Adamnan, born in Drumhome, Donegal, Ireland, became a monk at the monastery there. Later at Iona, of which he became ninth abbot in 679. He gave sanctuary to Aldfrid when the crown of Northumbria was in dispute after the death of Aldfrid's father, King Oswy. In 686, when Aldfrid had ascended the throne, Adamnan visited him to secure the release of Irish prisoners. Two years later Adamnan visited several English monasteries and was induced by St. Ceolfrid to adopt the Roman calendar for Easter. Adamnan worked ceaselessly thereafter with much success to get Irish monks and monasteries to replace their Celtic practices with those of Rome. His success in convincing the Council of Birr that women should be exempt from wars and that women and children should not be taken prisoners or slaughtered caused the agreement to be called Adamnan's law. A scholar noted for his piety, he wrote a life of St. Columba, one of the most important biographies of the early Middle Ages. He also wrote DE LOCIS SANCTIS, a description of the East told to him by a Frank bishop, Arculf, whose ship was driven ashore near Iona on the way back from Jerusalem. Adamnan is thought by some in Ireland to be the same as St. Eunan, though this is uncertain. He died at Iona on September 23 which is his feast day.
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By Justin Soutar
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