Colmán of Lindisfarne
Colmán of Lindisfarne
|Bishop of Lindisfarne|
Stained glass window of St. Colmán at St. Benin's Church, Kilbennen, County Galway
|Term ended||resigned 664|
|Predecessor||Finan of Lindisfarne|
|Successor||Tuda of Lindisfarne|
|Died||18 February 675|
|Feast day||18 February|
|Venerated in||Eastern Orthodox Church|
Roman Catholic Church
Colman was a native of the west of Ireland and had received his education on Iona. He was probably a nobleman of Canmaicne. Colman succeeded Aidan and Finan as bishop of Lindisfarne, being appointed in 661. Colman resigned the Bishopric of Lindisfarne after the Synod of Whitby called by King Oswiu of Northumbria decided to calculate Easter using the method of the First Ecumenical Council instead of his preferred Celtic method.
Later tradition states that between the years 665 and 667, Colman founded several churches in Scotland before returning to Iona. However, there are no seventh-century records of such activity by him. From Iona he sailed for Ireland, settling at Inishbofin in 668 AD where he founded a monastery. When Colman came to Mayo he brought with him half the relics of Lindisfarne, including the bones of St. Aidan and a part of the true cross. This was reputed to be in Mayo Abbey until its vanishment during the Reformation in 1537.
Colman was stepping into a landscape that had been decimated by the plague of 664-665. He may have been reviving an earlier church on the island or one in the area in central Connacht where Mag Éo was founded later. On Inishbofin a rift occurred between the Irish and the English "because in summer the Irish went off to wander on their own around places they knew instead of assisting at harvest, and then, as winter approached, came back and wanted to share whatever the English monks had gathered."
What was the reason for their intermittent absence? Earlier commentators suspected that the two nations came from different agricultural backgrounds and that the Irish intermittently removed themselves from the island with the monastery’s livestock for the purpose of ‘booleying’, a form of transhumance. It is also possible that the Irish visited their kinsfolk on the mainland. Returning to the island in winter, they helped to consume the fruits of the Saxons' labours. This situation inevitably led to tensions within the community. Disputes arose between the Saxon and Irish monks after a short time. Colman brought his Saxon followers onto the mainland and founded a monastery for them at "Magh Eó" - the Plain of Yew Trees, subsequently known as "Mayo of the Saxons".
- "History of Mayo Abbey", Mayo, Ireland
- "A History of Mayo Abbey", Museums of Mayo
- Wallace, Martin. A Little book of Celtic Saints Belfast: Appletree Press, 1995, ISBN 0-86281-456-1, p. 59
- Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 219
- Grattan-Flood, William. "St. Colman." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 12 May 2013
- Walsh A New Dictionary of Saints p. 127
- Nolan, Gerard (2014). Mayo: History and Society. Dublin: Geography Publications. p. 79. ISBN 978 0 906602 683.
- Brett, Joe. "The Monastic Settlement of 'Mayo of the Saxons'", Mayo Abbey Parish Magazine, 1994
- Ó Riain, Pádraig (2011). A Dictionary of Irish Saints. Dublin: Four Courts Press. p. 190. ISBN 978-1-84682-318-3.