St. Columba (+June 9, 597)
Commemorated June 9
St. Columba was an Irish missionary and abbot who spread Christianity in what is today Scotland. He founded the important abbey on Iona, which became a dominant religious and political institution in the region for centuries. He is noted as one of the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland.”
St. Columba was born in Northern Ireland to Fedlimid and Eithne, and he is descended from an Irish high king of the 5thcentury. It is noted that St. Columba was a striking figure of great stature and powerful build, with a loud, melodious voice which could be heard from one hilltop to another.
St. Columba became a monk and eventually was ordained a priest. He studied under some of Ireland’s most prominent church figures and founded many important monasteries in Ireland. In about 563, he and his twelve companions settled in Iona in Scotland. He remained active in Irish politics, although he spent most of the remainder of his life in Scotland. He reposed in 597 on Iona and was buried by his monks in the abbey he established.