Faithful Friday: Colmán of Lindisfarne

By Sarah Levesque (Rated G)

Colman of Lindisfarne was born in Ireland around 605AD. He first joined the monastery of Iona, then was moved to the monastery of Lindisfarne soon after its founding in 635. Eventually he became the abbot there, a position that also made him the bishop of Northumbria. 

Around 664AD, a controversy arose about when Easter was to be celebrated, for the Celtic peoples were accustomed to determine it according to one method while the Roman Church’s method was slightly different. This meant that Easter was celebrated twice for many years, which left all discontent. Finally, King Oswy and his son, Alchfrid, called the Synod of Whitby to settle the matter. After debate, the synod conformed to the Roman Church, reminding those present that they ought to follow the successor of St. Peter rather than St. Columbia (see Bede XXV). Colman, unwilling to forego his traditions, resigned his position and, followed by others who agreed with him, built several churches and eventually settled on Inishbofin, off the coast of Ireland. Among the monasteries he established is that of Mayo, known for its saintly and scholarly monks. St. Bede the historian (d.753), despite disagreeing strongly with Colman’s stance, praised Colman’s discretion and called him “frugal and temperate”, relating that any money received by Colman’s monastery went straight to the poor (XXVI).

Colman of Lindisfarne died in 675, and is venerated in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions. May we aspire to be virtuous enough that we, like Saint Colman, may be looked upon favorably by those who disagree with us.


Ecclesiastical History by St. Bede

Colman of Lindisfarne: Unam Sanctam Catholicam

Saint Colman of Lindisfarne: Encyclopedia Britannica

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