Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Saint Columba Medal

above, the Saint Columba medal

Celtic metal worker and artist, Garth Duncan, who lives on the Isle of Skye, celebrates the Cetlic Saints with the creation of two medallions to honour Saint Columba and Saint Maelrubha. Garth Duncan's work to honour these two great men of Ulster is very welcomed by the many faithful that still hold these two saints in very high regard. Garth has generously offered the proceeds from the sales to go to the local parish on Skye.

Saint Columba, also known as Colm Cille, certainly needs no introduction. He is well known to this day, his popularity is still very strong and even growing in the 21st Century. He is the patron saint of both Ireland and Scotland, patron saint of the Raphoe diocese in Donegal and of Argyll. He is celebrated in both the Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox faiths. He was born in anno domini 521 in Donegal and was of the royal Uí Neill line. He studied at Moville under Saint Finnian, then in Leinster at the monastery of Clonard. He was ordained before he was twenty-five and spent the next fifteen years of his life in Derry, Durrow, and Kells. He left Ireland in his mid forties for Scotland and eastblished the world famous monastery in Iona. He died on 9 June 597, his feast day celebrated on that day each year.

Saint Maelrubha was born near Derry in anno domini 642. Like Columba, his father also of the royal Uí Neill line and his mother, a nice of Saint Comgal of Bangor, was of the Cruithin tribe native to east Ulster. Saint Maelrubha entered the monastery at Bangor in his youth and moved to Scotland in 671. He eventually settled in Appurcrossan, now known as Applecross, in the west of Ross. In 673 he establish a monastery there that served as his base for his conversion work among the Picts. He lived a very long life, dying on 21 April 722. His feast day in Ireland in on that date and his feast day in Scotland is on 27 August.

Garth Duncan, an American whose father was born in Scotland, began metal work at the age of 15 under the guidance of Navajo silversmith Joe Madrid, in New Mexico, USA. All of his work is hand carved and done in the living Celtic tradition of the craft. He makes no apologies for his romantic ideals and preferences for tradition over modernity. Garth says his guides to his work are those things that are good and fine he finds in the world, in honour and love, which are infused in his work. He credits his great admiration for his ancestors and the love of his children for his life's path in which he ambitiously carries on a living Celtic artistic tradition.

renowned Celtic artist, Garth Duncan

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