Today I want to write about Dúnchad mac Cinn Fáelad (Dunichad, Duncad, Donatus), the eleventh abbot of Iona (?707–717). There is some question about the dates of his tenure, and his feast is celebrated on different days: 25 May on Irish calendars and 24 March on Scottish ones.
He was invoked for the protection of ships and sailors in his former abbatial seat at Killochuir, in his native Ireland. According to Fr O’Hanlon’s sources (which he is chronically vague about citing), Abbot Duncan was known for his great sanctity, knowledge of Scripture and prayerful life. He is also associated with the working of miracles. He seems to have been instrumental in persuading the great house of Iona and by extension the Church throughout at least southern Scotland, to move from the Celtic to the Roman computus (calculation of Easter) – the subject of the Synod of Whitby, which occurred about 50 years earlier. Then as now, the wheels of Orthodoxy grind slow… Whatever the theological and political merits or demerits of the two systems, the important thing for many was unity.
Holy Father Dunchadh, pray to God for us.