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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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COLUMBAN (543-615), Irish saint and writer, was born in Leinster in 543, and was educated in the monastery of Bangor, Co. Down. About the year 585 he left Ireland together with twelve other monks, and established himself in the Vosges, among the ruins of an ancient fortification called Anagrates, the present Anegray in the department of Haute-Saone. His enemies accused him before a synod of French bishops (602) for keeping Easter according to the old British and now unorthodox way, and a more powerful conspiracy was organized against him at the court of Burgundy for boldly rebuking the crimes of King Theuderich II. and the queen-mother Brunhilda. He was banished and forcibly removed from his monastery, and with St Gall and others of the monks he withdrew into Switzerland, where he preached with no great success to the Suebi and Alamanni. Being again compelled to flee, he retired to Italy, and founded the monastery of Bobbio in the Apennines, where he remained till his death, which took place on the 21st of November 615. His writings, which include some Latin poems, prove him a man of learning, and he appears to have been acquainted not only with the Latin classics, but also with Greek, and even Hebrew.

The collected edition of St Columban's writings was published by Patrick Fleming in his Collectanea sacra Hiberni (Louvain, 1667), and reproduced by Migne, p. 4, vol. lxxxvi. (Paris, 1844). See further, Wright's Biographia Literaria. Columban's Regula Coenobitalis cum Poenitentiali is to be found in the Codex Regularum (Paris, 1638). A complete bibliography is given in U. Chevallier, Repertoire des sources hist. (Bio. Bibliogr.), vol. i. 990 (Paris, 1905).

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Columban'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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