Saint Adamnan of Iona

detail from a photograph of a stained glass window in Saint John's Church, Isle of Manx, window artist and photographer unknownAlso known as

  • Adam
  • Adamnano
  • Adomnan
  • Eunan



Distant relative of Saint Columba. Monk at Drunhome, Donegal, Ireland. Abbot of Iona in 679. President-general of all the Columban houses in Ireland. Evangelized throughout Ireland.

Adamnan gave sanctuary to Prince Aldfrid when the throne of Northumbria was in dispute following the death of King Oswy. When Aldfrid became king in 686, Aldamnan secured the release of all Irish prisoners taken in the conflict, and visited the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow.

Persuaded by Saint Ceolfrid, Adamnan adopted the Roman calendar for determining Easter, and then worked for the adoption of many Roman liturgical practices in the Celtic region. This so displeased some brother monks at Iona that from 692 on, Adamnan rarely went there.

Attended the Council of Birr and Synod of Tara in 697 at which he helped enact the Canons of Adamnan, laws that helped protect civilian and clerical populations in areas at war, prohibiting the murder or enslavement of non-combatant women and children. A noted scholar, he wrote the biography Life of Saint Columba in the late 680’s, a work that survives today (see links below). He also wrote De locis sanctis (On the Holy Places), a popular description of Palestine based on the notes of and interviews with the Frankish pilgrim bishop Arculf. Renovated and revitalized the monastery of Raphoe, Ireland.







MLA Citation

  • “Saint Adamnan of Iona“. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 September 2015. Web. 10 October 2015. <>