The Culdee, Kuldeer or Celi Dé (translated " vassals of God") formed a monastic order with settlements in Ireland and Scotland. As Founder of the Irish abbot Maelruan is suspected in early Irish manuscripts the name with Cele De (the " sworn allies of God") is occupied. Later, the name was Latinized to Coli dei, derived from culdei by Hector Boece (1465-1536), which is generally referred to monks and hermits.

Culdeer in the literature

Protestant and especially Presbyterian writers romanticized the Culdee long time as a simple hermit, who - had preserved a primordial Christianity in a remote corner of Western Europe - free from Roman influences. This view corresponded to one of Thomas Campbell in Scripture Reullura illuminated view their shadow peace:

" The pure, first Culdees were the earliest priests of God Albyn (England), before even one of the islands of their ocean was entered by the foot of a Saxon monk. "

Another way, as well as those of Hector Boece published in his Latin history of Scotland ( 1516), she referred to the 9th to the 12th century as the direct successor of the organized Irish monks from Iona (6th - 8th century).

Both these and other views were refuted by William Reeves (1815-1892), Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore.

There were handed down only very few trusted sources of information until now, but it seems at least probable that the liturgy modeled Chrodegang, the Archbishop of Metz ( † 766 ), followed. Chrodegang had rules for liturgical chants and the canonical life of seculars ( regulators Canonicorum ) erected. His liturgy was taken by Irish monks from the north-eastern Gaul and distributed in their original homeland. The resident Irish hermits were thus bound by the rules and regulations of the monasteries.

Tasks and Communities

The Culdeer lived in monastic way, even if not under monastic vows and appear to be particularly caring about the poor and the sick to have held. They were interested particularly apparent for the musical part of the adorations. Each monastery itself was independent and self-sufficient was controlled by an abbot at the top, Crinan of Dunkeld, the grandfather of Malcolm Canmore, was even a lay abbot. According to descriptions of the monasteries in a priestly and a secular part were separated, in the unmarried and married members lived together. Her life was similar to that of secular communities of England and the continent, because they lived there more or less together isolated. The tradition further states that even the clerical members were married, but they lived, unlike the priests of the Eastern Orthodox Church, during their time of priestly ministry separate from their wives.



The Culdeer emerged of documentary evidence after around 800 in Ireland and spread from there over to Scotland and monasteries scattered to England. From the early Middle Ages, the monk and poet Blathmac mac Con Brettan is known, who was strongly influenced by Celi Dé. The High Middle Ages is the most important epoch in the history of the Order. However, since the communities lacked an overall consolidated structure in the form and line, the Church of Culdeer inclined but generally already in the Middle Ages to the expiration.

In the 12th century the Celtic church was completely remodeled after the Roman model. In this process, the Culdeer lost as religious also those features and characteristics that have been ascribed to them in earlier times: they were just like the secular clergy brought uniformly under the canons of Rome, because the pictures that we receive from her life in the twelfth century differ considerably from those of past centuries.

There is nowhere else such a partially shown independence from Rome than those experienced at St. Andrews by the Culdee and was lived, perhaps because the authorization of the bishop was supported by a Royal Charter.

Regularly new canonical rules of Rome were known and some of the Culdeer therefore joined continuously to the new rules established in those medals on. For those of Culdeer, but rejected this connection was granted by the abbots of the monasteries date a pension for life and they stayed as still as a separate and distinct, but steadily decreasing Community to the beginning of the 14th century. In that century they disappeared because they were excluded from the election of the bishop.

Culdeer in Ireland

During the ninth century, there were nine places in Ireland, including Armagh, Clonmacnoise, Clones, Devenish and Sligo, as mentioned monasteries, where the communities of Culdeer were founded as a kind of appendix to the usual monastic institutions.

Aengus, the Culdee, lived in the last quarter of the 8th century and is known as the author Félire Óengusso with " The Martyrdom of Aengus ".

Maelruan (d. 792 ), lived under the Aengus, wrote a rule for Culdeer of Tallaght with prescribed prayers, fasting, prayer, confession and penance. However there are no indications that this rule has been widely used in other monasteries. After the death of Maelruan Tallaght was forgotten and the name Celi De disappeared from the Irish annals to 919 There stands in the Annals of the Four Masters recorded that Armagh was plundered by the Danes, and only the houses of prayer, " God's people, these are the Ceile De ', were spared. Subsequent entries in the annals show that there were Culdeer in Clonmacnoise, clones and in Clondalken to Monahincha in Tipperary and Scattery Iceland. Secular priests took the name of the Culdeer to, lived in the community and be subjected to the monastic discipline, though not bound by monastic vows. At the Clones, Devenish and Scattery Iceland are the name " Culdee " and " canon " are interchangeable.

From the Danish wars affected the Culdee houses Clondalken and clones disappeared completely. In the eleventh century Clonmacnoise to the Culdees laity and were married, while those in regular Monahincha and Scattery Iceland canons were. In Armagh regular canons were in the cathedral in the twelfth century introduced and took precedence over the Culdeer, six in number, a prior and five vicars.

This still led a common life, with the celebration of worship and the care of the church building: They had separate lands and sometimes charges the parishes.

If a chapter has been formed, as in 1160, the Prior filled in the Office of the Chief Musician, with his brothers - vicars were the choir and he himself was at the stage in the chapter next to the Chancellor. He was elected and confirmed by the primacy of his brothers Culdeer and had a voice in the election of the Archbishop by its position in this chapter.

Ulster was the last of the provinces of Ireland, which was brought under English rule, so the Culdeer in Armagh have outlived their brethren throughout Ireland long. The Culdeer of Armagh held out until the dissolution in 1541 and 1627 lived briefly back on; soon after went her old property over to the choir of the cathedral parish of Armagh.

Culdeer in Scotland

After the monks of Iona from Pictenkönig Nechtan, the son of Derile, had been driven out in the year 717 in Scotland, the resulting gaps were not of the Roman monks who spread to the north of Northumbria, but the end of the eighth century Culdees filled from Ireland.

The main buildings of the monasteries in Scotland at that time were at St Andrews, Scone, Dunkeld, Loch Leven, Monymusk in Aberdeenshire, Abernethy and Brechin.

The Culdeee Loch Leven lived on St. Serf's Inch, an island that had been given to them by the Pictish prince Brude in 850. In 1093 they gave their island to the Bishop of St. Andrews in return for food and clothing, but Robert, who would become bishop in 1144, handed over all their robes, books and other property, together with the island to the recently established canonical regulations, in the Culdeer were probably combined and where they ultimately aufgingen. At about the year 1100, there were about St Andrews thirteen Culdees held devices with hereditary tenure.

On the revenue more wisely been placed on their own prosperity and expansion of the Order as on services of the Church or even needs of the people in the institutions apparently. A much considered necessary by Queen Margaret of Scotland reform was carried out by her sons Alexander I. and David I.; gradually went the whole position in the 12th century into the hands of Thorgaut, the first bishop of St. Andrews, and his successors in the bishopric.

The Culdee of Monymusk were perhaps originally a colony of St. Andrews and were performed as canonical Regularium of the Augustinian order at the beginning of the 13th century and that of Abernethy followed in 1273rd

In Brechin, Abernethy as famous for its round tower, helped the Prior of Culdeer and his monks to form the chapter, which was founded by King David I in 1145 the diocese, which they occupied until the 14th century.

The name of the Culdee is still in the name of the largest town in the Scottish county of Fife, Kirkcaldy immortalized ( " the Church of the Culdee "). The Culdee chapel in the same county east of St. Andrews can be seen from the northeast by the local ruined cathedral and city walls. It was dedicated to " St. Mary on the Rock " (St. Mary on the Rock ) and is characterized by its cross-shaped ruins. Through the local churches of St. Andrews, it was used for their Easter morning service.

Culdeer in England and Wales

Similar integrations are for the disappearance of the Culdees of York, caused by the canons of St. Peter's to 925 and those of Snowdon and the island of Bardsey in northern Wales, mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis in his Speculum Ecclesiae and itinerary ( around 1190 ), responsible. The former Community to have been harassed by Giraldus Cambrensis by the greedy Cistercians. The above places seem to be the only ones in which the Culdees in England and Wales have been found.

Culdeer in the North Atlantic

The Icelandic mentioned Landnámabók ( "Book of settlements " ), that the Normans vorfanden Irish priest in Iceland; they had had bells and pastorals. This is indicated also in the works of Dicuil. The Normans called the priests Papar, a term which can be found again in many place-names of Orkney, Shetland, Faroe Islands and Iceland. The traditional scriptures say that the Papar Iceland abandoned with the advent of the Normans. It is conceivable that their influence supported the spread of Christianity in Iceland.

See more Spekuluationen in the Culdees the first Europeans that could have landed in America. The most important clue for this thesis while the beehive huts made of more than 275 stones in Maine, New Hampshire, and other places in New England apply. Beehive huts are built of dry stone walls with a corbelled roof stone cottages that are typical of the British Isles. These buildings are partially well preserved and similar to the Culdee architecture in Ireland and Scotland in the early Middle Ages and earlier.