SAINT DROSTAN, ABBOT OF DEER (6th c.)
By Vladimir Moss
Our holy Father Drostan (Drust or Trust) was, according to one source, an Irishman, and according to another, a Welshman.
According to the Breviary of Aberdeen and an insertion into the tenth-century Gospel book known as The Book of Deer, St. Drostan was the son of Cosgrach and the nephew of St. Columba of Iona (+597). Having come to maturity, he expressed a desire to become a monk, so his parents handed him over to his uncle, who was then living in Ireland, to be educated. He became a monk in the monastery of Dalquongale. On the death of the abbot he was elected in his place, but after a period withdrew to a church that he built in Glenesk in order to live the heremitical life. Here he gave sight to a blind priest, Symeon. Later, he accompanied St. Columba on a missionary journey to Aberdour in Buchan, Scotland, where the local ruler, Bede the Pict, gave them Aberdour and the site of the Abbey of Deer, twelve miles inland. Soon St. Columba left, leaving the leadership of the monastery to his nephew.
According to another source, however, the saint lived at the beginning of the sixth century, and was the son of the ruler of Demetia in South Wales and uncle of Aidan, whom St. Columba ordained as first king of the Scots of Western Scotland. According to Oengus the Culdee (early ninth century), Drostan with three disciples – Colm (or Colman), Medan and Fergus - "came off the sea at Aberdour" in northern Aberdeenshire and, after a time, went inland and founded his monastery at Deer with the blessing of the local ruler, Bede Cruithnech. Bede had at first been hostile to Drostán's settlement but came to accept his presence it time. From Deer Christianity became firmly established among the Picts of the north-east of Scotland.
St. Drostan is commemorated on July 11 or December 15.
(Sources: The Aberdeen Breviary; The Book of Deer;