Confesseur - évêque de Lindisfarne (✝ 676)
Originaire d'Irlande, où il était moine bénédictin, il vint en Angleterre et fut évêque de Lindisfarne. Il prit une part importante dans la fixation de la date de Pâques dans ce pays, avant de retourner en Irlande.
Colman of Lindisfarne B (AC)
Born in Connaught, Ireland, c. 605; died on Inishbofin, 676 (some chronicles give it as 672, 674, or 675; some parts of Ireland celebrate his feast on August 8.
Saint Colman became a monk at Iona under Saint Columba and c. 661 succeeded Saint Finan as the third abbot-bishop of Lindisfarne, the most important monastery in Northumbria, England, close to the royal castle at Bamburg. At that time the disagreement in Northumbria about the date of Easter, style of tonsure, the role of the bishop, and other Celtic ecclesiastical usages had reached a critical stage, and in 664 a synod met at Whitby Abbey under Saint Hilda to settle the matter.
Saint Colman was the chief defender of the Celtic customs; Saints Wilfrid and Agilbert those of Rome. King Oswy of Northumbria came favoring the Irish view, but accepted Wilfrid's argument in favor of adopting the practice of the rest of the known contemporary Church. Thereupon Colman, refusing to accept the king's ruling in a spiritual matter, resigned his bishopric and retired, first to Iona and then (c. 667) to Inishbofin off the Connaught coast. All his Irish monks and 30 English monks went with him and brought with them some of the relics of Saint Aidan.
But the two elements of the community disagreed among themselves because, as Saint Bede reports, the English complained that all the work of the harvest was left to them. Apparently, each summer the Irish monks went off, leaving the Anglo-Saxons to plant and harvest the fields. So, Colman made a separate foundation for the English monks on the mainland called Mayo of the Saxons. The first abbot of Mayo after Colman was an Englishman, Saint Gerald, who lived until 732. Bede praises the fact that the abbots of Mayo were elected, rather than following the Celtic custom as a "hereditary" monastery.
Saint Bede, who was not in sympathy with the distinctively Celtic practices, gives a glowing account of the church of Lindisfarne under Saint Colman's rule. He emphasizes the example of frugality and simplicity of living set by the bishop and the complete devotion of his clergy to their proper business of imparting the word of God and ministering to their people.
Blessed Alcuin also praised the monks of the Mayo of the Saxons for leaving their homeland in voluntary exile, where they shone by their learning among a "very barbarous nation" (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Montague).
Feb 18 – St Colman (605-676)
18 February, 2012
The Venerable Bede points to the example of Colman's frugality and simplicity of living and his devotion to imparting the Word of God.
Colman was a monk of Iona and the third abbot of Lindisfarne (image) after Aidan and Fionán. He defended the Celtic ritual practices at the Synod of Whitby, but when the decision was that Roman practice would prevail for the sake of unity, he resigned and went first to Iona and then to Inishbofin, Co Galway. Patrick Duffy tells his story.
Monk of Iona
Colman was born probably in Connacht, Ireland, around 605 and became a monk on Iona. He probably was among the group of monks that went with St Aidan to Lindisfarne in 635. On the death of Aidan’s successor, St Fionán, as abbot-bishop of Lindisfarne, Colman became its third abbot-bishop.
Third abbot-bishop of Lindisfarne
The Venerable Bede gives a glowing account of the church of Lindisfarne under Saint Colman’s rule. He points to the example of frugality and simplicity of living set by Colman and the complete devotion of his clergy to their proper business of imparting the Word of God and ministering to their people.
Synod of Whitby (663/4)
At this time the differences between the Celtic and Roman ritual practices, especially about Easter and about the tonsure, were coming to a critical stage with Wilfrid, returned from the continent, now the articulate leader of the faction favouring the Roman method of calculating Easter. This had been introduced earlier by Paulinus and the second group of monks that came to Kent from Rome in 601. At the Synod of Whitby King Oswy of Northumbria ruled that his kingdom would calculate Easter and observe the monastic tonsure according to the customs of Rome, rather than according to the customs practised by Iona and its satellite institutions.
Resignation: return to Iona and Ireland
Colman resigned his abbacy-bishopric and retired, first to Iona and then to Inishbofin off the Connacht coast. All the Irish monks went with him and thirty of the English. But the two groups within the community disagreed, the English complaining that the Irish monks went wandering, preaching around the country and that all the harvest work was left to them. Colman then made a separate foundation for the English monks at what came to be called “Mayo of the Saxons”. Its first abbot was an Englishman, St Gerald of Mayo, who lived till 732. See 13th March.
Death and memory
Colman died in comparative obscurity probably around 676. Bede praised the new Irish monastery of the Anglo-Saxon monks, especially the fact that the abbots of Mayo were elected, rather than following Celtic custom as a “hereditary” monastery, but studiously avoided reference to Colman and the Irish monks.