Nazis and Commies Love to Burn Things

For example, this church built by an oppressed immigrant minority group in 1878.

St. Colman Catholic Church in Shady Spring, West Virginia. Burned to the ground, apparently by arson. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Services were no longer held there, but there is an associated cemetery.

The local fire department and sheriff would really like to talk to anybody who knows anything, at crimestopperswv.com.

There are several St. Colmans.

St. Colman of Cloyne (Cluain Uamha, Cork) was a pagan fileadh or poet, who was the son of Lenan; his father was also a poet. He was born about AD 522 and was brought up and worked at the court of the kings of Cashel. The kings during his life were Catholic, but Colman remained pagan.

His job as a royal poet was to represent the needs of the people and land and the demands of the law, whenever the king needed reminding; to counsel the king and remind him of history and legend; to be the king’s best friend, eating at his table, entertaining his guests with talk, and even sleeping in the same bed at times; to prophesy what would happen in battle; to maintain historical records and genealogies; to know what was going on with other kings; and to compose any kind of formal poem needed, while his followers recited the poem and provided music.

In the year 570, when Colman was about 48 years old, there was a succession dispute between Aodh Dubh (apparently the same guy as Coirbre Cromm, the crooked) and Aodh Caomh, two king candidates. St. Brendan of Clonfert was called in, and apparently ended up spending a lot of time encouraging Colman to convert. During the deliberations/lobbying for votes, the people providentially discovered the lost relics of St. Ailbe of Emly — and Colman was one of those who did the finding. St. Brendan was much impressed by this, and decided it was a sign that Colman should not just convert (to keep the hands that had touched a holy thing undefiled from now on), but become a priest. Colman must have had some kind of conversion experience, because he finally agreed.

Colman was not his original name, but his baptismal name. It is Col(u)m, dove, + -an, one. So “dove guy” or “Holy Spirit guy.” Or even “Jonah guy,” since Jonah also means dove.

At a fairly advanced age, then, Colman went back to school and learned Christian scholarship from St. Iarlaith of Tuam (aka Jarlath). Afterwards he came back as a priest, and started preaching and teaching. Colman baptized the future St. Declan at this time.

As a Christian, St. Colman continued to write poetry in Irish, and his surviving poetry is some of the earliest Christian Irish literature that we have. He wrote a praise poem about St. Brendan, a metrical life of St. Senan, and all kinds of other stuff.

He founded a monastery at Cluain Uamha, a piece of land given to him by King Coirbre Cromm, and he was buried there. His feast is November 24, and he died in AD 600.

His remains were exhumed and thrown into the sea in the 1700’s by the Anglican bishop of Cloyne, Charles Crowe, in order to prevent the continuation of pilgrimages to his grave.

The other famous St. Colman was St. Colman of Dromore, in Northern Ireland. He was a disciple of St. Coelan, and the teacher of St. Finnian of Moville. He was born about AD 514, so it’s likely that Colman of Cloyne took his name because he was a fan of this earlier Colman. His feast is on June 7.

There’s another famous poet Colman too: Colman nepos Cracavist, who wrote a lot of poems preserved at the Irish monastery at Bobbio, in Switzerland. He wrote the earliest known poem we have about St. Brigid.

Leave a comment

Filed under Church, Saint Names, Saint Stories

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.