Donan and companions

(d. 618)

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(d. 618),

monks and martyrs. An Irish monk of Iona under Columba, Donan founded a monastery at Eigg (Inner Hebrides). While the monks were celebrating Mass on Easter night, a gang of robbers (possibly Vikings) arrived on the island, herded the monks into the refectory, and set fire to it. Those who tried to escape were killed by the sword. One story placed responsibility on a woman who had lost her pasture rights on the island and instigated the attack to recover them. The Martyrology of Tallacht says that his companions numbered fifty-two. At least eleven Scottish churches bear his name, among them St Donan's (Uig), Kildonnan (S. Uist), Kildonan (Sutherland, Arran, and Eigg). Feast: 17 April.

AA.SS. Apr. II (1675), 483–5;K.S.S., p. 325;P. Grosjean, ‘Notes d'hagiographie celtique’, Anal. Boll., lxiii (1945), 119–22;A. B. Scott, ‘St Donnan the Great’, Trans. Scottish Ecclesiol. Soc., i (1906), 256–67; see also Scottish Notes and Queries (1935), 161–5, 177–80;Annals of Ulster (ed. W. M. Hennessy and B. MacCarthy, 1887–1901), s.a. 618.

Subjects: Christianity.

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