abbé d'Iona (✝ 704)
L'un des plus grands successeurs de saint Columba à la tête de l'abbaye d'Iona en Écosse. Son influence fut grande sur la société et l'Église de son temps.
Dans l’île d’Iona en Écosse, l’an 704, saint Adamnan, prêtre et abbé. Doté d’une connaissance excellente des Écritures et très zélé pour l’unité et la paix, il réussit par sa parole à persuader un grand nombre en Écosse et en Irlande de suivre l’usage romain pour la célébration de Pâques.
Saint Adamnan d’Iona
Neuvième Abbé d’Iona (Inner Hebrides)
Fête le 23 septembre
Drumhome, comté de Donegal, Irlande, v. 624 – † Iona 23 septembre 704
Autres graphies : Adamnan, Adaman (« petit Adam »), Eunan ou Adomnán
Adomnán (Adam, Aunan ou Eunan), né à Drumhome, près de Raphoe, au comté de Donegal (Irlande), devint moine au monastère là-bas. Plus tard en 679, Adamnan fut le neuvième abbé d’Iona, petite île de la côte écossaise, située juste au sud-ouest de la pointe de Mull, dans les Hébrides intérieures, et l’un de ses érudits les plus remarquables. Successeur de saint Columba, son œuvre la plus connue est sa « Vie de saint Columba », un document hagiographique de grande importance.
Il donna refuge à Aldfrid quand la couronne de Northumbrie était en controverse après la mort du père d’Aldfrid, le roi Oswy. En 686, quand Aldfrid accéda au trône, Adamnan lui rendit visite afin d’obtenir la libération de prisonniers irlandais. Deux ans plus tard,Adamnan visita plusieurs monastères anglais et fut persuadé par saint Ceolfrid d’adopter le calendrier romain pour la fête de Pâques. Adamnan travailla sans cesse par la suite avec beaucoup de succès à encourager les moines irlandais et les monastères à substituer leurs pratiques celtes avec celles de Rome. Il persuada le concile de Birr que les femmes seraient exemptes des guerres et que les femmes et les enfants ne devraient pas être faits prisonniers ou massacrés (accord appelé Loi d’Adamnan). Érudit célèbre pour sa piété, il écrivit une vie de saint Columba, une des plus importantes biographies du début du Moyen Age. Il a également écrit « De locis sanctis », une description de l’Orient, raconté par un évêque Franc, Arculf, dont le navire s’était échoué près de Iona, de retour de Jérusalem. Quelques-uns en Irlande pensent qu’Adamnan et saint Eunan sont la même personne, bien que ceci soit indéterminé. Il est mort à Iona le 23 septembre qui est son jour de fête.
La Vie de Saint Adamnan
627-704, abbé d'Iona. Alias Adomnan, Adam et Eunan. Adamnan naquit dans le Comté de Donegal (Irlande) et devint moine à Iona sous l'abbé Seghine, à qui il succédera en 679. Il devint tant célèbre comme écrivaint que comme un des protagonistes principaux dans le nord de l'Irlande contre le système Romain de calcul de la date de la Pâque. En 686 il vint en Northumbrie pour obtenir de son ancien élève le roi Aldfrith qu'il libère 60 prisonniers Irlandais, capturés durant le règne d'Egfrith (670-685). En 688 Adamnan visita Ceolfrith de Wearmouth, qui le convertit à la tradition d'Iona sur le calcul de la Pâque et d'autres pratiques. En 692, il prit par aux Synodes et Conventions Irlandais en tant que dirigeant des monastères d'Iona dans le nord de l'Irlande. Et en 697, il obtint un considérable succès, plaidant pour l'acceptation des dates de Pâque telles que suivies à Rome et virtuellement dans toute l'Eglise en Occident. Seuls ses propres monastères lui résistèrent.
Il fut aussi responsable de la "Loi d'Adamnan" ("Cain Adomnain") qui protégeait les femmes en les exemptant d'aller à la guerre et insistant qu'elles soient traitées comme non-combattantes. Les garçons et les clercs étaient protégés de même, et il prévoyait des sanctuaires réels. Ces règles furent acceptées partout en Irlande.
L'oeuvre principale d'Adamnan fut la célèbre Vie de Columba, abbé d'Iona. Ce très remarquable portrait d'un pionnier charismatique est une des plus éclatantes Vita's produites à l'époque. Il rédiga aussi un ouvrage sur les Lieux Saints en Terre Sainte, compilé sur base des informations fournies par l'évêque Gaulois Arculfus, qui avait fait naufrage dans l'ouest de la Grande-Bretagne. Bède connaissait cet ouvrage, mais apparement pas la Vie de Columba.
Après la mort d'Adamnan, Iona accepta la Pâque Romaine en 716. Son culte fleurit tant en Irlande qu'en Ecosse, avec des dédicaces en Donegal, Derry et Sligo, de même qu'Aberdeenshire, Banff, Forfar et les Iles de l'Ouest. En 727 les reliques d'Adamnan furent ramenées d'Iona en Irlande, afin de ramener la paix entre les clans du père d'Adamnan et les autres. Elles furent emmenées en procession entre les 40 églises qui avaient été sous la Règle d'Iona : le peuple jura d'obéir à la Loi d'Adamnan. Ses reliquaires furent profanés par les Normands en 830 et 1030. Fête : 23 septembre / 6 octobre [ 13 jours de plus dans l'ancien calendrier byzantin ]
Adomnan (Adamnan) of Iona, Abbot
September 23 (RM)
Today the Universal Church celebrates the memorial of St. Adomnan of Iona, Abbot, who died September 23, 704. He was the 9th abbot of Iona (near present-day Argyll, Scotland), the monastery founded by Saint Columba in 563. Born c. 627, Adomnan became abbot c. 679. At that time, abbots were members of the powerful Ui' Neill family, kings in northern Ireland.
There were different practices in various parts of the British Isles then. In Celtic monasteries there was a different method for dating Easter, a different tonsure, and the abbot held administrative superiority to a bishop.
Conflict over practice came to a head when King Egfrith of North Umbria (Celtic) married a Kentish princess (English/Universal) and the Synod of Whitby followed in 664 to resolve the differences between the Celtic and English churches. The king was won over by the English, but the Columban factions remained unresolved until Adomnan used his diplomatic skills to convert the Columbanus.
Adomnan had an open mind regarding issues damaging to unity but not essential to the faith. He worked for 15 years to emphasize the essential and downplay the differences. During this time he also established a law to protect women, children, and clergy from injury or participation in war (Cai'n Adomna'n or Law of the Innocents (697)) and wrote the Vita Columbae. The Cai'n Adomna'n established legal rights for women for the first time in the British Isles.
The Vita Columbae stresses St. Columba's relationship with God and his fight against exploitation, carelessness, falsehood, and murder. St. Adomnan upholds Columba as an Irish saint whose faith transcends petty divisions.
May God help us all to live in the spirit of St. Adomnan.
St. Adamnan of Ireland, Abbot
HE was the eighth in descent from the great Nial, king of Ireland, and from Conal the Great, ancestor of St. Columbkille. His parents were eminent for their rank and virtue. He was born in the year 626, at Rathboth, 1 now called Raphoe, in the county of Donegal, and embraced a monastic life with great humility and fervour, in the monastery which had been founded there by his kinsman St. Columb. Afterwards following the steps of his holy kinsman, he left Ireland, and retired to the celebrated monastery of Hij, of which he became fifth abbot. In 701 he was employed by Longsech, king of Ireland, on an embassy to Alfred, king of the Northern Saxons, to demand of the latter a reparation of the injuries committed by his subjects on the province of Meath, and carrying off the effects of the inhabitants before the troops of the Irish could arrive to chastise those invaders. Adamnan succeeded happily in this negotiation: he was favourably received by the Saxon monarch, and obtained full satisfaction for all the damages done to his countrymen in the foregoing year. While he continued in England he laid aside the custom of his predecessors, and conformed to the true time of celebrating Easter. Upon his return home, says Bede, 2 he used his utmost endeavours to guide his monks of Hij, and all those who were subject to that monastery, into the road of truth, which he himself walked in, but was not able to prevail. He therefore sailed into Ireland, his native country, and there preached to the natives, and with modest exhortations explained to them the true time for observing Easter: by which means he brought almost the whole island to a conformity with the universal church in that point of discipline. Having remained in Ireland to celebrate that festival according to the canons, he afterwards returned to Hij, and earnestly recommended to his own monks to conform in this particular to the Catholic custom; but did not compass his ends before his death, which happened in 705. However, he left among them a judicious treatise, On the right time of keeping Easter, which disposed them some time after to forsake their erroneous computation.
St. Adamnan wrote the life of St. Columbkille; he also wrote certain canons, and a curious description of the Holy Land, as that country stood in his time. This book furnished Bede with his principal memorials, l. De Locis Sanctis; and is published by Gretzer, and by Mabillon, t. 4, Act. Ord. St. Benedicti, p. 456. He mentions the tombs of St. Simeon and of St. Joseph at Jerusalem, many relics of the passion of Christ, the impression of the feet of our Saviour on Mount Olivet, covered with a church of a round figure, with a hole open on the top, over the place of the impression of the footsteps; he also mentions grasshoppers in the deserts of the Jordan, which the common people eat, boiled with oil; and a portion of the cross in the Rotunda church in Constantinople, which was exposed on a golden altar on the three last days of Holy Week, when the emperor, court, army, clergy, and others went to that church at different hours, to kiss that sacred wood. 3 The festival of St. Adamnan is kept with great solemnity in many churches in Ireland, of which he is titular patron, and in the whole diocess of Raphoe, of which he was a native. The abbatial church of Raphoe was changed into a cathedral soon after, when St. Eunan was consecrated the first bishop: of whom Sir James Ware could not find any further particulars. See Ware, p. 270, Colgan in MSS. ad 23 Sept. Suysken, t. 6, Sept. p. 640.
Note 1. Rath, in old Irish, signifies a town or military inclosure, and Both, a booth, or cottage: so that Rathboth is a town made up of cottages. [back]
Note 2. Hist. Eccles. l. 5, c. 16. [back]
Note 3. See Mabillon, t. 4. Act. Ord. Bened. p. 456. Bp. Tanner, de Scriptor. p. 5. [back]
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume IX: September. The Lives of the Saints. 1866
Abbot of Iona, born at Drumhome, County Donegal, Ireland, c. 624; died at the Abbey of Iona, in 704. He was educated by the Columban monks of his native place, subsequently becoming a novice at Iona in 650. In 679 he succeeded to the abbacy of Iona, which position he held up to his death. He was also president-general of all the Columban houses in Ireland. During his rule he paid three lengthy visits to Ireland, one of which is memorable for his success in introducing the Roman Paschal observance. On his third visit (697) he assisted at the Synod of Tara, when the Cain Adamnain, or Canon of Adamnan (ed. Kuno Meyer, London, 1905) was adopted, which freed women and children from the evils inseparable from war, forbidding them to be killed or made captive in times of strife. It is not improbable, as stated in the "Life of St. Gerald" (d. Bishop of Mayo, 732), that Adamnan ruled the abbey of Mayo from 697 until 23 Sept., 704, but in Ireland his memory is inseparably connected with Raphoe, of which he is patron.
From a literary point of view, St. Adamnan takes the very highest place as the biographer of St. Columba (Columcille), and as the author of a treatise "De Locis Sanctis". Pinkerton describes his "Vita Columbae" as "the most complete piece of biography that all Europe can boast of, not only at so early a period but even through the whole Middle Ages". It was printed by Colgan (from a copy supplied by Father Stephen White, S.J.), and by the Bollandists, but it was left for a nineteenth-century Irish scholar (Dr. Reeves, Protestant Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore) to issue, in 1837, the most admirable of all existing editions. St. Bede highly praises the tract "De Locis Sanctis", the autograph copy of which was presented by St. Adamnan to King Aldfrid of Northumbria, who had studied in Ireland. The "Four Masters" tells us that he was "tearful, penitent, fond of prayer, diligent and ascetic, and learned in the clear understanding of the Holy Scriptures of God." His feast is celebrated 23 September.
Grattan-Flood, William. "St. Adamnan." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 23 Sept. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01135c.htm>.
Distant relative of Saint Columba. Monk at Drunhome, Donegal, Ireland. Abbot of Iona in 679. President-general of all the Columban houses in Ireland. Evangelized throughout Ireland.
Adamnan gave sanctuary to Prince Aldfrid when the throne of Northumbria was in dispute following the death of King Oswy. When Aldfrid became king in 686, Aldamnan secured the release of all Irish prisoners taken in the conflict, and visited the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow.
Persuaded by Saint Ceolfrid, Adamnan adopted the Roman calendar for determining Easter, and then worked for the adoption of many Roman liturgical practices in the Celtic region. This so displeased some brother monks at Iona that from 692 on, Adamnan rarely went there.
Attended the Council of Birr and Synod of Tara in 697 at which he helped enact the Canons of Adamnan, laws that helped protect civilian and clerical populations in areas at war, prohibiting the murder or enslavement of non-combatant women and children. A noted scholar, he wrote the biography Life of Saint Columba in the late 680’s, a work that survives today (see links below). He also wrote De locis sanctis (On the Holy Places), a popular description of Palestine based on the notes of and interviews with the Frankish pilgrim bishop Arculf. Renovated and revitalized the monastery of Raphoe, Ireland.
- 23 September 704 at Iona Abbey
- relics taken to various Irish sites during the next century during peacemaking conferences
- most relics were destroyed during Danish incursions in 830 and 1030
- man in prayer with the moon and seven stars over his head
- man writing (his biography of Saint Columba)