May 10, 2011

Feast of St. Comgall

Today's Bangor Abbey
Today is St. Comgall Day. He was the founder of the monastery at Bangor in Northern Ireland. The Irish Annals place his birth between 510 and 520 and his death around 602. He was born in the ancient kingdom of Dalaradia in Ulster, in today's County Antrim. He may have first been a soldier and then studied under Finnian in Conlard, along with the other great monastic fathers. He practiced a strict form of Christian monasticism on an island on Loch Erne. Only one meal per day and that eaten in silence. Of all his monastic settlements, the most famous is at Bangor in present day County Down on the southern shores of Belfast opposite Carrickfergus. Bangor's picturesque setting is well known. (Read more about Bangor here.)

Bangor was established sometime between 552 and 555. The Rule of St. Comgall survives from the 7th century in the Ambrosian Library at Milan and is referred to as The Antiphonary of Bangor. It was carried to Bobbio at some point in history by an Irish monk. Comgall oversaw his monastery for 50 years. It was known all over Europe as a great center of learning. As many as 3,000 monks may have studied there at one time and the monastery prospered until the Dane invasion of 822. The abbey was rebuilt in the 12th century and modeled after Armagh, the largest church in Ireland at the time. You can read more about the history here.

1 comment:

  1. I have a special liking for St Comgall.
    Thanks for the picture of Bangor!