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Isle of Man issues Christmas stamps commemorating Gaelic prayer book

Isle of Man issues Christmas stamps commemorating Gaelic prayer book

The Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge published a Book of Common Prayer for the Isle of Man translated from the 1664 BCP in 1765. Prior to the translation of the 1665 BCP, the Rt Revd John Philips, the bishop of Sodor & Man had, produced a prayer book in Gaelic for Man from the 1604 BCP.

In commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the SPCK Manx Gaelic BCP, the Isle of Man Post Office has commissioned a set of 5 postage stamps by a local artist. Drawing inspiration from various sources; illuminated manuscripts, such as The Book of Hours and the collects and prayers for Advent, Julia Ashby-Smyth has designed a set of stamps with a particularly Manx feel to them. The Post Office has printed the stamps with extensive use of metallic gold ink.

ImageGen.ashxEach self-adhesive stamp pairs a single word in Manx Gaelic with an image representing the word, all with a feel of the holiday season; Niart = Strength paired with a Wiseman, Grayse = Grace with Mary and Jesus, Credjue = Faith with a cross, Shee = Peace with a white dove and Graith = Love with an angel. The Post Office has created the stamps in formats desired by stamp collectors; including a presentation pack and a first day cover. The stamps were first issued on 23 OCT 2015.

The Isle of Man is a self-ruled crown dependency located in the Irish Sea between England and Northern Ireland. During it’s history it has shifted hands from Vikings, Northumberland, Scotland and England. The inhabitants spoke their own derivation of the Gaelic language. The language slowly fell out of use until the last native speaker died in 1974. There has been a revival of Manx Gaelic and now approximately 2% of the population once again speak it. The current bishop of Sodor & Man, the Rt Revd Robert Patterson has told the Anglican News Service that he encourages its use in both public worship and the Tynwald, the Isle of Man’s 1000+ year old legislative body dating from Norse times.

The images are from the Isle of Man Post Office.
Information for this story was gathered from the Isle of Man Post Office and the Anglican News Service.


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Rod Gillis

Ar n-Athair a tha air nèamh,
Gu naomhaichear domain.

The first line of The Lord’s Prayer, from the text which hung in my mom’s kitchen–all that remained in our family of the Scottish Highland Gaelic of my great-grandmother ( born in The Highlands, she could understand English but spoke only Gaelic). I recall the local the Gaelic church radio broadcast as a child growing up in Nova Scotia. The Gaelic language has under gone a great revival here, complete with a Gaelic college. Alas, I have none.

I gather Manx Gaelic is a dialogue particular to The Isle of Man. This is a wonderful story. Thanks so much for posting it.

Ann Fontaine

Belgium is issuing a stamp that features an imam, a rabbi and a bishop.

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