Columba of Iona, St.

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Irish ascetic and monastic founder; b. Gartan, Donegal c. 521; d. Iona, June 9, 597. Columba, of the royal O'Neill dynasty, was educated at Clonard under St. Finnian of Moville, and at Glasnevin near Dublin. He was ordained in 551 and established a monastery at Derry. In 563 he migrated to the island of Iona (Hy) and established a monastic center for missions among the Picts and Northumbrians, as well as for scholarly pursuit. He apparently visited the Irish mainland on one or two occasions, and in the Assembly of Druim-Cetta (575) he acted as a peacemaker. He is credited with the authorship of poems in both Latin (Altus Prosator ) and early Gaelic. The "cathach" psalter, the oldest known manuscript of the Gallican Psalter, may be in his handwriting. Columba left no written rule, but his Vita by adamnan of iona gives a description of the manner of life of the monks. He is variously called Colm, Colum, Columbkille, Columcille, Columbus, and Combs.

Feast: June 9.

Bibliography: adamnan of iona, Life of Columba, ed. and tr. a. o. and m. o. anderson (New York 1962); tr. r. sharpe (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England 1991). m. a. fitzgerald, The World of Colmcille (Dublin 1997). d. forristal, Colum Cille (Dublin 1997). m. herbert, Iona, Kells, and Derry: The History and Hagiography of the Monastic Familia of Columba (Oxford 1988). b. lacey, Colum Cille and the Columban Tradition (Dublin 1997). m. o'donnell, The Life of Colum Cille, ed. b. lacey (Dublin 1998). l. whiteside, In Search of Columba (Blackrock Co., Dublin 1997). Lives of the Scottish Saints, tr. w. m. metcalfe (Felinfach 1990). The Prophecies of St. Malachy and St. Columbkille, ed. h. e. cardinale and w. coslett quin (Gerrards Cross 1969). j.f. kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland,v. 1 Ecclesiastical (New York 1929) 1:422442.

[j. ryan]

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Columba of Iona, St.

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Columba of Iona, St.