The Wondrous Book of Kells

As we enter the month of March and approach the feast of St. Patrick, it is a good time to marvel at the contributions made to our Catholic faith, and to civilization itself, by the Irish Church. Nowhere is this contribution more striking than in the wondrously illiminated Book of Kells. This ancient Irish manuscript, some scholars date its origins to the late 8th century, contains the Four Gospels and is considered by many the finest example of early medieval art.

The Book of Kells is also known as the Book of Columba, as it may have been written in part on the Island of Iona, where St. Columba founded his famous monastery. You can read this brief article from New Advent, a Catholic Encyclopedia, for some historical background. For intriguing theories on the origins of the manuscript, read this article – Iona, the Vikings and the making of the Book of Kells – from History Ireland, a journal that explores many periods of Irish history.

The Book of Kells is preserved and may be viewed at Trinity College in Dublin. The college also has a digital collection that is worth viewing, though it does not match the beauty of the manuscript when seen in person. This video also tells the story of the Book of Kells.

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