|Christine's 1,000 Words A Day|
The Abbey 1/3
St. John's Cross has been moved to the abbey museum, with a replica placed in front of the abbey. It is ornamented with Celtic interlace and serpent and boss patterns. Several fragmentary crosses can also be seen in the museum, along with grave markers, some carved with Norse runes, dating from the 10th or 11th century.
The island of Iona has been occupied since the early centuries AD, as evidenced by Iron Age pottery uncovered in a fort on Dun Cul Bhuirg.
In 563 AD, the Irish missionary St. Columba was exiled from his home country after being involved in a civil war and established a small monastic community on Iona. He died just four years later, but it is thanks to the work he began on Iona that Celtic Christianity spread throughout Scotland and eventually on to Europe.
Very little of Columba's monastery survives today, but its basic layout is known thanks to the Life of Columba written by Abbot Adomnan of Iona in the late 600s. Adomnan described a small church, individual monastic cells (which may have been made of stone in a beehive shape or constructed of wood) and some communal buildings, all enclosed inside a bank and ditch.
Driven out of Iona by Viking raids, most of the monastic community moved to Kells in Ireland around 800. In more peaceful times, around 1200, a Benedictine abbey and nunnery were established on the site. It is these buildings (heavily restored) that visitors see today.
Iona Abbey was dissolved at the Reformation and fell into ruin. Restoration began at the beginning of the 20th century by a duke of Argyll, then was taken over with great energy and enthusiasm by Lord George MacLeod in the 1930s. Inspired by the Celtic tradition of early Iona, MacLeod founded the ecumenical Iona Community in 1938. The Community restored the abbey buildings from 1938 to 1965 and still today keeps alive the ancient spirituality of this beautiful Scottish isle.
I'm very much an amateur photographer. I live in the hills of the Scottish Borders which has fantastic flora and fauna, as well as wonderful light.