The Four Saints of Bangor
Bangor is privileged to be associated with four saints.
The first is Saint Comgall who founded the monastery of Bangor in 555 or 558. Young men flocked from all over Europe to become monks following his austere Rule.
The second saint is Saint Columbanus, a pupil of Saint Comgall, who after 20 years in Bangor left for the continent as a pilgrim for Christ (Peregrinus pro Christo). He founded monasteries in Eastern France in Annegray and Luxeuil before moving to Bregenz in modern Austria where Saint Gall, our third saint, his talented and fiery companion left to set up a monastery around which the modern town of St Gallen in Switzerland grew up.
Saint Columbanus then continued on to Italy spending a year in Milan before moving to Bobbio where he founded his last and greatest monastery. He died and was buried there in 615.
Our fourth saint is Saint Malachy who died in 1148. He was a gentle but determined reforming monk bishop who refounded the Abbey of Bangor before becoming Bishop of Connor then of Armagh and finally dying as Bishop of Down. He expired in the arms of his great friend and mentor, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, one of the brightest lights of the high middle ages who acceded to Malachy’s request to send Cistercian monks to Ireland to further his programme of church reform. Bernard went on to write a famous and highly influential biography of Malachy. The four saints are represented in the Icons flanking the central Icon of Christ Pantocrator (All Powerful).