Monday, January 18, 2016

Ireland 2015 - 1400th Anniversary of St. Columban

ISSUE DATE: 22 October 2015
STAMP SIZE: 40.6 x 29.8 mm
STAMP DESIGN: Steve Simpson

St. Columban was an Irish missionary who founded several monasteries on the European continent from around AD 590 in the Frankish and Lombard kingdoms, the most famous of which is Luxeuil Abbey in present-day France and Bobbio Abbey in present-day Italy. 

He was born around AD 543 near the Carlow/Wexford border, received a good classical education and resolved early to embrace an ascetic life. He studied under Sinell of Cleenish in a monastery in County Fermanagh and then spent over 20 years in a Bangor monastery where he prayed and fasted. After that he travelled throughout Europe before he died in his beloved monastery in Bobbio in AD 615. 

Many of his letters and sermons were preserved and these, together with his poems and the rules he composed for his monks, influenced European life and culture well into the Middle Ages. The monastery in Bobbio later became a cultural centre on a par with the famous Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino, which is also in Italy.
On November 23, 2015, many Christian communities right across Europe will celebrate the 1400th anniversary of the death of St. Columban who is considered to be one of the most important Irish people of all time. St. Columban is sometimes known as St. Columbanus, which is the Latinised form of Columban, meaning “white dove”. 

The €1.05 stamp was designed by acclaimed Dublin-based illustrator and designer Steve Simpson. It features an image of St. Columban, taken from a stained glass window in Mount St Joseph's Abbey, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.

Stamp images and description thanks to An Post - Irish Stamps