You are currently viewing St Columba. Who was Columba of Ireland?

St Columba. Who was Columba of Ireland?

According to historical sources, St. Columba means “holy dove”. Although he was given the name ‘Columba’, meaning dove, at baptism, because he spent so much time in church as a child, people called him ‘Colum-Cille’s, meaning ‘Dove of the Church’, and the saint is known by this name to this day in Ireland and Scotland.

At his baptism, the saint was given the name Columba, which translates as ‘dove’. Because he spent his childhood in the church, and because he would later travel the land of Ireland as a ‘troubadour’ of Christ, he would be nicknamed Columcille, Columcellus, or Colme, meaning ‘dove’ of the Church.

According to the custom of the time, Columba was entrusted to an improved priest named Cruitnecan, who, in addition to the fine education he gave him, also instilled in him a love of the Church. Thus the saint entered the monastery of Moville, whose abbot was Saint Bishop Finian, who also ordained him a bishop.

Tradition has recorded many stories of the miracles and wonderful healings performed by Columba, who also apparently enjoyed the gift of prophecy.

According to biblical sources, one of Columba’s miracles was to baptize a child with water sprinkled from the rock at his prayers, just like Moses. Once, being in the lands of Scotland, some peasants brought a child to Columba to baptize him. Because they could find no water nearby, Columba knelt and prayed at length. Then, blessing a nearby rock, a stream of water gushed from it, just as Moses had done in the wilderness. With this water Columba baptized the child, making a prophecy about him which was later fulfilled.

He also revealed to people the sins they had committed or told them of things that had happened far away or would happen in the future. Columba was also given great power over unclean spirits, and many miracles he performed are reported.