A small island in the Inner Hebrides, Iona was already a sacred place when
St. Columba established his monastery there in 563. Missionaries from Iona
travelled to Scotland, northern England, and Europe. Iona was the center
of the Irish church until the Synod of Whitby in 664 caused a schism among
the monks. Vikings began to attack the monastery in 795, and in 849, the
relics of St. Columba were translated to the Kells. A raid in 986
destroyed the monastery, which was rebuilt in the XI Century. In 1154,
Iona became a part of the diocese of Man and the Isles, then under the
bishop of Trondheim in Norway. Culdees inhabited Iona in the XII Century.
The Benedictines established their rule at Iona c. 1203, and in 1266,
Norway ceded the Hebrides to Scotland. Iona, which was also the burial
ground of several Scottish kings, was a popular destination for pilgrims
until it was dismantled during the Reformation.
Karen Rae Keck
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