St. Columba, Abbot of Iona
St. Columba (or Columcille) of Iona was an Irishman who converted Scotland
to Christianity in the sixth century. Born c. 521, he was the scion of a
noble family, and as a youth, he studied with the bard, Master Gemman. He
later studied under Sts. Finian of Moville and Finian of Clonard. In 551,
Columba was ordained a priest; after his ordination, he founded several
monasteries in Ireland. A dispute between him and King Diarmuid led to the
saint's departure, in 563, to Iona, where he and twelve companions
established a monastery. Columba made two trips to Ireland to attend
synods, but he spent the rest of his life in Scotland. He died in 597.
Karen Rae Keck
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