Encyclopedia Britannica – Adamnan

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

or Adomnan (c.624704), Irish saint and historian, was born at Raphoe, Donegal, Ireland, about the year 624. In 679 he was elected abbot of Hy or Iona, being ninth in succession from the founder, Saint Columba. While on a mission to the court of King Aldfrith of Northumberland in 686, he was led to adopt the Roman rules with regard to the time for celebrating Easter and the tonsure, and on his return to Iona he tried without success to enforce the change upon the monks. He died on the 23rd of September 704. Adamnan wrote a Life of Saint Columba, which, though abounding in fabulous matter, is of great interest and value. The best editions are those published by W. Reeves and by J. T. Fowler. Adamnan’s other well-known work, De Locis Sanctis was based, according to Bede, on information received from Arculf, a French bishop, who, on his return from the Holy Land, was wrecked on the west coast of Britain, and was entertained for a time at Iona. This was first published at Ingolstadt in 1619 by J. Gretser, who also defended Baronius’ acceptance of Arculf’s narrative against Casaubon. An English translation by G. J. R. Macpherson, Arculf us’ Pilgrimage in the Holy Land, was published by the Pilgrim’s Text Society.

MLA Citation

  • “Adamnan”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 August 2017. Web. 29 November 2021. <>