Donnán of Eigg

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Saint Donnán of Eigg
Born Probably in Ireland
Died 17 April, A.D. 617
Feast 17 April
Patronage Eigg

Saint Donnán of Eigg (also known as Donan;[1] died 17 April 617) was a Gaelic priest, likely from Ireland, who attempted to introduce Christianity to the Picts of northwestern Scotland during the Early Middle Ages. Donnán is the patron saint of Eigg,[2] an island in the Inner Hebrides where he was martyred.

The Martyrology of Donegal, compiled by Michael O'Clery in the 17th century, records the manner of his death:

"Donnan, of Ega, Abbott. Ega [Eigg] is the name of an island in which he was, after his coming from Erin [Ireland]. And there came robbers of the sea on a certain time to the island when he was celebrating mass. He requested of them not to kill him until he should have the mass said, and they gave him this respite; and he was afterwards beheaded and fifty-two of his monks along with him. And all their names are in a certain old book of the old books of Erin, A.D.616."[3]

Another tradition states that a pagan Pictish queen had him and 150 others burnt.[4] He is thought to be buried at Kildonan, on the Isle of Arran. Saint Donnán's feast day is 17 April.[1]

Places bearing his name

At least eleven[1] Scottish churches are named for Saint Donnán.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, p.135
  2. The diocese of Meath, (Vol.1), p.xliii.
  3. O'Clery, Michael (1864). "The martyrology of Donegal: a calendar of the saints of Ireland". Trans. John O'Donovan. Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society. p. 105.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Warlords And Holy Men, Scotland AD 80-1000, p.108