Columba, Saint

Columba, Saint
or Colum or Columcille

born с 521, Tyrconnell
died June 8/9, 597, Iona; feast day June 9

Irish abbot and missionary.

A member of the warrior aristocracy, he was excommunicated for his part in a bloody battle. Exiled, he set out to do penance as a missionary. He founded two famous monasteries in Ireland before taking 12 disciples to the Scottish island of Iona (с 563), where they built a church and monastery that served as a base for the conversion of the Scottish Picts, and thereby Scotland, to Christianity.

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▪ Christian missionary
also called  Colum, or Columcille  
born c. 521, Tyrconnell [now County Donegal, Ire.]
died June 8/9, 597, Iona [Inner Hebrides, Scot.]; feast day June 9
 abbot and missionary traditionally credited with the main role in the conversion of Scotland to Christianity.

      Columba studied under Saints Finnian of Moville and Finnian of Clonard and was ordained priest about 551. He founded churches and the famous monasteries Daire Calgaich, in Derry, and Dair-magh, in Durrow.

      Columba and his 12 disciples erected a church and a monastery on the island of Iona (c. 563) as their springboard for the conversion of Scotland. It was regarded as the mother house and its abbots as the chief ecclesiastical rulers even of the bishops. Columba gave formal benediction and inauguration to Aidan MacGabrain of Dunadd as king of Dalriada.

      Columba accompanied Aidan to Ireland (575) and took a leading part in a council held at Druim Cetta, which determined the position of the ruler of Dalriada in relation to the king of Ireland. The last years of Columba's life appear to have been spent mainly in Iona, where he was already revered as a saint. He and his associates and successors spread the gospel more than any other contemporary group of religious pioneers in Britain.

      Three Latin hymns may be attributed to Columba with some degree of certainty. Excavations in 1958 and 1959 revealed Columba's living cell and the outline of the original monastery.

Additional Reading
The principal source for the life of Columba is that written by St. Adamnan, ninth abbot of Iona, in the 7th century, Adomnan's Life of Columba, ed. and trans. by Alan Orr Anderson and Marjorie Ogilvie Anderson (1961).

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Universalium. 2010.

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