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2015 is the 1400th anniversary of the death of Columbanus. In “Columbanus- The First European” we learn about this remarkable man who played such a definitive role in the cultural, educational, and spiritual renewal of Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire - a man who is arguably the most significant Irish religious figure.
Columbanus was a man who crossed borders - literally and figuratively. He was born and raised in the south of Ireland but received his spiritual formation in the north where he entered monastic life in Bangor in Co Down.
From Bangor, he left his homeland in middle age as a self imposed exile for Christ. Columbanus’ remarkable odyssey from the coast of the North of Ireland, through mainland Europe to Bobbio at the foothills of the Apennine mountains of the North of Italy, was a journey of some two thousand miles into the disintegrating heartlands of the former Roman Empire. He transcended tunic, confessional and political divides by embodying the Christian message that we are all pilgrims on a journey to another homeland.
He is still crossing borders - for this first millennium man has an enduring relevance even to, and perhaps especially for, the third millennium.
He is one of the earliest and strongest voices in Christian Ireland, the first person to communicate a sense of Irish identity in writing and the first to introduce us to the concept of a united Europe.
Presented by Mary McAleese
with Fr. Sean McDonagh and Dr. Alexander O'Hara.
Readings from selected writings by Enda Oates.
Sound Supervision by Mark McGrath
Series Producer Kevin Reynolds