Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This Day in Christian History: Death of St. Columba

This Day in Christian History: June 9

June 9, 597: Death of St. Columba

Saint Columba was born in Ireland in 521. On his father's side, he was the descendant of a High Irish King. His mother was the sister of Saint Martin.
He is best known for his missionary work in Scotland. After studying under many well-known church leaders, Columba crossed over to Scotland with 12 of his followers and founded a church in Iona. He is credited with being the leading figure to introduce and spread the Christian faith in Scotland.
Columba had many miracles occur during his ministry. Once, he was attempting to evangelize one of the Scottish towns when they threw him out of the city, closed the gates, and tried to drown out his preaching with music. His voice miraculously raised above the instruments and was heard to the entire crowd. Then the gates came open, so he walked in and won many converts to Christ.

He died in Iona at the age of 77 on June 9, 597. According to the Catholic encyclopedia:
In the spring of 597 he knew that his end was approaching. On Saturday, 8 June, he ascended the hill overlooking his monastery and blessed for the last time the home so dear to him. That afternoon he was present at Vespers, and later, when the bell summoned the community to the midnight service, he forestalled the others and entered the church without assistance. But he sank before the altar, and in that place breathed forth his soul to Cod, surrounded by his disciples. This happened a little after midnight between the 8th and 9th of June 597. He was in the 77th year of his age. The monks buried him within the monastic enclosure. After the lapse of a century or more his bones were disinterred and placed within a suitable shrine.

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