St. Columbanus of Bobbio
The founder of several European monasteries, St. Columbanus was born c.
543 in Leinster, Ireland, and was educated at Bangor. Late in life (c.
590), he left Ireland to establish, at the invitation of King Childebert
of Burgandy, a monastery at Annegray. He founded monasteries at Luxovium
(Luxeuil) and at Fountaines as well. In 603, a synod accused him of
keeping Easter by the Celtic date, although the real charge seems to have
been criticizing the lax morals of the Burgundian court. Columbanus
appealed to Gregory the Great, but nothing is known of the outcome of this
act. Seven years later, Columbanus left Burgundy to preach to the Allemani
of Switzerland; when Burgundy captured Switzerland, he fled to northern
Italy, where he established a monastery at Bobbio in 613. His monasteries
were known for the strictness of their rules (which the Benedictines later
ameliorated) and their emphasis on corporal punishment. In addition to his
rule for monks, Columbanus wrote a peneteniary and poems. He died in 615
Karen Rae Keck
Jonas of Bobbio:
Life of St. Columban:
Based on interviews with Columbanus'
disciples and friends by a monk who
entered the monastery three years after
its founder's repose.
Describes the saint's life in France, his miracles
(including the multiplication of beer),
his amicable relations with numerous wild
animals, and his
involvement in Merovingian politics.
Munro translation, 1907.
As the editor puts it, this song
"captures the mood of adventure
and robust faith that animated the Irish
monks." Tierney translation.
Return to St Pachomius Library.