THE International Scotus Congress, which last week brought scholars from all over the world to Oxford and Edinburgh, moved out of the lecture hall on Saturday to where it all began: the small town of Duns, in Berwickshire, Scotland. It was here that the Franciscan theologian John Duns Scotus was reputedly born 700 years ago.
Catholic, Anglican and Church of Scotland dignitaries officiated at a ceremony honouring the famous Scot at Duns' new high school auditorium. Archbishop Gray of St. Andrews and Edinburgh opened the service.
More than 1,000 Church and civic leaders and townspeople crowded the hall, together with delegates from the two-week congress.
Three Franciscans paid tribute to Scotus. Fr. Constantino Koser, vicar general of the order, praised his "stress on the practical, the social and the ecumenical," which, he said, provided a bridge for contemporary minds of varying views.
Fr. Basil M. Heiser, ministergeneral of the Friars Minor Conventual, declared that Scotus "achieved something very remarkable in his doctrine concerning the place of Christ in creation and in the history of salvation".
Fr. Agnell us Andrew, director of the Catholic Radio and Television Guild at Hatch End, Middx., said one of Scotus' main contributions to scholarship had been his stress on the unique individuality of every person.
Another had been his idea that one must plunge into the affairs of the world, rather than shun them. in order to bring all of creation to Christ.
Following the ceremony, a memorial cairn marking Scotus' birth spot and a statue of Scotus near the old Boston Kirk were unveiled. Both were donated by the Franciscan Order.
The statue was made by Glasgow artist Frank Tritschler. In accepting it on behalf of the town, Duns' Provost Lennie said his citizens were grateful to the Church for having confirmed what they had always held: that Duns was the birthplace of Scotus.