On the Kalendar: Saint Blane

On the Kalendar is a series examining some of the lesser known feast days on the Kalendar.

August from Les Petites Heures d'Anne de Bretagne

“August”, kalendar page from Les Petites Heures d’Anne de Bretagne (The Little Hours of Queen Anne of Bretagne), by the Maître des Triomphes de Pétrarque. From Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris (France).

In the early middle ages there was a lot of traffic back and forth between Ireland and Scotland, as the Celtic Church developed beyond the reaches of Rome. Saint Blane’s uncle, Saint Cathan, was one of the first Irish missionaries to travel to the Isle of Bute, in Scotland, which was, at that time, part of the Irish kingdom of Dál Riata. Blane (Old Irish Bláán) was born on Bute; apparently Cathan brought his family with him. Blane was sent back to Ireland for his education, where he studied under Saint Comgall and Saint Kenneth (Canice). He became a monk, and returning to Ireland, he became a missionary to the Picts. He had a reputation as a miracle worker, including restoring a dead boy to life.

Blane was well respected and revered, as is evidenced by the number of places honoring him, such as Dunblane, Kilblane, and Strathblane. The church which Blane founded in Kingarth, on the Isle of Bute, holds his remains, but the center of his cult is in Dunblane, on the mainland, where a bell from his monastery is kept. Most of the information we have about Blane comes from the Aberdeen Breviary, which was published in 1510 at the behest of King James IV of Scotland, who wanted a Scottish counterpart to the English Sarum Breviary.

Blane died around A.D. 590, and his feast day is August 11th.

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