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Thursday, June 09, 2011

St. Columba of Iona: Patron Saint of Bookbinders and Poets

St. Columba of Iona: 
Patron Saint of Bookbinders and Poets
Columba is the patron saint of poets and bookbinders, and is also invoked against floods. Since there has been a lot of flooding, not only in El Paso, but all over the nation, Columba may be significant to you. 

Born in Ireland, he is the most famous of the saints associated with Scotland. Columba was a poet. He is belived to have written the famed latin poem Altus Prosator:

Altus *prosator, *vetustus
dierum et ingenitus
erat absque origine
primordii et *crepidine
est et erit in sæcula
sæculorum infinita;
cui est unigenitus
Xristus et sanctus spiritus
coæternus in gloria
deitatis perpetua.
Non tres deos *depropimus
sed unum Deum dicimus,
salva fide in personis
tribus gloriosissimis.
High creator, Ancient of Days, and unbegotten, who was without origin at the beginning and foundation, who was and shall be in infinite ages of ages; to whom was only begotten Christ, and the Holy Ghost, co-eternal in the everlasting glory of Godhood. We do not propose three gods, but we speak of one God, saving faith in three most glorious Persons
 A book lover, Columba made a hobbie of collecting books .
"Columba himself dearly loved books, and spared no pains to obtain or make copies of Psalters, Bibles, and other valuable manuscripts for his monks. In 540 his first master Finnian brought back from Rome the first copy of St. Jerome's Vulgate to reach Ireland. Finnian guarded this precious volume jealously, but Columba got permission to look at it, and surreptitiously made a copy of the Psalter for his own use. Finnian, on being told of this, laid claim not only to the original but to the copy made by Columba's own hand. Columba refused to give it up, and the question of ownership was put before King Diarmaid, Overlord of Ireland. Columba lost this early "copyright" case when the King said: "To every cow her calf, and to every book its son-book. Therefore the copy you made, O Colum Cille, belongs to Finnian." (All Saint)

When Columba bacame to old to travel, he maintained his time copying manuscripts. His sainthood may be attricuted to the event right before his death, as he left copy to go to the chapel: 

"As the bell rang out for the midnight office, Columba rose and went in haste to reach the church before the others. As he knelt alone in prayer before the altar, his servant Diarmait following behind from a distance saw the whole church filled inside with angelic light around the saint, but as he reached the door, the light vanished. The lamps of the brethren had not yet been brought, but feeling his way in the dark Diarmait found Columba lying before the altar. Rising him up a little and sitting down at his side, he cradled the holy head on his bosom. As the other monks gathered with their lamps, they began to lament at the sight of their father dying. Some of those who were present related how, before his soul left him, Columba opened his eyes and looked about him with a wonderful joy and gladness in his face as he could see the angels coming to meet him. Diarmait held up the saint's right hand to bless the choir of monks, and, shortly after midnight, Columba was promoted to glory." (All Saints )

"His skill as a scribe can be seen in the Cathach of St. Columba at the Irish Academy, the oldest surviving example of Irish majuscule writing and the earliest existing example of a Celtic illuminated manuscript. It was later enshrined in silver and bronze and venerated in churches."(All Saints)

St. Columba died shortly after midnight on June 9, 597. 

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Irish Poets
On the topics of Irish poets, El Paso's Lawrence Welsh, writer and poet made the "Top 100 Irish Americans" for 2011. See Ramon Renteria's story in the El Paso Times: "In the top 100: Irish America 'zine salutes El Pasoan Lawrence Welsh."

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