Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Donnan of Eigg

was an Irish monk of whom little is known except that he was one of the most active early Scottish saints judging from the trail of place names (usually "Kildonan") stretching from Galloway to Perth and Aberdeenshrie in Uig, South Suist, Sutherland, Arran, and Eigg. Many were converted to Christianity through his efforts. Some say he was a monk of Iona under Saint Columba (f.d. June 9); others that he was associated with the Pictish Church and followed the missionary path of Saint Ninian (f.d. September 16).

He eventually established a community of monks on the island of Eigg at Loch Ewe in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. While he was offering the Sacrifice on Easter eve, a gang of armed men arrived. When the Offering was over, they herded the 52 monks into the refectory, set fire to it. Those who tried to escape were killed by the sword.

According to D'Arcy, the record of Columba's death in the "Martyrology of Aengus" prophesies Donnan's end: "Donnan then went with his monastic family to the Western Isle and they took up their abode there in a place where the sheep of the queen of the country were kept. 'Let them be killed,' said she. 'That would not be a religious act,' said her people. But they were murderously assailed. At this time the cleric was in church. 'Let us have respite till the Offering is ended,' said Donnan. 'Thou shalt have it,' said they. And went it was over they were slain, every one of them."

Thus, it is said that the deed was prompted by the local chieftainess, who resented the monks' presence on the island, or by a local woman who had lost her grazing rights; but it may simply have been a Viking raid. The monks, whose names are recorded in the "Martyrology of Tallaght" compiled c. 792, are viewed as martyrs. His feast is kept at Argyll and the Isles.

Propers for Donnan of Eigg - Monastic and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Donnan with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.

The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall he brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

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