Celebrated April 17

Eigg is the most easterly of a group of islands lying between Ardnamurchan and the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Hebrides. Early in the seventh century it was ruled by a pagan Pictish queen. One day she was told that Abbot Donnan, an Irishman, had founded a monastery on the island in a place where she kept her sheep.

"Let them all be killed," she said.

"That would not be a religious act," said her people.

So she employed some pirates to kill them.

When the pirates burst into the monastery, on the bright night of Pascha, April 17, 617 (or 616 or 618), the Divine Liturgy was being served.

"Let us have a respite until the Liturgy is ended," said Donnan.

"Thou shalt have it," they said.

When the Liturgy was finished, the pirates herded Donnan and fifty-two of his monks into a building and set fire to it. Those who tried to escape were killed by the sword.

And so was fulfilled the prophecy of St. Columba of Iona that Donnan would suffer "red martyrdom" for Christ. 11 churches were dedicated to his memory in Scotland.

Holy Hieromartyr Donan, pray to God for us!

By Vladimir Moss. Posted with permission.

(Sources: Calendar of Marianus Gorman; Tighernach; Martyrology of Tamhlacht; Angus the Culdee; Donald Attwater, The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, Penguin books, 1965, p. 106; David Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978, p. 109; Lucy Menzies, Saint Columba of Iona, Felinfach: J.M.F. Books, 1920, p. 139; Alexander Forbes, Calendars of Scottish Saints, Edinburgh: Edmonston & Douglas, 1872, p. 325)

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