy, published by the Propaganda Fide in 1677. The publication of this grammar and a catechism in Irish by the Congregazione di Proapaganda Fide are examples of how this Counter-Reformation institution aimed to strengthen the Church in National context through strengthening the national cultures”. Clare Lois Carroll. ‘Exiles in a Global City: The Irish and Early Modern Rome, 1609-1783.’

A very good copy, entirely untrimmed, of this rare Gaelic imprint.

ESTC R41480. Wing O291C. Sweeney 3279

L3096

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