Calling All “Friends of St Columbanus”

Thursday 10 April will see the launch of “The Friends of St Columbanus”, a group that are forming to celebrate the life and legacy of Bangor’s Saints, most notably Saint Columbanus.

Bangor Abbey & St Columbanus Stained Glass Window (St Columbanus Church, Ballyholme).

The formation of the group comes on the back of the recent moves to see the establishment of “The Columban Way” Cultural Route to link Bangor, Luxeuil-les-Bains (France) and Bobbio (Italy.

The union will recognise the influence of Columbanus’ work within central Europe and is to be formally established by 2015, the year that will mark the 1400th anniversary of the passing of St Columbanus. This anniversary year being one that will be marked with events throughout the European countries he was influential in.

This route is set to become the 30th European Cultural Route and sit alongside some of the most famous routes such as the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela.

After the initial creation of “The Columban Way” it is envisaged that it will expand to take in the additional countries of Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the Republic of Ireland where Columbanus also left his mark.

As part of this development of the legacy of Columabnus and Bangor to European Christianity “The Friends of St Columbanus” group is to be formed to undertake a number of roles.

  • Build upon the spiritual and ecumenical legacy of Columbanus.
  • Develop and make available educational materials to spread the history of the Abbey and its Saints both locally and internationally through local school development, international exchanges and lectures.
  • Expand on the current level of pilgrimage visits both to and from Bangor to countries where our Saints left their mark such as Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
  • Seize upon the spirit of our Saints in developing a sense of community around our Christian Heritage.
  • Development of events and celebrations to mark key events such as the 1400th commemoration of the passing of Columabnus in 2015 through, concerts, services, activities.

The “Friends” are to be supported by North Down Borough Council who are keen to build on the potential tourism links and relationships between the nations involved both pilgrimage and educationally focused.

The initial meeting of the group will take place in First Bangor Presbyterian Church, Main Street Bangor at 7.30pm on Thursday 10th April.

All are welcome and light refreshments will be served.