De Apro Per Ejus Orationem Interempto

Alio in tempore, vir beatus, cum in Scia insula aliquantis demoraretur diebus, paulo longius solus, orationis intuitu, separatus a fratribus, silvam ingressus densem, mirae magnitudinis aprum, quem forte venatici canes persequebantur, obviam habuit. Quo viso eminus, Sanctus aspiciens eum restitit. Tum deinde, invocato Dei nomine, sancta elevata manu, cum intenta dicit ad eum oratione, Ulterius huc procedere noles: in loco ad quem nunc devenisti morere. Quo Sancti in silvis personante verbo, non solum ultra accedere non valuit, sed ante faciem ipsius terribilis ferus, verbi ejus virtute mortificatus, cito corruit.

— St. Adomnán’s Life of St. Columba, Book II, Chapter 27.

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Artist Daniel Mitsui designed an image portraying this event, of St. Columba’s striking dead the wild boar, and I have it tattooed on my right arm.

St. Columba and the Boar tattoo.

One odd thing about this episode is that in some manuscripts of the Vita Columbæ it is located in Book II, Chapter 27.  In others, Chapter 27 is the encounter with the River Ness beast and the boar story is absent altogether.  In one English printing, the title for the Chapter is present but the text is absent.  I’ve wondered what was special about this episode in the Saint’s life that it should be treated so, especially since all of the manuscripts/printings I have seen are remarkably consistent in their numbering and order of the episodes.

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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