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Trinity College Dublin: Peregrinatio in the Careers of Columcille and his Monastic Family
June 29, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+1
Columcille in Context: Theologians and Historians in Conversation to Commemorate the 15th Centenary of the Birth of Saint Columba of Iona
Professor Jonathan Wooding
Honorary Professor, Medieval and Early Modern Centre, University of Sydney
Peregrinatio in the Careers of Columcille and his Monastic Family
The early Irish motif of peregrinatio (self-exile as an expression of monastic vocation) is best known from studies of St Columbanus (d. 615) and those who followed in his path to the Continent. His older contemporary and namesake Columcille (St Columba of Iona, d. 597), was also a peregrinus. Assessments of the peregrinationes of Columcille and his monastic familia, however, are complicated by a local historiography that at times struggles to dissect different causes of monastic travel and settlement.
This presentation will examine a number of instances of peregrinatio in the western Scottish and Atlantic islands, from the sixth century, the time of Columcille himself, through to the ninth century, by which time Columban monks were making voyages to islands lying far to the north and north-west. I will consider the different theological ideas that are found in the accounts of these journeys, as well as their implications for studies of settlement—including recent fieldwork in Iceland with which I am engaged.