The first bishop of Dromore in County Down, was this St. Colman, who founded a monastery there, probably about the year 514. He was venerated from early times in Scotland as well as in Ireland, and under the date of June 7 we find him mentioned in several of the ancient calendars of both Countries--sometimes as Mocholmoc, or Mocholmog--"my dear little Colum". The Felire of Oengus describes him as "the great descendant of Artae", but nothing is actually known of his parentage and of his career, the manuscripts of a much later date which profess to relate his life being full of anachronisms and extravagant stories. As there are over two hundred Irish saints of the name of Coman, it is scarcely to be wondered at if their histories have become confused. According to tradition, St. Colman of Dromore was born in Dalriada. After receiving his early training at Nendrum, or Mahee Island, from St. Coelan, he became a disciple of St. Ailbe of Emly. Among his friends was St. Macanisius, whose advice he sought as to his future career. "It is the will of God that you erect a monastery within the bounds of Coba plain", was the answer he received. He accordingly set to work and established his community by the river Lagan which passes through Dromore. The most famous of his pupils was St. Finnian of Moville. St. Colman seems to have died about the middle of the sixth century or rather earlier, and was probably interred at Dromore, though the Breviary of Aberdeen gives Inchmacome as his place of Burial. His feast is kept in all dioceses of Ireland.
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By Justin Soutar
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