Around 563AD a monk called Columba set off in a small boat with a few companions from the shores of his native Donegal, in the north-west tip of Ireland. Some time later they landed on the tiny island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland. Their journey is rightly perceived as one of the most significant events in the early Christian history of the British Isles. The monastery which Columba founded on Iona was to become one of the great spiritual powerhouses of early medieval Christendom, a beacon of Christian enlightenment and culture which shone through the period sometimes described as the Dark Ages.
In this book, written originally for the 1400th anniversary in 1997 of Columba’s death, lan Bradley examines the life, character and achievements of St Columba and attempts to strip away the layers of myth and historical distortion that have grown up around accounts of Columba’s life and heritage. He also explores the distinctive nature of Columban Christianity and its message – not always a comfortable one – for us today.
Dr Ian Bradley is Reader in Church History and Practical Theology at the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews. He is a minister in the Church of Scotland, a regular broadcaster and an author whose many books include The Celtic Way.