Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Columbanus founded several monasteries in the Frankish kingdoms, most notably Luxeuil in 590, spreading among the Franks a Celtic monastic rule and Celtic penitential practices for those repenting of sins. These practices emphasized private confession to a priest, followed by penances levied by the priest in reparation for the sin.
Because of political difficulties with bishops and Merovingian kings, including disagreement over the date for the celebration of Easter, Columbanus moved south into Italy in about 612, where, with the help of the Lombard King Agilulf and Queen Theodelinda, he established his final and most important monastery at Bobbio (between Milan and Genoa). He died there in 615. (This monastery is in part the model for the great monastery in Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose.)
Columbanus' vita is recorded by Jonas of Bobbio , a monk who entered the monastery in Bobbio in 618, three years after the saint's death. In his vita, Columbanus is reported to have performed a miracle in Bregenz: The townpeople had placed a large vessel in the town center, filled with beer. They told Columbanus it was intended as a sacrifice to their god Wodan (Illi aiunt se Deo suo Vodano nomine), whom they identified with Roman Mercury. Angrily, Columbanus breathed on the vessel, which broke asunder with a loud noise, spilling the beer.
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