The Friends of St Columbanus has held first formal meeting .It has been set up to coordinate the events organised to commemorate the death of St Columbanus in Bobbio, Italy in 615. In April the EU offically recognised the journey of Columbanus from Bangor to Bobbio as an European Cultural Route, “The Columban Way”. These events will involve local schools and communities and creating links with settlements established by Columbanus including our twin town Bregenz in Austria.
Next year will be the 1400th anniversary of his death and many events will be held throughout Europe to recognise the pivotal role Columbanus played in spreading Christianity particularly in France, Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
The anniversary will be a great opportunity to increase local awareness of Bangor’s Christian Heritage and expand the growing tourist trade based on it.
Official recognition by Europe underlines Bangor’s Christian Heritage and the pivotal role played by Columbanus and Gall in spreading Christianity in Europe. It will help expand the growing tourism based on the history of Bangor Abbey. This was highlighted in 2010 when more 400 pilgrims from Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria attended the Annual Columban Festival held in Bangor. I believe there is great potential to attract tourists to Bangor.
Some years ago I travelled the Columban way from Bangor to Bobbio using a 21 day interail pass. This contrasts with the 21 years taken by Columbanus.