Extracts from Ray Simpson's Book
Towards a civilisation of love
The Sovereign Lord has filled me with his Spirit. He has chosen me and sent me to ... announce release to hostages and to set the prisoners free.
Isaiah 61: 1
Adamnan, who died in September 704 as Abbot of Iona, won his spurs in Ireland where he helped secure the release of sixty hostages with the help of the Caim, the Celtic Circling Prayer.
Saxon raiders had taken the hostages from Meath, in Ireland. Adamnan and his team sailed to Britain to try and negotiate their release with King Aldfrith. When they hauled their boats on to the shore they walked in a circle round them, saying protective prayers out loud. Shortly, the sea surrounded the boats, but a dry circle of sand was left upon which the boats were beached. This created a healthy respect for the negotiators among the Saxons. By the close of the negotiations the Saxons had not only agreed to the release of the hostages, but also to cease raids altogether. Later, at a convention, Adamnan’s proposal that women should be totally excluded from war was accepted nationally.
People in a religious habit were held in great respect, so that whenever a priest or a monk went anywhere he was gladly received by all as God’s servant. If they chanced to meet him by the roadside, they ran towards him and, bowing their heads, were eager either to signed with the cross by his hand or to receive a blessing. Great attention was paid to his exhortations, and on Sundays the people flocked eagerly to the church or the monastery, not to get food for the body but to hear the Word of God... They were so free from all taint of avarice that none of them would accept lands or possessions to build monasteries, unless compelled to by the secular authorities. This practice was observed universally by the Northumbrian churches for some time afterwards.