Marianus Scotus is the author of a commentary on the Psalms, so precious that rarely was it allowed to pass beyond the walls of the monastic library. His commentary on St. Paul’s Epistles is regarded as his most famous production. Herein he shows acquaintance with Saints Jerome, Augustine, Gregory, and Leo, with Cassiodorus, Origen, Alcuin, Cassian, and Peter the Deacon. He completed the work on the 17th May, 1079, and ends the volume by asking the reader to pray for the salvation of his soul.
Transcription: In all the monasteries a vast number of scribes were continually employed in multiplying copies of the Sacred Scriptures. These masterpieces of calligraphy, written by Irish hands, have been scattered throughout the libraries of Europe, and many fragments remain to the present day. The beauty of these manuscripts is praised by all, and the names of the best transcribers often find mention in monastic annals. The work was irksome, but it was looked upon as a privilege and meritorious.
It remains to speak of that glorious monument of the Irish monks, the abbey of St. Gall, in Switzerland. It was here that Celtic influence was most felt and endured the longest. Within its walls for centuries the sacred sciences were taught and classic authors studied. Many of its monks excelled as musicians and poets, while others were noted for their skill in calligraphy and the fine arts. The library was only in its infancy in the eighth century, but gradually it grew, and eventually became one of the largest and richest in the world. The brethren were in correspondence with all the learned houses of France and Italy, and there was constant mutual interchange of books, sacred and scientific, between them.
They manufactured their own parchment from the hides of the wild beasts that roamed in the forests around them, and bound their books in boards of wood clamped with iron or ivory.
Such was the monastery of St. Gall, which owes its inception to the journey through Europe of the great Columbanus and his monk-companions—men whose lives, according to Bede, procured for the religious habit great veneration, so that wherever they appeared they were received with joy, as God’s own servants. “And what will be the reward,” asks the biographer of Marianus Scotus, “of these pilgrim-monks who left the sweet soil of their native land, its mountains and hills, its valleys and its groves, its rivers and pure fountains, and went like the children of Abraham without hesitation into the land which God had pointed out to them?” He answers thus: “They will dwell in the house of the Lord with the angels and archangels of God forever; they will behold the God of gods in Sion, to whom be honor and glory for ever and ever.”