Marianus Scotus was one of those rare Irish monks who migrated to the continent and influenced the spread of a Christian culture throughout Europe. He was a scribe and calligrapher of great skill. He became a monk at a very early age and in 1067 he set out with a few companions on a pilgrimage to Rome. En route, they stopped in Germany, and were invited by the bishop of Regensburg to settle there.
Marianus and his companions had brought with them that marvelous love of learning and beauty so distinctive of Irish monasticism, and their monastery became a center for the creation of beautiful manuscripts and commentaries on the Scriptures, done with consummate skill and artistry. The fame of their monastery, named St. Peter's, soon spread throughout the whole of Europe. Like Bobbio in Italy and St. Gall in Switzerland, their monastery became a center of Christian learning and culture.
St. Peter's and a companion monastery dedicated to St. James became the headquarters of a renaissance of Irish monasticism on the continent. In time, their congregation numbered twelve monasteries, and the monks were highly regarded for their holiness, their devotion to learning, and for the beautiful manuscripts that came forth from their hands. In their scriptoria, they carried on the tradition of the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow. For almost four centuries, all of the monks were recruits from Ireland, and Ireland continued to supply monks, funds, and other resources for the growth of the abbey and its foundations.
The significance of the work of Marianus Scotus is indicated in <The Study of History> by Arnold Toynbee: "The period of Irish cultural superiority over the continent and over Britain may be conveniently dated from the foundation of the monastic university of Clonmacnoise in Ireland A.D. 548 to the foundation of the Irish Monastery of St. James at Ratisbon, circa A.D. 1090. Throughout those five and a half centuries, it was the Irish who imparted culture and the English and the continentals who received it."
Blessed Marianus Scotus died on February 9, 1098.