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Early Celtic Christianity

This lively and original account of early Celtic Christianity - which was of far greater importance in the development of Western culture than we often realize - is told against the background of European history of the first seven centuries A.D. It focuses on the lives of Saints Brendan, Columba and Columbanus, who lived active and effective lives in the cause of the early Church. Brendan, one of the founding fathers of Christianity in Ireland, was known in legend as a voyager and was thought to have reached the Western Hemisphere long before the Vikings. Columba took Celtic Christianity to Scotland and helped to re-establish it in Wales and in the North and West of England. Columbanus was the great Irish missionary to continental Europe, where he and his followers helped to convert the heathen invaders from the East. When Rome, in the person of St. Augustine, Pope Gregory's apostle to the Angles, penetrated again to England, a showdown between Roman and Celtic Christianity was inevitable. The dramatic confrontation occurred at the Council of Whitby in 664. Rome, with its organization and authority, won, and Celtic Catholicism went into eclipse. But some of its influence persisted all over Europe, and it had a large share in shaping the culture that ultimately emerged from the dark ages. This book's fascination is the picture that it gives of the movements of peoples, the shaping of new countries, and the development of ideas during those too-little-known centuries.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction; European Background; Pagan Ireland; The Awakening of Ireland; The Sailor Saint; The Organisation-Abbot; Iona and Lindisfarne; France; The Path to Rome; Trial; After the Verdict; Chronological Table; References; Select Biography; Index

About the Author

Brendan Lehane (b. London 1931) studied at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge. Founder of Image Magazine, he was also been feature editor of Town Magazine, and contributed articles for magazines in England, Ireland and the USA.


"'An enchanting book... This account of Celtic homogeneity as expressed in three great men, whose interior journeys led them outwards, far from Ireland their home, to bring to England, to Scotland, and to Europe civilization and sanctity, is a delight.' Anne Freemantle; '... an enlightening book. Three men of genius have been taken out of their legend and given historical status. And by showing what two of them did in the most obscure period of European history, post-Roman and Merovingian Gaul, Lehane has made us more knowledgeable about these times.' Padraic Colum; '... a welcome addition to the existing books about this ever fresh and virile, and often unashamedly magical, Early Celtic World. It makes for absorbing reading.' Ann Moray"

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