Thursday, June 9, 2016

For All the Saints: Columba

Here is a favorite saint of mine, honored across the Christian church calendars on this anniversary of his death in 597. I first learned about Columba (also known as Columcille, which means "Dove of the Church"), when a best friend was married in a Catholic church named for him. Columba was born in 521 near Donegal. He was a monk and then a priest. He was involved in an argument about the copying of a psalter, and unfortunately, the dispute lead to a full-scale battle, the Battle of Cul Dremhe, with many casualties. Talk about a church fight!  In penance for what happened, Columba left Ireland and embarked for Scotland. He landed on Iona. There he founded a monastery and conducted a renowned missionary effort to Scotland. Interestingly, he is said to have raised from the death a man killed by the Loch Ness Monster. He is revered in Scotland and is one of the three patron saints of Ireland (with St. Patrick and St. Brigid of Kildaire). He was long considered the traditional author of the Book of Kells.

Here is a photo in 2011 I took of the Columba window at Edinburgh Castle.

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