June 17 marks the Octave of the Feast of Saint Colum Cille. There is a description of a manuscript, no 211, preserved in the Library of Edinburgh University, which contains an office for the Octave:
IV. Four leaves, measuring roughly 11"x7 and three-quarter inches, of an Antiphoner written in Scotland, c. 1340, with later additions, containing parts of the services for the feasts of S. Columba and Corpus Christi, as follows:
S. Columba. — Part of ninth respond at Matins ; anthems, chapter, hymn, anthem to Benedictus at Lauds ; anthem to Magnificat at 2nd Evensong ; rubric for Octave; respond and anthem for 1st Evensong, one anthem for Matins and Lauds of Sunday within the Octave ; seven anthems for other days in the Octave ; responds and anthems to Magnificat at 1st and 2nd Evensong of Octave Day.
Corpus Christi. — End of hymn Pange lingua at 1st Evensong and rest of services to V. Non est alia nacio of 7th respond at Matins, including proper anthems for psalms and Nunc dimittis, and Collect at Compline and hymn Sacris solempniis at Matins ; all the rest as in Sarum Breviary.
The full noted service for an Octave of S. Columba (which has no Octave in the Aberdeen Breviary or other extant breviary used in Scotland) points to an important church dedicated in his name. This is confirmed by an allusion in the anthem to the Magnificat of 1st Evensong of the Octave Day, locumque istum tibi deditum. The fact that the Corpus Christi service (written in the same hand on the same leaves) is not Sarum Use, excludes Dunkeld Cathedral, and Iona is excluded because the Use is not Benedictine. There remains only one other church of any great size in Scotland for which such a service would be required, viz. that of the Augustinian Priory of Inchcolm. The prayer te laudantem serva chorum ab incursu anglicorum also points in the same direction, for Inchcolm was sacked by the English in 1335, and this service was evidently written not long after that date.
The service shows no connection with that in the Aberdeen Breviary. The proper anthems and Collect for Compline of Corpus Christi suggest a church of Canons Regular. The fact that the services of S. Columba, belonging to the Sanctorale, and Corpus Christi, belonging to the Temporale, are written in the same gathering and at the same time, point to their being an addition to a manuscript which was no doubt written in England at a date too early to contain Corpus Christi.
C. R. Borland, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Western Medieval Manuscripts in Edinburgh University Library (Edinburgh, 1916), 306-7.
Alas, there is no translation or text of any of this material cited but to honour Saint Colum Cille below is the Benedictus Antiphon for his feast as found in the Inchcolm Antiphoner and recorded by the monks of Pluscarden Abbey. An earlier post on this recording can be found here.
Confessor Dei pretiose Columba, devotos tibi astantes adiuva et tuum confugientes patrocinium numquam diurnam deserat auxilium.
Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel... (Lk 1:68-79)
O precious confessor of God, Columba, help those who devoutly come into your presence, and may your constant help never depart from those who fly to your protection.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.
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