Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Also COLGA, COLCU (Latin Colcus )

A distinguished Abbot of the School of Clonmacnoise in Ireland, who flourished during the latter half of the eighth century. He had been a student of this school, and had devoted himself especially to the study of St. Paul , whom he looked upon as his special patron. Coelchu was remarkable for his learning, and was surnamed the Scribe, and also the Wise. Colgan (Acta Sanctorum Hiberniæ) mentions one tract from the pen of Coelchu which was then extant, and which was entirely of a devotional character. He is generally assumed to be the person with whom Alcuin apparently had some correspondence. A letter of Alcuin's to him has been published by Ussher (Sylloge, Ep. xviii) and republished by Colgan. It is headed "Albini Magistri ad Colcum lectorem in Scotia. Benedicto magistro et pio patri Colcu Alcuinus humilis levita salutem". There can hardly be any doubt that the Colcu spoken of was the Abbot of Clonmacnoise, and that the writer of the letter was Alcuin, not Albin the companion of Clement, though there is no reason for concluding from the style of the address that Alcuin had ever been a student of Coelchu's at Clonmacnoise. In this letter Alcuin gives Coelchu an account of the state of religion on the Continent, mentions Joseph, one of Coelchu's pupils then in France, speaks of disputes between King Charles and Offa of Mercia, on account of which he himself was likely to be sent as negotiator into England. This clearly proves that the letter was written shortly before 790. He sends Coelchu presents of money from King Charles and from himself for the monastery of Clonmacnoise and for other monks in Ireland, and asks their prayers for himself and the king. There is another reference to Coelchu in Alcuin's letter to Joseph, mentioned already in the letter to Coelchu. Though Coelchu was spoken of as the Scribe or Doctor of all the Irish, none of his writings have come down to us.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 18th, 2014 Image

St. Rufus
December 18: Rufus and Zosimus were citizens of Antioch (or perhaps Philippi) ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter