[MR] BBC: Scientists Confirm St. Columba's Cell on Iona

Garth Groff via Atlantia atlantia at seahorse.atlantia.sca.org
Tue Jul 11 01:32:06 PDT 2017

Noble Friends, Especially Fellow Scots:

Today the BBC reports that carbon-14 dating of organic matter from a dig 
60 years ago may really be from the cell where St. Columba lived, wrote, 
prayed, and eventually died. St. Columba landed on the tiny Scottish 
isle of Iona in 563. Although Columba rarely left his monastery, he is 
generally credited with introducing Christianity to Scotland. His cell 
was on a small hill (really more of a lump) just outside the current 
12th century abbey. Here is the story: 
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-40556985 .

Iona Abbey was trashed several times by the Vikings. In the 12th century 
it was rebuilt and occupied by Benedictines. Eventually the buildings 
again fell into ruins, but were restored by volunteers in the 20th 
century. Today the abbey remains an active church, and is owned by 
Historic Scotland: 
. In the lead photo on this web page you can see the small hill upon 
which the Saint's cell apparently stood.

The small extension of the abbey building (behind the two crosses in the 
photo) is where Columba's tomb stood. Although his relics were taken 
elsewhere for safekeeping when the abbey was pillaged by the Vikings, 
the small building was a major pilgrimage site during the later 
middle-ages. One of Scotland's greatest treasures is the Monymusk 
Reliquary, thought to have contained some of Columba's bones. It is now 
proudly displayed in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monymusk_Reliquary .

Wikipedia offers a very good historical summary of the abbey's history: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iona_Abbey .

A biographical sketch of St. Columba is at 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columba .

On a personal note, Lady Sarah and I visited Iona on our recent trip to 
Scotland and were very moved by the abbey and its story. We also saw the 
Monymusk Reliquary in Edinburgh.

Yours Aye,

Lord Mungo Napier, That Crazy Scot

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