IN THE STEPS OF ST. COLUMBA: ORTHODOXY ON IONA
St Columba's Bay (Bay of the Coracle)
An ancient Gaelic prophecy attributed to|
An I mo chridhe, I mo graidh,
An ait guth manaich bidh geum ba
Ach mun tig an saoghal gu crich
Bithidh I mar a bha.
Iona of my heart, Iona of my love,
Instead of monks voices shall be
the lowing of cattle;
But ere the world shall come
to an end,
Iona shall be as it was.
"Returning to his dwelling, he sat all night on his bed,
where for straw he was wont to have the bare floor, for a
pillow a stone, which even to this day remains beside his
sepulchre, as it were the inscription on his monument. So
then, sitting there he commended his last words to his
children, saying: 'Among yourselves have always mutual and
unfeigned charity with peace; but the Lord, the Comforter of
the good, will be your aid, and I, abiding with Him, will
intercede for you, that the good things of time and eternity
may arise to you.'”
St. Cumein’s Life of Columba, (Lives of Scottish Saints, trans. W.M. Metcalfe, D.D.)
St. Columba dwelt on Iona for about 34 years, from 563 until his death in 597. His journey through the Great Glen in 564 to visit Pictish King Brude at Inverness obtained Brude’s goodwill to preach the Gospel throughout mainland Scotland.Incidentally, Columba’s is the first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness monster!
the monarch of Great Britain being invariably crowned by the senior English cleric, the Archbishop of
Iona continued as the centre of Scottish Celtic Christianity for several centuries, until the constant raids of the Vikings and the martyrdom of many monks made it all but untenable as a sanctuary of peace. Celtic practices were finally suppressed in the eleventh century, thus effectively ending Iona’s Celtic Orthodoxy.
A NEW BEGINNING
1997 an Iona Pilgrimage, led by Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia
to commemorate St. Columba’s 1400th anniversary, warmly welcomed
the suggestion that the time had come to restore some kind
of Orthodox presence to Iona. Our inspiration was the
prophecy above said to be by St. Columba.
THE FRIENDS OF ORTHODOXY ON IONA
This group was set up in 1997 with three aims:
- Prayer: to pray each day that God’s will may be done on Iona:
Your Kingdom come on earth - on Iona - as in heaven.
- To sponsor regular Pilgrimages to Iona; annually if possible.
- To raise funds to provide eventually a small Hermitage on Iona.