St. Martin’s Cross, Isle of Iona
The Isle of Iona is a place of pilgrimage forever associated with Saint Columba (in Irish, Colmcille), who is the patron saint of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles.
Saint Columba was born of a princely family on 7th December 521 in Co. Donegal, Ireland. From an early age, he was designated to a life in the Church and was tutored by St Finian of Moville. At 24 years of age he began founding monasteries in the north of Ireland – his clan area. Inspirational, fiery, sensitive, energetic – he was deeply involved in all areas of life. His first foundation was at Derry.
He wished to expand his mission, using as his base the area known as Dal Riata (Dalriada) in Argyll which was already settled by his people. He arrived on Iona in 563 establishing his monastery, which became the base for his mission to the other parts of Scotland and eventually Northern England. A great orator, a peacemaker, a man with a mission, Columba is one of the most influential figures in the foundation of Scotland.