Saint Talarican lived from about 680 to about 740. His name is sometimes alternatively given as Talaric, Talarica, Tarkin, Talorgan or Tarquin. He was a native Pictish priest who became Bishop of Sodor in about 720. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Almost nothing is known about the origins and upbringing of Talarican. Some sources claim him to be - like most early Celtic clerics - Irish, but most agree he was Pictish by birth. He worked widely across what is now northern Scotland and the islands, and gained a reputation for piety and discipline, offering Holy Mass every day. In about 720 he was appointed Bishop of Sodor by Pope Gregory II.
Bishop of Sodor? Most readers of this feature, like its author, will think of Sodor as a fictional island in the Irish Sea, used by the Reverend W. Awdry for the setting for his "Thomas the Tank Engine" books. In fact the Reverend Audrey was promoted to invent the Island of Sodor after a visit to the Isle of Man, where he encountered the (real and still existing) Church of England Diocese of Sodor and Man. He decided that as there existed an Isle of Man, why not also an Isle of Sodor?
The medieval "Bishop of Sodor" was in charge of the Diocese of Sodor (also sometimes called the Diocese of the Isles), one of thirteen bishoprics into which the early church in what is now (more or less) Scotland was divided. It effectively covered the Isle of Man, all of the inner and outer Hebridean Islands, plus Kintyre and Cowal.
Talarican's job must have entailed a great deal of travel: his area of responsibility is large and wide-ranging even by today's standards. He is said to have died on the island of Lismore. His name is remembered in the dedications of a number of churches across Moray, Ross and Aberdeenshire, plus others as far afield as Skye, and the (now uninhabited) island of Taransay in the Western Isles. A notable example of a church dedicated to Saint Talarican is Old Fordyce Church in Moray.