Next after Colum Cille Himself

Iona Abbey.
Iona Abbey.


BAOITHIN, abbot of I-Coluim-Cille, next after Colum Cille himself; and Tech Baoithin in Cinel Conaill was his chief church, for he was of the race of Conall Gulban. It was to this Baoithin it was permitted to see the three grand chairs in heaven empty, awaiting some of the saints of Erin, viz., a chair of gold, and a chair of silver, and a chair of glass, and he told Colum Cille at I the vision which was shown unto him; for he used to be always along with Colum Cille, for they were close in consanguinity and friendship, i.e., they were the sons of two brothers. It was then Colum Cille gave the interpretation to him of the thing which he had seen, for he was a famous prophet, so that he said then: The chair of gold which thou hast seen is the chair of Ciáran, son of the carpenter, the reward of his sanctity, and hospitality, and charity. The chair of silver which thou hast seen is thine own chair, for the brightness and effulgence of thy piety. The chair of glass is my own chair, for although I am pure and bright, I am brittle and fragile, in consequence of the battles which were fought on my account. So that it was after this he (Colum Cille) resolved upon the celebrated abstinence, i.e., to take nettle pottage as food for the future, without dripping or fat whatever, so that the impression of his ribs through his woollen tunic was seen in the sandy beach, which is by the side of I when he used to lie on it at night.

Now, Baoithin was four years in the abbacy at I after the death of Colum Cille, for it was from among the men of Erin the abbot of I was chosen; and he was most frequently chosen from the men of Cinel Conaill. When he used to eat food, he was wont to say, “Deus in adjutorium meum intende,” between every two morsels. When he used to be gathering corn along with the monks he held one hand up beseeching God, and another hand gathering the corn. Baoithin resigned his soul to heaven after the four years aforesaid, on the same day of the month that Colum Cille went to Heaven A.D. 600.

Martyrology of Donegal, A Calendar of the Saints of Ireland, by Michael O’Clery, James Henthorn Todd, William Reeves (Bp. of Down, Connor and Dromore).

As If He Were Still Alive

Illuminated manuscript of Bede's Life of St Cuthbert, XII century, showing the discovery of his incorrupt body; British Library MS 39943.
Illuminated manuscript of Bede’s Life of St Cuthbert, XII century, showing the discovery of his incorrupt body; British Library MS 39943.

Now Divine Providence, wishing to show to what glory this holy man was exalted after death, who even before death had been distinguished by so many signs and miracles, inspired the minds of the brethren with a wish to remove his bones, which they expected to find dry and free from his decayed flesh, and to put them in a small coffer, on the same spot, above the ground, as objects of veneration to the people. This wish they communicated to the holy Bishop Eadbert about the middle of Quadragesima; and he ordered them to execute this on the 20th of April, which was the anniversary of the day of his burial. They accordingly did so; and opening the tomb, found his body entire, as if he were still alive, and his joints were still flexible, as if he were not dead, but sleeping. His clothes, also, were still undecayed, and seemed to retain their original freshness and colour. When the brethren saw this, they were so astonished, that they could scarcely speak, or look on the miracle which lay before them, and they hardly knew what they were doing. As a proof of the uncorrupted state of the clothes, they took a portion of them from one of the extremities, — for they did not dare to take any from the body itself, — and hastened to tell what they had found to the bishop, who was then walking alone at a spot remote from the monastery, and closed in by the flowing waves of the sea. Here it was his custom to pass the Quadragesima; and here he occupied himself forty days before the birthday of our Lord in the utmost devotion, accompanied with abstinence, prayer, and tears. Here, also, his venerable predecessor, Cuthbert, before he went to Farne, as we have related, spent a portion of his spiritual warfare in the service of the Lord. The brethren brought with them, also, the piece of cloth in which the body of the saint had been wrapped. The bishop thanked them for the gift, and heard their report with eagerness, and with great earnestness kissed the cloth as if it were still on the saint’s body. “Fold up the body,” said he, “in new cloth instead of this, and place it in the chest which you have prepared. But I know of a certainty that the place which has been consecrated by the virtue of this heavenly miracle will not long remain empty; and happy is he to whom the Lord, who is the giver of true happiness, shall grant to rest therein.” To these words he added what I have elsewhere expressed in verse, and said,

” What man the wondrous gifts of God shall tell?
What ear the joys of paradise shall hear?
Triumphant o’er the gates of death and hell,
The just shall live amid the starry sphere,” &c.

When the bishop had said much more to this effect, with many tears and much contrition, the brethren did as he ordered them; and having folded up the body in some new cloth, and placed it in a chest, laid it on the pavement of the sanctuary.

— The Life and Miracles of St. Cuthbert, Chapter xlii, by the Venerable Bede.

Germani Multum ab Hac Consuetudine Differunt

Germani multum ab hac consuetudine differunt. Nam neque druides habent, qui rebus divinis praesint, neque sacrificiis student. Deorum numero eos solos ducunt, quos cernunt et quorum aperte opibus iuvantur, Solem et Vulcanum et Lunam, reliquos ne fama quidem acceperunt. Vita omnis in venationibus atque in studiis rei militaris consistit: ab parvulis labori ac duritiae student. Qui diutissime impuberes permanserunt, maximam inter suos ferunt laudem: hoc ali staturam, ali vires nervosque confirmari putant. Intra annum vero vicesimum feminae notitiam habuisse in turpissimis habent rebus; cuius rei nulla est occultatio, quod et promiscue in fluminibus perluuntur et pellibus aut parvis renonum tegimentis utuntur magna corporis parte nuda.

– Gaius Julius Cæsar, De Bello Gallico, Book 6, Chapter 21.