Monday, June 10, 2013

Saint Columba's Day

     This past Sunday, the 9th, the Orthodox Church in the west celebrated the feast of Our venerable and God-bearing Father Columba of Iona, Enlightener of Scotland (December 7, 521 - June 9, 597) Columba, also known as Columcille, meaning "Dove of the Church" was an Irish missionary who helped re-introduce Christianity to Scotland and the north of England. 

From St Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England:
IN the year of our Lord 565, when Justin, the younger, the successor of Justinian, obtained the government of the Roman empire, there came into Britain from Ireland a famous priest and abbot, marked as a monk by habit and manner of life, whose name was Columba, to preach the word of God to the provinces of the northern Picts, who are separated from the southern parts belonging to that nation by steep and rugged mountains. For the southern Picts, who dwell on this side of those mountains, had, it is said, long before forsaken the errors of idolatry, and received the true faith . . . Columba came into Britain in the ninth year of the reign of Bridius, who was the son of Meilochon, and the powerful king of the Pictish nation, and he converted that nation to the faith of Christ, by his preaching and example.

     Columba established the famous monastery of Iona in 563, from which came such great saints as St. Cuthbert and St Brendan the Voyager.

     Columba is also the source of the first known reference to the Loch Ness Monster. According to the story, in 565 he came across a group of Picts who were burying a man killed by the monster, and brought the man back to life. In another version, he is said to have saved the man while the man was being attacked, driving away the monster with the sign of the cross.

    St. Columba, along with St. Patrick of Ireland (March 17) and St. Brigid of Kildaire (February 1) is one of the three patron saints of Ireland. The three are buried together in Downpatrick in County Down, deep within the famous Hill of Down.


O Columba Spes Scotorum
nos tuorum meritorum interventu
beatorum fac consortes angelorulm. Alleluia

O Columba, hope of Scots,
By your merits' mediation.
Make us companions
of the blessed angels. Alleluia

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