Give an account of the contribution made by Colmcille (Columba) to the development of the Catholic Celtic Church (35 marks)

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Give an account of the contribution made by Colmcille (Columba) to the development of the Catholic Celtic Church (35 marks)

Charlotte McCaffrey                                          Mrs McCormick

Saint Columba lived in the era which is often referred to as the “Dark Ages”.    Because very little was written down during this period, it is very difficult to be sure of what exactly took place at this time.  Many of the ancient documents in which this information was recorded have been lost.  The information we can conclude regarding Saint Colmcille have been passed down from generation to generation.  Traditionally, stories tell us that Columba was born in Gartan on the 7th of December 521.  Saint Columba was christened Criomhthann which means fox, but this was later changed to Colmcille, which means “Dove of the church.”   Colmcille was a member of a noble and very significant family.  His father was called Feidlimidh, and he was great-grandson of Nialle Hostages, who had Uí Neil tribe named after him.  His mother was a descendant of Cathair Moor, a king of Leinster, who was called Eithner.  Colmcille was educated by Cruithnechan, who was his foster father.  Foster fathers were not people who took care of people, but rather helped them develop spiritually.  Columba also studied under the Christian bard Gemman, before Finnian of Clonard introduced him to monastic living.  It was in Gemman that he was ordained a priest, and then completed his education under Mobhi at Glasnevin and continued to have associations with some with Finnian of Moville and Enda of Aran.  In 536, in Derry, he set up monastic foundations, aged only twenty five. It has been suggested by Smyth that he founded Durrow in Ofally, in the 1580’s, and that he founded Iona in approximately 563.  Some scholars would associate Saint Columba with more than fifty other monasteries.  In 561, it is said that Colmcille began to involve himself in politics, with the Battle of Cúl Dreimne, and in 562, and in Synod at Teltown, in 562, the issue of whether or not to revoke the ex-communication of Colmcille was discussed.  Colmcille landed in Iona on the 13th May 563  and visited King Bruide.  Colmcille worked on evangelising the people of Iona for thirty four more years after this.  In 575, Colmcille attended the convention of Druim Cett.  Colmcille died in 597, at approximately seventy six years of age.

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Colmcille sold from Ireland to Iona in 563.  It is unclear of his exact reason for doing so, but there are a few suggestions as to why.  According to Adomnán, a hagiographer at the time, and author of Colmcille’s Life, Colmcille left planning a voluntary exile with Christ.  This information though, could be said to be unreliable, as it was the job of the hagiographer to paint the Saint in the best possible light, and therefore they would not say something that would make them look bad.

An other possible reason for the departure of Colmcille is that he copied ...

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