Saint Drostan

(St. Drostan)

6th C. - 7th C.

Abbot and evangelist, who brought Christianity to the NE of Scotland. St. Drostan may have been of royal descent but was entrusted to the care of St. Columba (who some sources say was his uncle) who trained him for a monastic life. Drostan followed Columba when he came to Aberdour (Aberdeenshire). The Pictish ruler of Buchan gave them a site at Deer, some 14 miles (22 km) inland, where they established a monastery some time between 563 and 597 AD. When Columba returned to Iona it was Drostan whom he left there as abbot. It was here that the Book of Dier was written in the 9th C., one of Scotland's most important manuscripts. No trace of this monastery remains, it having fallen into decay, to be replaced by a Cistercian abbey in 1213. This continued in use until the Reformation, when it, too, fell into disrepair. St. Drostan remains the patron saint of the village and the Episcopal Church is dedicated to him.

Some time later, St. Drostan succeeded as the Abbot of the abbey at Holywood (Dumfries and Galloway). He later resigned this position to enjoy a life of greater seclusion as a hermit at Glen Esk. Here Drostan preached, attracting the pious, and is said to have performed several miracles, including restoring sight to a priest called Symon. After his death, Drostan's body was carried by his followers back over the mountains to Aberdour and his relics were preserved there.

Today, St Drostan's lodge is a retreat run in the village of Tarfside, in Glen Esk, by the Scottish Episcopal Church. St. Drostan's feast day is celebrated on the 15th December.

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