Scotland Sketchbook, Post 23, Isle of Iona, Scotland
Isle of Iona
To get to this jewel of an island, we ferried across from Oban to the Isle of Mull, driving west on a one lane road over mountains and moors to a small ferry , crossing turquoise waters to the Isle of Iona, locatedin the Inner Hebrides. The color of the water surrounding island was like that of the Caribbean Sea and crystal clear!
Iona is known as the "Cradle of Christianity'" in Scotland. This was the home of the first Gaelic monastic abbey founded by St. Columba. He came from an abbey in Ireland where he and another bishop and their followers had fought over leadership in Ireland with many lives being lost. Columba , being exiled, and in repentance landed in Scotland on the Mull of Kintyre in 563 with 12 disciples. They made their way eventually to the Isle of Iona where he founded the Abbey of Iona. It was a functioning abbey for over 300 years. The abbey led the conversion of the Picts of Scotland and the Anglo-Saxons of Northumbria to Christianity. In addition, the first great Celtic crosses were sculpted here, and the birthplace of the practices and traditions of Celtic Christianity was towards the end of the 8th century , and Iona may have played a part in the beginnings of the Book of Kells.
Today, the island of Iona, which was purchased from the Duke of Argyll in 1979, then donated to the National Trust of Scotland, is an ecumenical community consisting of different Christian traditions which worship at the abbey and provide retreats. What a beautiful place to retreat, find peace, and rest!