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Guest Lectures
Murray, G.
'St Columba's crosier: power and devotion in the Middle Ages' National Museum of Ireland, Columcille 1500 Lecture Series 8 December 2021
Optional Fields
Crosier Durrow Columba Columcille
While more famous for its illuminated manuscript and high cross, an early medieval crosier also survives from this important Columban monastery. It was preserved for generations by the Mac Geoghegan family, remaining in their keepership until the nineteenth century. The crosier may originally date from the ninth century but was significantly refurbished in the early twelfth. Early Irish crosiers were originally held by the abbots of monasteries as symbols of authority and were passed on to successive holders of the office. As the abbot of Durrow was a successor of St Columba, the crosier was associated with the saint and over time was regarded as a relic. This lecture will explore how St Columba’s crosier was viewed and used during the medieval and post-medieval periods. It will also examine the context of its refurbishment in the early twelfth century, as well as looking at other evidence for crosiers associated with the saint from Kells, Co. Meath, and Dunkeld in Scotland.
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