Islanders plan celebration in tribute to St Magnus
A NUMBER of celebrations are to take place next year to mark the 900th anniversary of the death of Orkney’s most famous saint.
St Magnus is believed to have been murdered on the island of Egilsay by his own cousin Haakon in 1117.
Twenty years after his death he was declared a saint, with several reported miracles associated with him.
His nephew St Rognvald built St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall to his memory, starting in 1137.
Now nine centuries later, plans are being put in place for all six Roman Catholic bishops and two archbishops in Scotland to make a unique pilgrimage to the island between July 28 to 30.
There will also be special talks by leading academics on the Friday at the cathedral. The events will culminate in a Mass in St Magnus Cathedral on Sunday, July 30.
Orkney Council is also developing a range of events, activities, performances, education and research to commemorate the saint’s death.
The St Magnus Festival, the main cultural event on the islands, will also mark the 900th anniversary.
Bishop of Aberdeen Hugh Gilbert said: “The diocese of Aberdeen is blessed to include the islands of Orkney, so rich in history and prehistory, landscape and seascape, and kindly creative folk.
“In 2017, Orkney is celebrating the 900th anniversary of its martyr for peace, Earl Magnus, a layman, a Norseman, a key figure in the Christianisation of the northern edges of Europe.
“Our celebrations have the support of the Orkney Island Council, the Cathedral of St Magnus and other groups and churches.”
Antony Mottershead, the council’s arts development officer, said: “We are planning a series of events from April 2017 and hope that Magnus 900 will be a suitable platform by which to remember and commemorate the life of perhaps Orkney’s bestknown historical and cultural figure.
“Orkney has an extensive variety of existing events and festivals some of which we are already in close dialogue with. We are keen however to engage with a wide a variety of organisations and audiences across Orkney and would encourage any organisation or group which feels they could contribute to come along.”