Saint Columba (7 December 521 – 9 June 597 AD)—also known as Colum Cille, or Chille (Old Irish, meaning "dove of the church"), Colm Cille (Irish), Calum Cille (Scottish Gaelic), Colum Keeilley (Manx Gaelic) and Kolban or Kolbjørn (Old Norse) — was a Gaelic Irish missionary monk who propagated Christianity among the Picts during the Early Medieval Period. He was one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.
Columba was born to Fedlimid and Eithne of the Cenel Conaill in Gartan, near Lough Gartan, in modern County Donegal in the north of Ireland. In 563 he travelled to Scotland with twelve companions. In 563 he was granted land on the island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland, which became the centre of his evangelising mission to the Picts. in addition to founding several churches in the Hebrides, he worked to turn his monastery at Iona into a school for missionaries. He was a renowned man of letters, having written several hymns and being credited with having transcribed 300 books. One of the few, if not the only, times he left Scotland was towards the end of his life, when he returned to Ireland to found the monastery at Durrow. Columba died on Iona and was buried in AD 597 by his monks in the abbey he created.
Reproduced with kind permission of the iconographer, Aidan Hart.