This icon of Saint Columbanus was written to celebrate the Centenary of the formation of The Order of the Knights of Saint Columbanus by James K. Canon O’Neill in 1915 and to commemorate the passing of 1400 years since the death of the saint on 21st November 615.
The saint is portrayed as a contemplative monk setting out with twelve confreres from Bangor in Ireland on his missionary journey over modern Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. A white dove, Columban, the symbol of peace, sits calmly at the feet of the saint. In his right hand, he holds a staff in the form of a cross, as a sign of his missionary vision and a symbol of his authority.
He wears a stole over his shoulders to represent his priestly office which is also draped over his left arm as a protective garment under the heavily adorned and precious Bible or Book of the Gospels. The adornment conveys the richness of the contents. The white quill heralds his extensive scholarship and writings including his Monastic Rule, challenging correspondence with Popes and rulers and inspiring poetry. In this icon, the saint stands on a green coloured plane which symbolises both the land where he was born, Ireland, and the lands which he travelled over on his missionary journey. It also reminds us that he now walks in the heavenly garden of Paradise surrounded by the golden radiance of heaven.