Posted by: anna | July 24, 2009

St. Drostan of Old Deer and Aberdeen

Holy Father Drostan, pray to God for us.

Today is the feast of St Drostan of Old Deer and Aberdeen (6th century), disciple of Columba, abbot and hermit. Or quite possibly not disciple of Columba at all but colleague of Colm and Fergus.

I have copied this image from here but the author of that blog doesn’ t mention a source. Fr Timothy Curtis was the priest of the Orthodox parish of St Drostan until his recent move to Northampton – they must have an icon of their patron saint there. Here is another list of northeastern Scottish saints.
I just missed the feast of St Columba last month (June 9/22) but may have to go back to him, as he is such a key saint in the British and particularly Celtic calendar. I also want to find out more about the conflict between the Celtic and Roman churches. It seems that the current inter-jurisdictional jostling among the Orthodox dioceses of these islands has plenty of precedent…
… and as a linguistic footnote, here is a good explanation about the pronunciation of diocese/s, those fraught words in this language. I grew up pronouncing them this way (DIo-sess, DIo-seez), which is probably why I find it a good explanation. But it’s at least clear, and why not? And as for the apparent disagreement between spelling and pronunciation, particularly in the plural, since when is English consistent?? The explanation that makes sense to me is that the word came into Middle English from Old French (13th century or so – and not earlier because churchy things were written about in Latin and were not for the illiterate vernacular-speaking masses to concern themselves with) and in French the final -es of diocèses is silent. In fact the singular and plural sound the same in French. But since these words have been around in English for some time, we have found a way to differentiate, because English is like that. It’s hardly ever the case that there is ‘no reason’ for English spellings, pronunciation, even grammar – more often it’s just that there are several!
…2011 update:
It seems that St Drostan (the same one) also has a feast day on 15 December.
Troparion from celt-saints (and lots more there too):

Troparion of St Drostan tone 2

Abbot of Deer and disciple of Saint Colum Cille,/ who didst kindle Christ’s fire in the hearts of thy monks,/ pray for us, O Drostan, to Christ our God,/ that our souls may be saved.

and another troparion from M Lopez-Ginisty

Ton 6 Tropaire à saint Drostan, Ermite, higoumène, (Natalice au 7ème siècle)
Tu fus disciple zélé de saint Colomban,*
Tu quittas ta terre natale d’Hibernie*
Pour apporter la lumière de l’Evangile*
En terre d’Ecosse dont tu fus un apôtre.*
Saint higoumène du monastère de Deer,*
Drostan, prie le Seigneur pour qu’Il sauve nos âmes!
Troparion in Tone 6 to St Drostan, hermit and abbot (+7th century)
Zealous disciple of St Columba,
You left your native land of Ireland
To take the light of the Gospel
To the land of Scotland, of which you were an apostle.
Holy abbot of the monastery of Deir,
Drostan, pray to the Lord that He save our souls!
Holy Father Drostan, pray to God for us.


  1. Holy Father Drostan, pray to God for us.

    I liked the linguistic footnote, too. Thank you.

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